England manager Gareth Southgate has admitted to taking inspiration from Sir Alex Ferguson’s tenure at Manchester United on handling the nation’s young prospects such as Jadon Sancho and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Sancho, 18, provided his second assist in an England shirt to set up Raheem Sterling for his first goal during the 5-0 win against the Czech Republic on Friday in their first Euro 2020 qualifier, while Hudson-Odoi’s introduction from the bench made him the Three Lions’ youngest ever debutante in a competitive game (18y 135d).
Southgate’s decision to promote young players to the senior squad has been widely praised, with the 48-year-old revealing that he wants to adopt a similar approach to that of Ferguson at United and the ‘Class of 92’ in helping them manage matters both on and off the field.
As quoted by BBC Sport, Southgate said: “I always think of Sir Alex with Ryan Giggs. He did that so well and they had sustained success because of that. I think that comes into everything: how much we expose them to the public, how much we put them into commercial situations.
“We’ve got to be thinking about all of that all of the time because it’s very easy for them to enjoy these moments, and they’ve got to enjoy them, but equally there’s a good balance.
“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 on to another level and we’ve got to make sure we get the balance right for the club, but most importantly for the player.”
Hudson-Odoi’s England debut came after making 18 senior appearances for Chelsea this season under Maurizio Sarri, with recent reports linking the winger with a move to Manchester United in order to receive more playing time.
Southgate however has called for the 18-year-old to remain patient at Stamford Bridge, believing more opportunities will come for the youngster.
As quoted by The Metro, he said: “If you look at number of appearances, he has actually been on the field quite a lot. And I know from when we were talking with the club earlier in the season how much faith Maurizio has in him.
“He has got some outstanding players just in front of him but he’s slowly getting more and more game time. ‘So, I think he’s maturing well. There doesn’t need to be a rush for him.”