Tord Grip tells TheFA.com that the England coaches will sit down together to...
Tord Grip tells TheFA.com that the England coaches will sit down together to decide which of the youngsters have earned a longer stay in the England team...click here for the full story...
Sven and Tord had a few questions in their minds about the youngsters that they were throwing into battle against Australia. Were they ready? Were they good enough? Could they cope with the psychological demands of football at the highest level?
Talking exclusively to TheFA.com, Tord admits that the new kids on the block gave the England management team 'some very good answers' with the quality and determination of their play in the second half of England's friendly match against Australia earlier this month.
Young prospects like Wayne Rooney, Francis Jeffers and Jermaine Jenas unquestionably caught the eye with the maturity, class and confidence of their individual and collective displays.
Now the only question that remains is will they retain their places for the crucial Euro Qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Turkey?
"That is a discussion that Sven will have with David Platt," Tord reveals.
"They have to solve that. It isn't a problem. It's actually a very nice discussion to be able to have when you have so many good young players. I think if they are good enough they can stay in the first team, especially if we want them to play rather than sit on the bench.
"As an international coach, what you are really trying to create is something like a squad that you have at club level. I think we have got rather a good first team, and now we can also see that we have more players coming through too.
"A player like Jeffers is a good example. We knew that he was a talented player with an excellent goalscoring record at every level. But it was good for him to get in there.
"He wasn't afraid to keep the ball and get into the penalty area. He scored a lovely goal as well. So I think it was a very good idea to see him play."
Although England's 'First Team' were unable to have the impact that they would have hoped for and expected against Australia, they will not be judged on the evidence of that 45 minutes.
"We know a lot already about players like Beckham and Scholes," Tord explains. "They have already played many games together in the national team."
Though there was understandably a clamour from the fans to see more than 45 minutes of action from England's leading lights, Tord is adamant tha the well-being of the players must take precedence above everything else with two such huge games around the corner next month.
"We must remember that we have a responsibility to keep the senior players fit," he says. "They will be playing three games a week between now and when we meet up for the games against Liechtenstein and Turkey.
"If we can do a little bit to help them and the clubs keep them fit before those games, then we have to do that.
"You have to be sensible. All the other national teams do the same. On the last international match-day France lost at home and Argentina were beaten by Holland. These games are extremely difficult to predict."
Mitigating circumstances there may have been, but Tord makes no attempt to shy away from the disappointment of defeat.
"When you don't get the result that you want, you always think about other things that you could have done," he admits.
"It's a shame because we want the fans to see us at our best. The interest in the England team is amazing. Our fans were hurting after the Australia game and they should know that Sven and I were hurting too. Now we must channel that hurt into determination for our games against Liechtenstein and Turkey."
At least the pain of defeat was softened by the pride in the performances of the young prodigies who catapulted themselves onto the international stage at Upton Park.
"That night we had more to learn about the younger players and I think we got some very good answers," Tord confirms.
"We were excited to see how they would do and they did very well. They had something to show and prove and they gave everything. It was a good 45 minutes for them.
"For the young players to come in and play in the second half like they did after just one training session together is not easy. But then again it should not be easy to establish yourself in the national team. You never have time to settle in international football."
Luckily these young men did not need time to settle. Right from his very first touch, Wayne Rooney, for example, seemed a player born to grace this level of football.
"It seems to me that he's already ready to play first of all in the Premier League but also international football too," says Tord of the 17 year-old starlet.
"We played him slightly deeper than Jeffers in the hole behind. He looked very good to me.
"I think they're using him in a very sensible way at Everton. They are not forcing him to play every game. They give him a chance to sit on the bench as well as play. They have some more experienced players and have done well in the league as well so they can afford to do that."
Although he has no doubts about Wayne's ability, Tord is also keen to stress that he is not the finished article...yet.
"You can always learn things - tactics for example," explains the man who helped take England to the World Cup Quarter Finals in 2002 and Sweden to the World Cup Semi-Finals in 1994.
"You can't expect him to know everything at this age, there are still things to learn but he will do that both with us and Everton. I'm looking forward to following him."
He's not the only one.
Tord was talking to Daniel Freedman
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