England youngsters should get get chance to become battle-hardened in qualifiers

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By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer
England face a threat as their route continues to look little more – but it will not come from any of the teams they will face to next summer’s showpiece on the road.
Their opponents Group A could nearly have been hand-picked for a cozy passage by director Gareth Southgate and the Football Association.
There’s a danger, however, that lies in cleaning aside impotent opposition with regularity.
While Kosovo, on Tuesday, are following up in St Mary in 120th bulgaria, ranked 60th in the world by Fifa, were dismissed 4-0 in Wembley. The Czech Republic have already been beaten 5-0 in Wembley while Montenegro, at 55, were outclassed 5-1 in their own floor.
Not precisely glorified barely although friendlies testing events either.
England have gone undefeated winning 33 qualifying games and drawing on nine , because the defeat by Ukraine at October 2009.
There is with no defeat qualifying A decade impressive but the flipside of that is that the fat lot of good it’s done England when it has really mattered.
England’s run to the 2018 World Cup semi-final was a glorious sense surprise, although the perceived success has to be suppressed by the fact that they were defeated on the 3 occasions they met a side of serious quality, namely Belgium twice and Croatia in the last four.
The World Cups of 2010 and 2014, along with Euro 2016’s debacle, supposed the Russian odyssey has been an exception instead of the rule.
Even the make-up of Group A now means England are again presented with the prospect of facing their most taxing competitive tests for two decades – 12 weeks if we count on the inaugural Uefa Nations League semi-final loss to the Netherlands – after the severe action gets under way next summer.
The idea of England not qualifying is that a non-starter. This isn’t arrogance but a straightforward statement of truth. It is clear any starting line-up Southgate assembles out of his squad should be great enough to ensure their place using the minimum of fuss at Euro 2020.
This means a case is truly for Southgate getting his group match-hardened to get Euro 2020. There are loads of candidates.
This was a selection by Southgate, passing through the claims of pair Mason Mount for starting Chelsea’s Ross Barkley, preferring Jordan Henderson along with Declan Rice because his midfield guys and places ahead from Chelsea and Leicester City’s James Maddison.
Southgate also chosen for Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Trippier’s adventure over Liverpool kid Trent – even though the latter form throughout the previous 12 months.
The coverage can’t be criticised granted a 4-0 victory that barely caused sweat to break but there is a situation for sprucing up England with blood in St Mary’s on Tuesday.
It wouldn’t be a case of accepting Kosovo lightly giving a taste of the competitive action to England brigade they’ll need to prepare them for what might await next summer when sterner examinations come.
Not so much experimentation sound sense in preparation for the acid evaluations.
Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell will arrive in for suspended Danny Rose in left-back while Alexander-Arnold’s inclusion would hardly weakens the side of England.
Mount won his first cap for a replacement and a case is for actually playing with him or Maddison rather than the insurance policy of Henderson and Rice. They could certainly provide Ross Barkley a workable alternative and intense rivalry, not as replacements to the future but as rivals.
The good news for England and Southgate is that the present squad appears without seriously injuring the package, like it may endure a reasonable quantity of rotation.
England captain Harry Kane, using a hat-trick here move above 1966 World Cup hero and to carry his England tally to 25 objects from 40 looks Sir Geoff Hurst from the all-time collection of goalscorers, also Raheem Sterling are all respects.
Kane, admittedly aided by a source of penalties, is building a body of work with England.
While his partnership with Sterling looks like a telepathic fit he leads from the front in each facet, his tireless work a touchstone for this contemporary England. Southgate includes a pairing which will be the envy of many nations at Euro 2020.
Southgate also has space for manoeuvre elsewhere that finishes his XI of quality.
Alexander-Arnold is hardly a downgrade on Trippier in the absence of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and fell Kyle Walker, while these midfield choices contain Tottenham’s Harry Winks.
Borussia Dortmund Jadon Sancho has proved he lives comfortably at this degree. He’ll enjoy the competitive phase and more chances.
England wouldn’t be belittling Kosovo or any of the future opponents in qualifying by shuffling their own pack. It would just be an instance of seeing the bigger picture.
It’s an old issue – however it might be the start of Euro 2020, when confronted with the sort of forensic examinations the best teams conduct, before we find out exactly how great this England team is and just how much progress was made since they just came up short in the semi-finals at the World Cup along with also the Uefa Nations League.
England are here. This time they need to be ready next summer, for when the interrogation starts.

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Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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