ENGLAND manager Fabio Capello admits experienced campaigners such as Steven Gerrard and Rio Ferdinand face an uphill battle to win back their places such has been the impact made by their young replacements.
The likes of Phil Jones, Jack Rodwell and Danny Welbeck, all graduates of Stuart Pearce’s Under-21 side, impressed during Saturday’s 1-0 win over world champions Spain.
Gerrard and Ferdinand, who have won a combined total of 170 caps, remain in the manager’s plans but the emergence of so many youngsters will make Capello’s job of selecting a 23-man squad for next summer’s European Championships a tough one.
Capello said: “The players who played, Rodwell, Jones, Welbeck, did really well. For these players it was a really important experience.
“I personally checked these players and I am really happy with the performance and the personality and the confidence they showed. It is difficult for young players to play with the confidence that they showed with Spain.
“If these players during the season continue to improve, they will be ready to play with us with at the Euros.”