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GUEST POST - Opinion England Friendlies - Play the Kids

by George Didcote - Follow George

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England have struggled in major tournaments for a number of years now. Much to the frustration of fantastic travelling support who come from far and wide to support their nation. A nation which in terms of footballing talent is underperforming hugely and has been since the loss of a few senior figures.

Friendlies for me are a chance to try new things, and build and develop experience.

The same thing applies for England in Friendlies. For the upcoming fixtures we’ve named a striker in Jermain Defoe who admittedly deserves a call up, but why now? Why not last summer for Euro 2016? For me his selection along with many others is a waste this time around.

Where is Defoe going to be in four years time ? Leading the England front line? I’d be very surprised. Now is the time to bring youth in. Keep your core group of players and throw in some uncapped players who are doing well at club level earning their trade. Start someone like Tom Davies of Everton against Germany and he’ll get a grasp of international football straight away. It might not click for him but in a friendly what is there to lose.

Big Premier League clubs don’t like sending their top players out for international duty which is wrong. The choice should be left entirely to the player. If anything a manager should encourage it with international experience only enhancing a players ability.

The problem with English football is the media hype of young English players, the lack of Premier League game time for lads 18-19 years old looking to make a name for themselves, and the crazy price tags just because a player is English. So many clubs will look to buy players from abroad now because it’s cheaper, and they’re more likely to get an experienced player. So for a business which every football club is nowadays it’s a no brainer.

This attitude does nothing for the English national game though as we continue to watch the squad weaken. We have some greatly promising youngsters coming up so why not get them involved. Play them in Friendlies rather than just having them around the place, focus on a core group and build around them, set your long term sights to strengthen English football.

There’s absolutely nothing to lose other than the friendly itself. That is the sole point of a friendly, trying new things.

For me Gareth Southgate isn’t the problem with English football at the moment, but he’s also isn’t a solution to the problem. As things stand the standard of the English national team is slipping terribly. Many factors are to blame but these need to be sorted.

I can easily see us not winning anything for at least 20 years unless it’s by some classy man management, so many nations are ahead of us on ability. We need to step up our game, change rules and policies surrounding English players, and start battling again.

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