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Emergence of Sancho, Abraham & Co has Southgate excited about England’s future

13:03 GMT 23/12/2019
Tammy Abraham, Jadon Sancho, England
The Three Lions boss has given senior opportunities to a number of promising talents, with the intention being to keep that path open in trophy bids

Gareth Southgate considers England’s future to be “hugely exciting” after seeing the likes of Jadon Sancho, Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi break through into the senior fold.

The Three Lions boss has been prepared to put faith in young stars en route to Euro 2020.

Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and James Maddison have also come into his plans, while Trent Alexander-Arnold and Declan Rice are established members of the fold.

Many more, such as Phil Foden, are knocking on the door within the Under-21 set-up, with Southgate looking to find the right formula heading towards another major tournament.

He has overseen runs to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Nations League and remains convinced that there is even more to come from a squad which boasts plenty of potential.

Southgate told the Football Association’s official website: “We knew there were some really good young players coming through our development system, but we've always said we'll only put them in if we really believe they are good enough.

“Then maybe sometimes they might need to drop back with the U21s for a little spell and then come back in, because we don't want to move lads up and not play them but we genuinely feel a lot of these young players are our best players in those positions.

“In the two November fixtures, I think the average age was just over 23, so you can see that they are a couple of years away from peeking really but they are also producing a high level of performance now.

“I've said before, the next four or five years for England with this group of players and some of the others that we know are coming from underneath, is hugely exciting.”

England are benefiting from a production line of talent which delivered World Cup glory at U20 and U17 level in 2017, while the U19s lifted the European Championship title in the same summer.

Southgate added: “I think the tournament success we had with our U17s and U20s really alerted the public to what was going on, but we knew there were some very good players.

“We weren't sure how they would marry up against the better young players around Europe and around the world, but once they had won those competitions you can genuinely say our kids are a match for those teams.

“Then we've got to get the balance right, because you need the experienced players around those youngsters to A: have the knowledge to win big matches, but B: to give those youngsters the support.

“When the games are going well they'll flourish, play well and they’ll enjoy it. But when the games are more challenging or you're behind in a game, then some young players can adapt and adjust to that immediately, but some will need time to work those things out.

“We have to get the balance right of leadership and experience while giving some of these young players their head, because we really think we should be investing in them for the long-term.”

England have friendly fixtures against Italy and Denmark to come in March, before finalising their Euro 2020 preparations with outings against Austria and Romania in June.