Tottenham allow teenagers to play for England

Harry Redknapp has defused a potential club-versus-country row involving four Tottenham teenagers by allowing them to play for England in the European Under-19 Championship in France.

Tottenham were understood to have queried the need for the FA to take Steven Caulker, Andros Townsend, Ryan Mason and Dean Parrett to the tournament, which begins next week.

But all of them took part in a three-day under-19 training camp last week and Redknapp insists they will go to the tournament if selected.

"I had a word with the chairman (Daniel Levy) and the kids were released," Redknapp told Sky Sports News.

"It's a great honour to play for your country and we wouldn't want to stop them from playing. It's important, whatever age group, whatever level it's something you strive for.

"I have never stopped anyone from playing for their country wherever they are from. I always encourage that and this is no different. If they need the kids we will get it sorted out."

The players were part of a squad that trained at Warwick University last week. They are scheduled for departure to Normandy on July 15.

The tournament begins three days later and England's group includes Austria, Holland and France with the top pair joining two from Italy, Spain, Portugal and Croatia in the semi-finals.

Sir Dave Richards, the chairman of Club England, wrote to all clubs last month pointing out that they wanted "to prioritise player release in the Under-19s outside the competitive part of the season".

A fortnight ago, the FA's director of football development, Sir Trevor Brooking, said that "tournament experience would be fantastic", although he feared there were "three or four at clubs who want to take them on pre-season trips".

Blackburn's Phil Jones and Aston Villa's Nathan Delfouneso are also wanted by the FA for the tournament.

Jones is already an established member of the Blackburn first team while Delfouneso is expected to stake a claim for a regular slot in Villa's starting line-up.

The pair would miss over two weeks of their club's pre-season preparations if they travelled with England.

However, Delfouneso took part in the three-day training camp squad and is likely to play if selected for the tournament squad.

Defender Jones is currently away with the Blackburn first-team squad in Austria but the club expect to make a decision over his involvement tomorrow.

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