England manager Roy Hodgson is right to allow Under-21 coach Gareth Southgate first pick of his younger squad members for next summer’s European Championships in the Czech Republic.
Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers, John Stones and Saido Berahino are regarded as prime candidates for a return to age-group action.
Meanwhile Phil Jones, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all still eligible for selection.
However, including senior internationals in Southgate’s Czech raiding party isn’t about them, for all it’s 4/6 that at least three make the journey next summer.
It’s about making England’s Under-21s more certain to claim victory and therefore less likely to become weighed down by the cumulative fear of failure that has dogged the seniors since World Cup Italia ’90.
Having won 11 of their 12 games en route to qualification it would be far from certain many of those with senior caps mentioned would be able to dislodge the incumbent Young Lions.
At the same time playing their part in a tournament victory would allow the older players to put the memory of their chastening group-stage exit in Brazil behind them.
The Football Association is reportedly understood to be “keen for generations to develop together, acquiring tournament experience and fostering camaraderie that will then help the seniors.”
Germany are the model, having got to at least the semi-finals of the last three senior tournaments thanks to a nucleus of players who won the European Under-21 Championships together back in 2009.
The very consistency of performance achieved by Die Mannschaft in the trio of tournaments since that age-group triumph defies those who suggest England’s youngsters will be worn into the ground by successive summer tournaments.