York City goalkeeper Russ Howarth has been named alongside some of the country's hottest prospects in the England Under-20 squad to take on Portugal next week.

Howarth, together with Brighton's Bobby Zamora and Aston Villa's Peter Crouch, has been named in Les Reed's squad which will play the Portuguese in Amadora on April 10.

England and Howarth will travel in confidence, having beaten Portugal 1-0 earlier this season at Southampton's St Mary's Stadium.

The young lions also impressed when they beat Finland 3-0 at Bolton's Reebok Stadium in March.

It has been a special week for Crouch, who scored his first Premiership goal following his £4.5million move from Portsmouth as Villa drew 1-1 with Newcastle last night.

He also made his England Under-21 debut against Italy at Valley Parade last week and between them Crouch and Zamora have bagged 50 Football League goals this season.

Though the England scouts have been keeping an eye on the Brighton goal-machine for some time, this is Zamora's first ever international call up.

Howarth and Zamora are the only two players in the squad not with clubs in either the Premiership or First Division. Howarth is the only Third Division player selected.

The squad also includes Bolton's Kevin Nolan and Chelsea striker Leon Knight, who has scored 17 goals while on loan at Huddersfield Town this season.

The match is the last for England and Howarth before the squad travels to compete in the prestigious Toulon Tournament in France, which begins on May 6.

England Under-20s: Jay Bothroyd (Coventry City), Peter Clarke (Everton), Peter Crouch (Aston Villa), James Davis (Manchester United), Matthew Etherington (Tottenham Hotspur), John Halls (Arsenal), Karl Henry (Stoke City), Russell Howarth (York City), Johnnie Jackson (Tottenham Hotspur), Philip Jagielka (Sheffield United), Andrew Johnson (Birmingham City), Joe Keenan (Chelsea), Leon Knight (Chelsea), Joleon Lescott (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Gary McSheffrey (Coventry City), Boaz Myhill (Aston Villa), David Noble (Arsenal), Kevin Nolan (Bolton Wanderers), Stuart Parnaby (Middlesbrough), Frazer Richardson (Leeds United), Rohan Ricketts (Arsenal), Steven Sidwell (Arsenal), Bobby Zamora (Brighton).

Howarth's international call-up means he will be unavailable for City's Division Three clash with Carlisle United on April 9, at Bootham Crescent, kick-off 7.45pm.

There was some doubt about the match because of the funeral of the Queen Mother on that day.

However, after talks between City, the Football League and Carlisle it has been agreed the game will go ahead.

Meanwhile, League officials were today arranging a showdown meeting with debt-laden ITV Digital's administrators - as Division One clubs teamed up to warn of the devastating effect a reduced-income television deal would have on many clubs.

ITV big guns Carlton and Granada were last night threatened with a £500million Football League lawsuit unless the broadcasters agree to its ultimatum over their ITV Digital station, which owes £179m for the remaining two seasons of the £315m three-year contract.

The League will issue proceedings unless ITV Digital pay £89.25m in August and agree to enter discussions over the final instalment of £89.25m, currently due in August 2003.

If ITV Digital reject this ultimatum, the legal suit would be for up to £500m, covering the money due, plus damages and costs.

Such a move would have the backing of City chairman John Batchelor, who has already stated the Football League should chase Granada and Carlton "through the courts".

Updated: 11:39 Wednesday, April 03, 2002