CHERRIES striker Sam Vokes admits he is relishing the prospect of pitting his wits against England's finest young defenders.

The teenager is set to win his ninth cap for Wales when they host England under-21s in a friendly at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground tonight.

Vokes, a target for several Premiership clubs, is likely to come up against Three Lions captain David Wheater, who starred in the top flight for Middlesbrough last season.

Wheater is expected to forge a central defensive partnership with Ryan Shawcross, while former Cherries loan player Martin Cranie could start at right-back for England.

Vokes, who was born in Southampton and raised in Lymington, has netted four times since bursting on to the international stage 15 months ago.

Speaking to the Daily Echo last night, Vokes said: "It's always good to try to test yourself against the best players and that's what I'll be hoping to do if I'm selected.

"They are among the best in the country at that age so it should be a good contest against them. Everyone will be giving 100 per cent and it should be a good game.

"We met up on Monday and have had a few hard training sessions. It's been hard because it's been so hot but the boys are buzzing for the game."

Vokes, who qualifies for Wales through his grandfather Mike Finch, added: "In some ways it is going to be a bit weird playing against England because that's where I'm from. But I'm a Welsh player so I'll be giving it my all for Wales."

The Sky-televised clash will give Vokes the chance to showcase his talents to the viewing public and also stake his claim for elevation to the full squad.

Vokes has played a key role in helping Wales claim pole position in their European Under-21 Championship qualifying group to leave them within touching distance of advancing to the play-offs, with seven winners earning a place in next year's eight-country finals.

He faces competition for a starting role from Manchester City's Ched Evans, room-mate Simon Church from Reading and Wigan's David Cotterill.

Vokes, who hit 10 goals for Cherries last season, added: "It's great to be involved at international level and it's also hard after a gruelling season.

"I played more games than I'm used to in my first full season with Bournemouth but it's a great feeling to play for Wales against England and I'm not complaining!"