England U21 stars sent warning by former boss Peter Taylor

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019 7:00am

By James Gray @jamestingray

England's U21 stars who missed out on Nations League selection must first prove themselves at age-group level this summer, according to Peter Taylor.

Aidy Boothroyd's men kick off their U21 European Championship campaign against France tonight in Cesena before facing Romania followed by Croatia, all in the space of just six days.

It means the entire squad are likely to get a chance to start, including the likes of James Maddison and Phil Foden, who were not included in Gareth Southgate's squad to play in Portugal.

But Taylor, who had two spells as England U21 boss as well as one as senior manager, reckons that was the right way to handle the situation, especially for Foden.

"For the first time in his life, there is pressure on him because he is such a good player. He’s a top player playing for a top manager and a top team but he’s more like a squad player," Taylor told Love Sport Radio.

"Now it’s a chance for him to come and show he is a starter. If he can start in the team and play against the French really really well, then it shows you what a good player he is.

"I keep hearing lots of things about lots of players and what good players they are - well this tournament is about proving it."

Maddison is another who has been tipped for greatness and is likely to be a sought-after man in the Premier League this summer but is yet to make his England debut.

However, Taylor again stressed the importance of making a timely progression through the international set-up.

"I used to speak to Glenn Hoddle quite a lot when I was U21 manager," Taylor added.

"There was always a right time to put the players in. If it just meant they were going to go and train with the seniors, then that’s not the way to do it, I don’t think.

"Most players get better experience and improve by playing football.

"He could easily have gone with the senior squad but how many minutes would he have been on the pitch? It’s a cert he’ll play 90 minutes with the U21s.

"Every time he gets on the ball, he asks a question so he’s a very exciting player and he has got to prove he can do it at this level."

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