Roy Hodgson admitted he could face a youth v experience dilemma when deciding whether to take Luke Shaw to the World Cup.
The teenage Saints left back earned his first England call-up for next week’s friendly against Denmark at Wembley as he makes a dramatic late charge for the England squad to go to Brazil.
Hodgson is almost certain to take two left backs with him for the World Cup, and the three contenders – Shaw, Leighton Baines and Ashley Cole – are all in the squad. While Baines is a definite pick if he is fit, the other spot is likely to come down to selecting either Cole, who can’t get a game for Chelsea but has vast experience, or Shaw, who is flying for Saints as a Premier League regular but has no international matches under his belt.
When asked if Shaw could play his way to Brazil in 90 minutes for England next week Hodgson said: “No, not in 90 minutes of football.
“It would be nice if he gets to play on Wednesday night and that decision hasn’t been made.
“If he does well and corroborates what we think, that this is a good player and capable of playing for England.
“But our decision will be over the course of his work during the season and it will be a very simple choice.
“We have a 29-year-old in Leighton and a 33-year-old Ashley Cole and then we have an 18-year-old. That’s a vast difference in terms of experience: 100 caps, 40 caps, maybe one cap. We have to take those things into consideration and we will do that.”
Hodgson was glowing when talking about Shaw and added: “Anyone who’s watched him play recently will not deny he’s worth a place in a large squad like this. He’s played extremely well and he’s a very exciting talent.
“I’ve not worked with him in the under-21s, but I’ve seen him with the under-21s and I’ve had the chance to meet him. I thought it was the right moment to invite him along.
“He’s a player in a position where we’re very well off but he wants to compete with the other two for a place on the plane to Brazil. I thought it was the right time to bring him in and let him show what he can do.”
England squad to face Denmark Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster, Ben Foster, Joe Hart, John Ruddy.
Defenders: Leighton Baines, Gary Cahill, Steve Caulker, Ashley Cole, Glen Johnson, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling, Kyle Walker. Midfielders: Ross Barkley, Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Frank Lampard, James Milner, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling, Andros Townsend, Jack Wilshere. Forwards: Jermain Defoe, Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Daniel Welbeck.
England under-21 squad to face Wales Goalkeepers: Jonathan Bond, Jack Butland, Sam Johnstone.
Defenders: Carl Jenkinson, Ezekiel Fryers, Michael Keane, Jamaal Lascelles, Liam Moore, Jack Robinson, John Stones.
Midfielders: Tom Carroll, Nathaniel Chalobah, Will Hughes, Ravel Morrison, James Ward-Prowse.
Wide: Thomas Ince, Jesse Lingard, Nathan Redmond, Wilfried Zaha.
Forwards: Patrick Bamford, Saido Berahino, Harry Kane, Danny Ings.