England U21 goalkeeper Jack Butland has called for Everton, Arsenal and Liverpool stars to be included in the squad which goes to the European Championships next year.
Butland, who plays his club football for Stoke City, says that he would be happy to welcome John Stones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Raheem Sterling back to the squad which represents the Three Lions in 2015, although he feels the current team are good enough to win the tournament anyway.
"The beauty of the team at the moment is that we’ve managed to qualify for the tournament with this squad but still have many players who can still play for us even though they’ve taken the step up into the senior side," he said to TalkSPORT.
“The players who have gone up to the seniors have deserved to get there, they’ve played extremely well at club level, they’ve got themselves into Premier League sides and they’re playing at the top level."
“It would be a great experience for the younger players to be involved in a major youth tournament, they’re the stepping stones for your career, and maybe the established senior players don’t need that experience as much as the younger lads."
“Obviously I’d be happy to see all of them back in the Under-21s, Calum Chambers, John Stones and Raheem as well, but even if they don’t we’ve still got chemistry with this group and I believe the talent we have now is good enough [to win the tournament]."
“It’s a discussion that needs to be had between Gareth Southgate, Roy Hodgson and both groups of players to decide what would be best for the young guys.”
The under-21 level of football has been under utilised in the past, but there is hope that more of a precedence will be placed on their progress in the future.
England qualified for the tournament by beating Croatia in a playoff match last week and Butland clearly feels that their hard work needs to be rewarded by allowing Gareth Southgate to pick his strongest squad possible.
The last time England qualified for a major international tournament at under-21 level, they picked a weak team and it meant that they did not progress well.
This needs to be rectified and it seems that the Three Lions could be following in the footsteps of the more successful nations, such as Spain and Germany, by picking their stars for the competition.
Although the managers of their club sides may prefer their key youngsters to rest up over the summer, Southgate has hinted that he will try and make the side as strong as possible and that will only benefit English football in the future.