Roy Hodgson says U21s can count on senior service

Sunday 14 Sep 2014
Roy Hodgson is keen to see England U21s do well
Roy Hodgson wants to see some of his England stars line up for the Under-21s in next summer's European Championship.

Providing they get through next month's two-legged play-off against Croatia, with the home leg at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Gareth Southgate's Young Lions will take part in the eight-team tournament in the Czech Republic next June.

England v Croatia

UEFA U21 Championship
Play-Off first leg
Date TBC
Molineux, Wolverhampton Wanderers


The last time England qualified, an under-strength squad failed to get out of the group stage after losing all three of their games. 

This time Hodgson wants to make some of the players in his senior squad who are eligible for the Under-21s available to Southgate to boost his chances of winning the tournament.

The England manager said: "I am certain there will be players [there] who will have made a [senior] appearance or will have been with us.

"We are going to say - 'Look, just because you have been with us for a while that doesn't make you a 100% bona fide senior that never plays anywhere else. It just makes you an England player and we are going to use you where we think best'."

Hodgson's view, which is shared by director of elite development Dan Ashworth, is that exposure to tournament football is vital for any England player, regardless of their age or talent.

Jack Wilshere tussles with Haris Seferovic

Jack Wilshere is one of several established senior players still eligible for the U21s

There are a host of players in the senior squad that Southgate could choose. Jack Wilshere, Phil Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling, John Stones, Calum Chambers, Ross Barkley and Luke Shaw are all eligible.

After dropping just two points in their qualification campaign, Southgate is however reluctant to draft in any top stars from the senior side for the next two games.

The fact that England's seniors play a qualifier in Slovenia three days before the Under-21s championship starts would disrupt preparations for the Young Lions too.

But should the Under-21s come through their October play-off, Hodgson will try to persuade Southgate to consider selecting some players who already have represented the senior side for the finals.

"That's what the FA would like to happen," Hodgson said. "It will just be a question of Gareth and I sitting down and deciding which ones are the right ones to send.

"There is always going to be a risk that he and I decide that although this player could have done both we are not going to ask him to because he already has tournament experience, for example, or we think it's a bit unfair he has not been anywhere near the other ones and all of a sudden he jumps in.

"But it will be a real discussion point between Gareth and I and we get on very well in that respect. We both sing off the same hymn sheet."

Hodgson appears open to the idea of allowing the likes of Sterling, Wilshere and Barkley to compete in the tournament.

When asked whether selection of senior players for the Under-21s should be restricted to those who do not play regular first-team football for their clubs, Hodgson replied: "No. I am not putting any riders on it at all at the moment."

By FA Staff