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Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate has effectively shut the door on the old guard as the England manager prepares to make his squad even younger.

Just eight weeks after their memorable World Cup campaign, the Three Lions will run out at Wembley on Saturday in their UEFA Nations League opener against Spain.

Southgate has plumped for a young squad, with 28-year-old Fabian Delph the oldest member following Adam Lallana's withdrawal.

Injury has also seen Raheem Sterling leave the initial 23-man squad and the England manager's decision not to name attacking replacements has raised eyebrows.

"Well, we think we've got a strong squad," Southgate said

"We're three games into a new season and we looked through a lot of different players over the last couple of years and decided that because of the way we want to play and the type of players we want to work with that there are some guys that didn't fit that model.

"And so now we're into a fresh cycle of probably not going back to players that have been in before and that we've had a good look at.

"So the next group that we start to look at are probably coming through our younger age groups.

"There's a couple of others that are still young, that still have room for growth - the (Nathaniel) Chalobahs, Will Hughes, Ross Barkleys - but I don't want to bring them in now, three days into the camp.

"I'd rather do that when we feel they're ready, we feel that we're looking at them on merit and also we really like some of the age groups below and I think they're quite likely to be the guys that push.

"But when you're promoting young players you've got to be careful about how quickly you do that because you want to give them game time, you want to bring them in."


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