England simply must play the youngsters if they want to win trophies

Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley and Luke Shaw are widely considered to represent the future of the England team. But whether this future is a successful one, or whether it becomes yet another era of underachievement for England, depends on one major factor.

That factor is whether Roy Hodgson is bold enough to start picking them in every England game, even if better options are available right now. You could argue that Baines is a more complete player than Shaw at present. Or that Jagielka is superior to Jones. But that’s just the sort short-termist view that has got England in this mess. It’s time for England to invest in its future.

England manager Roy Hodgson has a massive entourage of experts around him but the age old problem remains – England don’t play like a team. Even much lower ranked countries, with far less skilled individuals, tend to keep the ball and work as a unit better than our lot.

The answer is to play the same young lads together in the long term. Get them used to playing together. It may not work straight away. But imagine how much better England will be 5 years down the line if Hodgson picks the talented colts – players like Sterling, Barkley, The Ox, Shaw, Chambers and Jones – in every game between now and, say World Cup 2018.

They should have played at The World Cup where the more experienced England players were shown up yet again. But it’s not too late for Roy Hodgson to leave a lasting legacy by selecting the youngsters from this point on.