Calum Chambers’ first England appearance sums up everything that is wrong with the outdated FA’s system of bringing players through at international level.
Chambers had no under-21 caps and yet was thrust straight into the full-squad and made his England bow against Norway in Wednesday night’s 1-0 win over Norway.
Although the appearance was fine reward for his excellent club form over the past year, it highlights the deficiencies in the set-up all the way up to senior level.
There is no stage of progression throughout the teams. Chambers’ is evidently a very talented 19-year-old and there has to be a question of just how poor a judge of ability the coaches at the lower age-groups are if they hadn’t tipped the Three Lions’ hierarchy off of his ability.
The likes of Spain and Germany, two of the most successful national teams in Europe, are superb at identifying groups of players who can come through together, but England fail to grasp this concept.
Instead full-caps are handed out to any youngster who shows form at senior-level and the experience can be daunting.
Rather than playing alongside teammates who they have come through the age-groups with, the are sporadically picked to play alongside stars they are unfamiliar with.
Just look at the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Ross Barkley and Luke Shaw who all made their debuts for the national side with limited U21 caps.
These players should have been identified as the future and pushed up the levels together, ready for their emergence as Premier League stars.
Instead, Chambers’ abilities seem to be a shock for Roy Hodgson, who had to seek assurances from Arsene Wenger that his young prospect was ready for international football.
Hodgson shouldn’t be proving to have limited knowledge of players like Chambers who will be the key for the future – he should know them inside out, before they make the breakthrough at club level.
There has to be serious questions of what exactly the youth-levels are being utilised to do at the moment, because they appear pointless entities. There is no structure, no stages of development and until this random selection process stops no progress will be made from a nation which has specialised in failure for too long.