Lineker - Go With Youth & Prepare For The Future
Former England striker and current Match of the Day host Gary Lineker has said that Roy Hodgson should go with youth for this World Cup and prepare the likes of Ross Barkley, Luke Shaw et al for the future
Speaking at the BBC's World Cup launch, Lineker said he didn't feel that England had anything to lose by not going with the same crop who have effectively let us down before, and everything to gain by blooding and giving real experience to the generation of players that will be taking us forward for the next few International competitions.
'We should go with youth, six months ago I'd have said I'd be really surprised if we got through the group stage. But now all of a sudden we've got an emergence of exciting young talent that we haven't seen the likes if in donkey's years. They're coming through actually a bit quicker than I thought they would. They're not in their prime yet but it offers you a little bit of hope.'
Of course, for many a year now one of the things most often said by fans has been the over reliance on players who promise so much, but systematically deliver so little but they have been guaranteed mainstays and favourites for successive managers - often to the ignorance of players in form, but not at a Top Four club.
With the crop of youngsters we do have, who clearly aren't there yet, the question has to be, do we have anything to lose by using this tournament as a learning curve for them with an eye to the future, instead of picking the tried and tested players who regularly fail to turn it on in the international shirts?
Of course there has to be a balance. You don't throw them to the wolves so to speak, there would have to be a core of players who have been there before to help guide them appropriately and allow them the opportunity to make the most of using this World Cup with youth in mind, but in football and development there is that element of seeing whether they sink or swim.
'Raheem Sterling is a sensational footballer. Adam Lallana is not that young but he's also a delightful footballer. Daniel Sturridge has got a bit about him, he's got a bit of arrogance which is important for a striker. Ross Barkley's really talented. So all of a sudden you've got the makings of something. I hope Hodgson gives them their head. We're not going to win it, but you might find two or three that have got that capability of dealing with it mentally, which is the other really important thing with international football.'
And Lineker does have a point. You can barely pick up a paper without there being some kind of debate on whether it should be Ashley Cole or Luke Shaw, Michael Carrick or Jordan Henderson, Ross Barkley or Ashley Young and so on.
We don't have to look to the future by changing the entire starting XI, but there are key battles now with a youthful option that would serve England greater moving forward.
Lineker posits his own 23 man squad that for his has the balance between experience, desire and youthful endeavour.
Goalkeepers - Joe Hart, Ben Foster, Fraser Forster.
Defenders - Leighton Baines, Glen Johnson, Chris Smalling, Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill, Luke Shaw, Phil Jones, John Stones.
Midfielders - Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling, Steven Gerrard, Ross Barkley, Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Frank Lampard.
Forwards - Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, Rickie Lambert.
Not sure I agree with every choice there, but it's an interesting mix.
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