England manager Gareth Southgate concedes he may have to look to the Championship in future as homegrown talent in the Premier League continues to dwindle.
Southgate yesterday named his first squad following the Three Lions’ World Cup semi-final in the summer, making five changes.
Elder statesmen Gary Cahill, Ashley Young and Jamie Vardy have been left out after what Southgate described as “mature” conversations, while Phil Jones and Nick Pope are injured.
Luke Shaw returns for the first time since March 2017 while Joe Gomez and Adam Lallana are fit again and are back among the ranks alongside James Tarkowski and uncapped Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
Southgate, who resisted the temptation to call up a number of promising youngsters, bemoaned the fact the number of eligible England players in the Premier League has dropped and pointed to the second tier as a way of potentially addressing the issue.
Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland has retained his place despite the Potters’ relegation last season and Southgate explained: “I can’t rule out players in the Championship now as our pool is getting smaller and smaller.
“There are so many positive things that have contributed to where we are now. But there is still this link between 17 to 21 where the bridge into first-team football and the financial power of the Premier League has a big impact, as does the precarious nature of managers in the top flight in particular. I think it’s worth us having that debate and getting people around the table to discuss that missing piece. If players are as good as any young players around the world then that opportunity needs to be there.
“If we are encouraging young players about entering academies, we are selling them the dream and there’s an ethical element there too.”
England squad to face Spain on September 8 and Switzerland on September 11:
Jordan Pickford (Everton), Jack Butland (Stoke), Alex McCarthy (Southampton), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Spurs), Luke Shaw (Man Utd), John Stones (Man City), James Tarkowski (Burnley), Kieran Trippier (Spurs), Kyle Walker (Man City), Dele Alli (Spurs), Fabian Delph (Man City), Eric Dier (Spurs), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Man Utd), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), Raheem Sterling (Man City), Harry Kane (Spurs), Marcus Rashford (Man Utd), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal).