Gareth Southgate hails Sir Alex Ferguson as inspiration to bring youngsters into first team
There's no-one better to take inspiration from
During Gareth Southgate's reign as England manager, he has completely changed the culture of the national team set-up, which is no mean feat given how toxic it had become in the aftermath of the Euro 2016 defeat to Iceland.
Part of this process has come from his faith in young players, regardless of how many minutes they might have registered in the Premier League. If he believes they are good enough, he will pick them. It's that sort of conviction and decisiveness that has held England back in the past.
On Friday, two 18-year-olds played in a competitive England match for the first time in 138 years, as Southgate put his faith in Jadon Sancho and Callum Hudson-Odoi. The pair took full advantage of their opportunity to shine, with Sancho providing Raheem Sterling with a tap-in for the first goal, and Hudson-Odoi forcing a mistake that led to the fifth against the Czech Republic.
Declan Rice was also given his England debut at 20 years of age after he switched allegiances from Ireland.
"We've got competition for places and I think with attacking players anyway they mature very young, and they can go in very young," said Southgate ahead of Monday's Group A clash in Montenegro.
Southgate pointed to former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson's faith in youth during his time at Manchester United and how it helped develop legends of the game such as Ryan Giggs.
"I think that comes into everything: how much we expose them to the public, how much we put them into commercial situations," Southgate said of their responsibility to young players.
"So, although they're not our player on a day-to-day basis, I think we've got a responsibility to do that as much as we can, because also we're putting them onto another level and we've got to make sure we get the balance right for the club, but most importantly for the player."