Sport In­no­cence of youth is won­der­ful thing, says South­gate

Coventry Telegraph - - SPORT - By SI­MON PEACH cov­s­port@trin­i­tymir­ Gareth South­gate Eric Dier talks tac­tics with Eng­land boss Gareth South­gate

ENG­LAND man­ager Gareth South­gate will con­tinue putting faith in “the in­no­cence of youth” as he pre­pares to face a Brazil side he rates as the best in the world.

South­gate has al­ready handed 13 de­buts in as many matches as Three Lions boss, lean­ing heav­ily on play­ers he worked with in the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion’s de­vel­op­ment teams, and has sum­moned an­other three – Do­minic Solanke, Lewis Cook and An­gus Gunn – to join the squad ahead of tonight’s pres­tige friendly.

Eric Dier, Eng­land’s fifth-youngest post-war cap­tain at 23, will re­tain the arm­band af­ter a highly en­cour­ag­ing 0-0 draw against world cham­pi­ons Ger­many on Fri­day and South­gate is hop­ing to see an­other show of prom­ise at Wem­b­ley.

“Young play­ers bring en­thu­si­asm, energy and they bring no cyn­i­cism. I think that’s healthy for ev­ery­body,” he said.

“If you spoke to any of the staff or play­ers this week, that has been the en­vi­ron­ment. The in­no­cence of youth can be won­der­ful. In some in­stances it can be a real ad­van­tage, maybe in oth­ers it can be a dis­ad­van­tage. We’ve got to try and play on the strengths of it and help them as much as pos­si­ble through the dif­fi­cult mo­ments they are go­ing to have.

“We think it’s the right route to go, a path that can pay ben­e­fits for us as a coun­try mov­ing for­ward.

“Whether that’s next sum­mer or be­yond, whether that’s for me as a man­ager or other peo­ple, I think we’ve got to make de­ci­sions that are right for Eng­land.”

There was the hint of a warn­ing to ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers such as Daniel Stur­ridge, Jack Wil­shere, Alex OxladeCham­ber­lain and Jer­main De­foe, all over­looked for duty this month, too.

“I saw more in one game (against Ger­many) from some of those young­sters than you might see in many more games from other play­ers,” South­gate added. “For me it was an ex­cit­ing performance be­cause I saw young play­ers ex­press­ing them­selves.”

The na­tional boss ac­cepted some of his call-ups ap­peared pre­ma­ture.

Solanke and Cook are gen­uine novices at club level but have ef­fec­tively been re­warded for their efforts in this year’s Under-20 World Cup tri­umph, where they were top scorer and tour­na­ment-win­ning cap­tain re­spec­tively.

Ruben Lof­tus-Cheek, mean­while, was named man of the match against

Young play­ers bring en­thu­si­asm, energy and they bring no cyn­i­cism. I think that’s healthy for ev­ery­body.

Ger­many, de­spite swap­ping Chelsea for a loan at Crys­tal Palace cit­ing a lack of first-team op­por­tu­ni­ties. South­gate, it seems, is ready to step in and de­velop the best tal­ent on the se­nior in­ter­na­tional stage if Premier League man­agers are re­luc­tant to do it for him. “What we’ve been able to do in the last cou­ple of matches is give op­por­tu­ni­ties to peo­ple, in­volve some young play­ers and I think that has shown peo­ple we have some good play­ers in this coun­try,” he said.

“It’s also put out a broader de­bate around op­por­tu­ni­ties for young English play­ers, be­cause some of what we’ve had to do is ridicu­lous re­ally.

“When Phil Jones came off the other night we were play­ing Ger­many with a side who have got about 80 caps be­tween them.

“That is one of the bar­ri­ers we’ve got to over­come, so maybe we’ve got to ap­proach it slightly dif­fer­ently: give some of these young­sters the op­por­tu­nity, even though you’d like to say ‘they’ve got to earn the right, they’ve got to play a cou­ple of sea­sons in the Premier League.’ I don’t think we have that lux­ury.’’

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