England Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate speaks about his latest attack-minded squad
Gareth Southgate believes his attack-minded squad could be crucial in the next two games, as England Under-21s prepare to take on San Marino and Lithuania.
The Three Lions are likely to face two teams with a determination to defend and remain solid as the Euro qualifiers continue next week.
And Southgate is happy to see a broad range of attacking talent at his disposal, with the trip to San Marino next Thursday before returning to home soil for Lithuania at Ipswich’s Portman Road on Tuesday 15 October.
“We’ve got quite a few players in our squad who I think can change games and have that creative ability and we need to find a place for them,” Southgate told TheFA.com.
“With the type of opposition that we are up against in these two games, I expect packed defences and I think that is what we’ll be faced with in every game in this group.
“You can pass through teams sometimes, but you also need players who can do something extraordinary to break teams down.
“At senior level, these are the types of players that we hope to bring through in the future."
One player who does have the potential to make an attacking impression is West Ham’s Ravel Morrison, who is back in an England squad for the first time since he featured for the U18s in 2010.
And Southgate believes that former Manchester United ace Morrison deserves his chance with the Under-21s.
“I was at Hull to watch him last week and I thought he was excellent,” revealed Southgate.
“I spoke to Sam Allardyce at length about it and he was really positive about Ravel, as he’s made great progress over the last six months in particular.”
Another new face in the squad is that of Burnley striker Danny Ings, who receives his first England call-up after a good start to the season with the Championship high-fliers.
And Southgate wants to use the example of Ings to any other in-form players who he feels could still make the breakthrough and impress on the international stage.
He explained: “We haven’t got a lot of strikers playing regularly and I wanted to show that we’re not just looking at lads who play for the so-called ‘fashionable clubs’.
“Burnley have had a great start to the season and Danny has been a key part of that and [manager] Sean Dyche was very positive about him when we spoke.
“It’s great for somebody who hasn’t been in our system previously to get a call-up.
“There are ‘late developers’ out there, not that 21 is particularly old or late, but hopefully it will give hope to people at other clubs that we’re not just looking at the top teams.”
With a 24-man squad at his disposal for the two games, Southgate is also keen to utilise as many of his players as possible.
He named the same line-up for two games in succession last month as England began their qualifying campaign against Moldova and Finland.
“I wanted to look at certain players that hadn’t been in the squad and the players who I felt had done well last time with us and deserved to be in,” he said.
“We may be a little bit big in terms of numbers, but I’ll be looking at starting more of the squad over these two games which is slightly different to what we did last time.
“From a development perspective, I think it’s important that more of them get a game.”
The squad meet up at St. George’s Park on Sunday evening, where they will train before travelling to San Marino on Wednesday morning.