November 20, 2014 / 9:38 AM / in 3 years

England youngsters available for Under-21s says Hodgson

LONDON (Reuters) - In a break with the recent past, manager Roy Hodgson will allow the cream of the eligible young players in his squad to represent England at the European Under-21 Championship next year rather than have first call on them for the senior side.

England's manager Roy Hodgson walks on to inspect the pitch ahead of Tuesday's international friendly soccer match against Scotland at Celtic Park Stadium in Glasgow, Scotland November 17, 2014. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

Unlike Spain and Germany, whose World Cup winning teams have been built in age-group tournaments, in recent times England has never insisted its best youngsters play as a developing team at a tournament finals.

But Hodgson says he will allow Under-21 coach Gareth Southgate to have first pick for his squad for the finals in the Czech Republic meaning senior internationals Jack Wilshere, Calum Chambers, Ross Barkley, Raheem Sterling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain among others, could all play for the Under-21s.

England play a friendly against Ireland in Dublin on June 7 next year with a Euro 2016 qualifier in Slovenia on June 14. The Euro Under-21 finals start on June 17.

Hodgson said: ”It’s a very simple policy. After Gareth Southgate has picked his squad, I will pick my squad for Slovenia. I’ll take whoever’s left. Can it be simpler than that?

“If Gareth thinks the best way to win the tournament is to jettison a lot of the players he has been working with and take players from our team that is fine by me. We can deal with four or five absentees.”

England won the tournament in 1982 and 1984 but did not appear in the final again until 2009 when they were beaten 4-0 by Germany.

That German side included Manuel Neuer, Benedikt Howedes, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Mesut Ozil, who all played in Germany’s World Cup final winning team in Brazil in July.

Sami Khedira, who captained the Under-21 winning side in 2009, was in the World Cup squad but missed the final through injury.

Editing by Peter Rutherford

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