Southgate: Senior progress is 'nature of the job' for Under-21s

Monday 09 Nov 2015
England Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate enjoys watching his squad in training

England Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate admits that seeing members of his squad progress into the seniors is in "the nature of the job".

The Three Lions head coach will need to make changes to his line-up for Thursday’s game with Bosnia and Herzegovina, following Eric Dier’s call-up into Roy Hodgson’s squad for their matches with Spain and France.

UEFA European U21 Championship

Bosnia-Herzegovina v England
12noon, Thursday 12 November
Asim Ferhatović Hase Stadion, Sarajevo

England v Switzerland
5.45pm, Monday 16 November
Amex Stadium, Brighton
Live on BT Sport
Call 0844 327 1901 for tickets

Spurs star Dier follows the likes of Dele Alli, John Stones, Raheem Sterling and Luke Shaw into the senior ranks from the U21s, thus providing an opportunity to someone else in the group.

And while Southgate admits to an element of frustration, he has no complaints in seeing players progress through the England ranks so smoothly.

"That’s the nature of the job, your best players are always going to go straight through," he said.

"After speaking to Roy in the summer, it was clear that Luke Shaw, John Stones and Raheem were going to be with him this season, and Dele and Eric are involved at the moment.

"Our aim is that more get there, but eventually you hope that the senior team is strong and it’s more difficult for the younger players to get in so they have to work for longer to get in.

"But at the moment, those guys are in on merit and I think they’ll give a really good account of themselves.

Eric Dier in action for England Under-21s against USA at Deepdale.

Eric Dier is with the seniors this week after being a regular for Southgate's U21s

"It’s an opportunity for us to look at a few other players and how they perform and step up to that.

"We’ll have to make changes to the starting team, but we did a lot of work last month involving everybody in terms of how we play and we don’t have long to prepare this time, so hopefully that will stand us in good stead."

After meeting up at St. George’s Park on Sunday evening, Southgate and his squad trained on Monday morning and will do the same on Tuesday before flying to Sarajevo for their first game of the two.

And following two wins from two in their Euro Qualifying group so far, Southgate is targeting two more victories to put his side in a strong position going into 2016.

"It’s a good opportunity if we can win the two matches, as we would then control the group," he added.

"These games are two good challenges for different reasons. Any away game will be difficult and Bosnia have had poor results in the group but they were much better when they played Switzerland last time.

"The coach got rid of six or seven [players] and they had a much improved performance so I’m expecting a tough test there.

Watch highlights of the Under-21s' win over Kazakhstan in October

"Going away from home will be a different challenge to what we faced against Kazakhstan when we controlled the game.

"Now, we have the challenge of travelling and trying to control a game away from home.

"And Switzerland are a good side, so I’m expecting a decent game down in Brighton.

"We’re a team which is in the early stages of growing and discovering itself so we can’t afford to take anything for granted and the motivation is high for all of our players.

"They’re all new to the set up and excited by the environment and they want to show what they can do."

Tickets for the game with Switzerland at the Amex Stadium in Brighton cost just £10 and £5 and are on sale now via the Brighton ticket office or by calling 0844 327 1901.

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels at St. George's Park