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 By PA Sport

Southgate hoping talented England youths can find first-team club football

Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the winner for the U20 in their World Cup final win.

England boss Gareth Southgate has hailed an "incredible summer'' for the nation following plenty of tournament success, but he also knows a lot of the young talent on display still face a battle to make it at their clubs.

Southgate watched on as the England Under-20s won the World Cup and the Toulon Tournament, while the Under-19s lifted the European Championship.

Both the Under-21s and Under-17s suffered penalty shootout agony in their respective European Championships, the Under-21s in the semifinal against Italy and the Under-17s losing their final to Spain.

Add to that Mark Sampson leading the England Women's team to the semifinal of their own European Championships and it has been a summer to remember for England fans when contrasted to the shortcomings of the senior men's side at recent major tournaments.

Southgate admits the challenge for the Young Lions going forward is to break into their club sides to give them a platform to step up into the senior squad in the coming years.

"It has been an incredible summer, we may never get another summer like it again where every team does so well,'' he said.

"From a senior perspective it is impossible to pick players if they are not playing regular first-team football.

"That is the challenge for those boys -- they now have to go back to their clubs and force their way into their senior teams.

"I think the beauty is that they have been able to show on a world stage that they are as good as kids from other parts of the world.

"Hopefully that gives managers and clubs more belief in young English players which is a really positive message.''

Gareth Southgate is yet to confirm who will captain England at the 2018 World Cup.
Gareth Southgate believes England youth can benefit from loans or permanent moves abroad to find playing time.

Southgate acknowledged the reasons why Premier League clubs in particular struggle to find room for emerging talent but remains hopeful the successes over the summer can change that approach.

"Our league has enormous finance which allows clubs to buy that finished product from elsewhere,'' he said. "Because of the pressures of the league sometimes clubs will look for the finished product rather than being patient with youngsters who might take a little while to learn.

"Other countries don't have the same finance so they have to put their younger players and then export them or put them into their own team.

"At the moment we have a situation where ours haven't been going in but I think summers like this both bring that debate onto the table which is good but will also build belief that these lads can compete against the best in Europe.''

The influx of foreign stars into the English game has long been a bone of contention when it comes to the lack of success for the national side.

A UEFA report issued in January showed the Premier League has the most foreign players of any across Europe, with 69.2 percent of squads made up from imports.

Southgate believes English players would benefit from moving abroad themselves, not only to play more football but to also learn a different culture and mature away from the pitch.

"I think we are seeing players go abroad on loan a bit more and on permanent deals and I think that is positive,'' he added.

"You want your players to be playing regularly at the highest possible level and if that means they are playing in one of the European leagues then great.''

"We've seen it with Joe Hart and with the young players I have worked with. They have all benefitted from the spells they have had abroad and if you spoke to any of them they would all say it helped them mature, that the life experiences were good and they saw a bigger picture of things, so hopefully it starts to become a more regular occurrence.''


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