Midfielder Dylan Duncan, 17, was drafted into the Three Lions’ training session at Hotspur Way on Monday to make up the numbers as Gareth Southgate’s squad readied themselves for Tuesday night’s friendly against Spain at Wembley.
That came two days after academy goalkeepers Brandon Austin, 17, and Jonathan De Bie, 16, were brought in to support senior England stoppers Joe Hart, Tom Heaton and Jordan Pickford during the national team’s session in Watford in the aftermath of Friday’s 3-0 triumph over Scotland.
Understandably pleased for his young charges to be given such tremendous exposure to the inner-workings of top-level international football, John, our Head of Player Development, has urged the boys to stay grounded and not lose sight of their own individual targets.
“Something similar happened last year with Shayon Harrison and Harry Winks – whenever Gareth Southgate and his team ask for extra players, it’s an absolute privilege to be able to provide them with that and it’s also great that they will trust our players to be able to deal with the high demands of an England training session,” he said.
“One of the reasons that we selected these boys is they know that being able to cope in a training session, which they’re also able to do here with Mauricio Pochettino, doesn’t indicate in any way that they’re anywhere near that level. Dylan, Brandon and Jonathan are bright enough to realise that and there’s still an incredible amount of work ahead to be able to do that day in, day out and play in front of tens of thousands of people.
“I’m very confident that, with those three boys who have just had this opportunity, it won’t go to their heads and they won’t suddenly think they’re something that they’re not. Part of selecting these boys was their availability, their ability to deal technically with Gareth's demands and whether they are still going to retain a desperation to become a professional footballer after all the hype of being involved in supporting the England squad. All these factors went into the equation as to which lads to choose, once Gareth asked for support in bolstering his training groups.”