The beauty of having first class facilities that the national team want to use enables our younsters to bruch shoulders with the countries best and train with the national team when they need extra numbers.
This is a huge benefit and something for the youngsters to use as a carrot. When making theor way a youngster is first given experience in a match day squad to get him used to what happens surrounding a game, he'll then usually go on European trips with the side and this season as we are in the UEFA Champions League, the Under-18 side have been travelling with the first team to play corresponding fixtures earlier on the same day as the first team play.
You will then find them given a few minutes here and there to get thm used to a crowd, the players they are playiong against, the standard, their teammates and the whole package of playing a senior game of football. They are watched closely to see how they react, do they freze and lack movement or do they thrive.
During this international break, Brandon Austin, 17, and Jonathan De Bie, 16, trained with the three England keepers, Joe Hart (Torino, Italy on loan from Manchester City), Tom Heaton (Burnley) and Jordan Pickford (Sunderland). In addition midfielder Dylan Duncan, 17, also trained with Gareth Southgate's squad.
John McDermott, Head of Player Development, understands the dangers of too much too quickly and urges his charges to use the experience in apositive way.
“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.
“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.”