David Pleat has expressed his delight at some of our rising young stars being rewarded for their progress with international call-ups.
Jermain Defoe and Anthony Gardner are in the England group for the friendly against Sweden in Gothenburg, while Robbie Keane, Gary Doherty, Stephen Carr and Stephen Kelly are among the Republic of Ireland squad for the encounter with the Czech Republic in Dublin.
Lars Hirschfeld, OJ Mabizela and Helder Postiga are also away on national service, while Philip Ifil (picured left)was in the England under-19 squad for the game against Germany last night and Jamie O'Hara is with the under-18s for the clash with Belgium tonight.
Acting boss David views the international recognition as a sure sign that the younger players at the club are heading in the right direction.
"I was delighted on Sunday morning because Gardner and Defoe were called into the England squad. It is a reward asAnthony has been very good this season and Jermain has started off very brightly at the club.
"Then we had the very pleasant phone call from Mr Kerr from the Ireland camp asking for Stephen Kelly.
"All in all we've got nine players away on senior international duty, with Lars Hirschfeld, Helder Postiga and OJ Mabizela being called up by their countries and Philip Ifil and Jamie O'Hara representing England at a younger level.
"It has been very good in that respect, it proves to me for absolutely sure, the younger element at this club are progressing."
Meanwhile, England under-21 coach David Platt is backing Jermain to make an impact with the senior England squad.
"Jermain has had to wait and wait and I am pleased for him," Platt told thefa.com.
"I have always pushed for Jermain. If he’s a substitute at a major tournament, he can get you a goal in 20 minutes. And he’s versatile so you don’t have to take off any of your strikers to bring him on."