England manager Gareth Southgate “will not hesitate” to throw Dominic Solanke, Lewis Cook and Angus Gunn into action against Brazil.
The young trio have been drafted in for Tuesday’s glamour friendly at Wembley and, after handing five players a senior bow in Friday’s encouraging goalless draw against world champions Germany, Southgate is again open to giving youth a chance.
“It’s a very easy squad to settle in to,” the Three Lions boss said at a press conference in London. “The senior players are very open, very welcoming. Most of the squad are young anyway so know each other from younger age groups.
“Those (three new) guys have fitted in off the field no problem which helps them to fit in on the field – and they’re good players, so in training they look fine.
“We have to see how the game progresses but I won’t have any hesitation in putting them on the pitch.
“Angus has worked with the under-21s with us, he’s playing in the league. The other two – captain of the Under-20 World Cup winners (Cook) and Golden Boot winner in the Under-20s World Cup (Solanke). They’ve got good pedigree, and we won’t hesitate to put them on the pitch.”
Demarai Gray and Dominic Calvert-Lewin had also been under consideration and, although they did not get the call this time, Southgate believes the message is clear for the nation’s top young talent.
“I think these two lads have warranted it on their performances with England over a long period of time and also the other night in the Ukraine (2-0 win with England Under-21s).
“The message for all of the others is, there’s opportunity. We are in a situation where we have most of the young players to pick from – that’s the route we want to go. Maybe slightly different this time in that we didn’t see any value in bringing a couple of senior players in for a couple of days, but also we want some of these youngsters that have got good pedigree internationally already to have their pathway.”
Crystal Palace midfielder Loftus-Cheek, on loan from Chelsea, will be hoping to get the chance to build on his man-of-the-match display against Germany.
Asked how the 21-year-old had been in the days since his eye-catching bow, Southgate said: “Quiet, as usual!
“I think he obviously has taken a lot from the game, found it a great experience, that he was learning throughout it. It’s incredible really that he’s had so few 90-minute appearances in the league yet we’re bringing him into that sort of environment.
“We believe in him. He did really well. But sometimes the first game is easier because nobody is aware of you.”