England under-21s showed great character to battle back from 2-1 down to win 3-2 against Germany in Monday’s international at Middlesbrough.
But the win has been overshadowed somewhat by the argument over whether senior internationals such as Ross Barkley, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane should be included in the under-21s squad for this summer’s European Championships in the Czech Republic.
These five stars, among others, are qualified to play for the under-21s, but only Everton centre-back Stones was in action at the Riverside, with Shaw injured and the others with the senior national team.
Gary Lineker has said it would be a national disgrace if these stars are pulled out of the championships by their clubs.
I agree with Lineker, it seems bizarre that the Premier League clubs may withdraw their young guns, with many saying their rising stars need a break yet at the same time playing friendlies at the other side of the world just a few weeks after the end of the season.
Roberto Martinez was recently quoted as saying Barkley needed ‘a proper break’ in the summer.
Kane’s club Spurs are playing at Sydney FC at the end of May.
This is less than three weeks before England’s first under-21 championship game against Portugal, which is on June 18, so if he headed Down Under this would hamper his chances of joining the under-21 squad.
The striker has been outstanding this season, scoring 29 goals already for the White Hart Lane club as well as helping the under-21s qualify for the Czech Republic tournament.
It would be a shame if he was to miss out on the experience of playing for his country in a tournament, I believe this is the best way for the younger players to learn for future involvement in Euros and World Cups for the senior squad.
Doing well for the under-21s can only help their confidence and give them a chance to play against their peers from around the continent, if the likes of Shaw, Sterling, Barkley, Kane and Stones were to line up in the summer then surely England have to fancy their chances of victory.
Let’s hope the clubs allow these stars to join the under-21s in the summer.