Roy Hodgson will allow Gareth Southgate to select under-21s for European Championships despite England's trip to Slovenia

England face Slovenia and the Republic of Ireland in June but Hodgson has opened the door to the likes of Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley to play for the Under-21s

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The Independent Online

England manager Roy Hodgson will not stand in Gareth Southgate's way if he wants to select the likes of Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley or Jack Wilshere for the European Under-21 Championship next summer.

When Southgate's Young Lions qualified for Euro 2015 last month, a debate began regarding the potential make-up of the England Under-21 squad for the tournament.

Youngsters like Tom Carroll, James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond have played a key role in helping the team qualify, but Southgate also knows he could sprinkle some stardust on the squad by selecting a number of full internationals who are still eligible for the under-21s.

Barkley, Sterling, Wilshere, Luke Shaw, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Phil Jones, John Stones and Calum Chambers are all available to feature in the Czech Republic.

 

And Hodgson would have no qualms about leaving them out of his senior squad for the June games against Slovenia and the Republic of Ireland if Southgate decided he wanted them for the tournament, which begins three days after the seniors play their final game of the season in Ljubljana.

"My policy is a very simple one," the England manager said. "After Gareth Southgate has picked his squad, I will pick my squad for Slovenia.

"He can pick any under-21 who's available and I will take the rest.

"He'll be under no pressure from me whatsoever because we've got a lot of players these days. We can deal with four or five absentees and tournaments are important. But if they're available for me, that's fine too."

As it stands, it is highly unlikely Southgate will select every senior player available to him. A compromise agreement is more likely where one or two of the more inexperienced full internationals like Stones or Chambers would go to the tournament.

Hodgson has not spoken to Southgate on the matter, but will do so nearer the time.

"He'll speak to me and he'll tell me what he wants to do," Hodgson said. "Whether he'll want to take all these players, that's up to him.

"You'll have to speak to him about that. If Gareth thinks the best way to win the tournament is to jettison a lot of the players he's been working with and take players from our team, that's fine by me."

Shaw has indicated he would be willing to participate in the Championship and his club manager Louis van Gaal insisted he will not stand in his way.

Whether other club managers are as diplomatic as the Manchester United boss remains to be seen. Three years ago, Arsene Wenger blocked Wilshere's participation in the tournament because he was worried the midfielder would suffer from burn-out after a long season.

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Hodgson will make the under-21s available for the European Championships

Hodgson acknowledges fatigue may be an issue, but he insists nobody can stop Southgate from picking who he wants.

Hodgson added: "The clubs' co-operation when it comes to selecting players is always important. As far as I understand, the FIFA rules give us the right to choose whatever players we want.

"Whether the clubs will be happy with us choosing them, that's another matter. But it's luckily not my choice."

Hodgson has to wait four months before selecting his next squad for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania and friendly versus Italy.

A sixth successive win in Scotland was the perfect way to end what has been a disappointing year on the whole for the Three Lions, who crashed out of the World Cup in the group stages.

"Going into the World Cup, I thought we were looking in reasonable shape," Hodgson said. "There was a lot of optimism, and we didn't think we were doing that badly before that, but of course the World Cup came along and we failed like we did, and of course that knocks you for six.

"But I'm pleased that the team has been able to get the ship back on keel and that they've shown that they perhaps were on the right track, and there's a lot to expect from them because there are some good athletes and some good technical players. I think that as a team we're growing."

PA

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