England U21s: Gareth Southgate does not expect Euro pull-outs

Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley
England's most promising young players have already been capped by the senior side

England Under-21 boss Gareth Southgate does not expect Premier League clubs to oppose the release of players for the European Under-21 Championship.

Former England captain Gary Lineker said it would be a "national disgrace" if clubs stopped the country's best youngsters from playing this summer.

Southgate told BBC Radio 5 live that is "not a problem" he has encountered.

He added: "We've looked after the players physically, and that helps us in terms of their release."

England's last appearance at the tournament in 2013 ended with Stuart Pearce's side exiting from the group stage having lost all three of their matches.

Southgate's team qualified for this year's tournament, to be held in the Czech Republic between 17-30 June, without losing a single match.

Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who scored on his senior England debut on Friday, could feature for the U21s but Spurs have arranged a friendly in Australia less than three weeks before England's first game against Portugal on 18 June.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez said recently that midfielder Ross Barkley would need a "proper break" in the summer, while Southgate has previously said he is "not convinced another tournament in the summer would be right" for Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling, who played for England in the 2014 World Cup.

'I don't think they need a rest at 22'

Danny Ings
Burnley forward Danny Ings has played seven matches for the England Under-21 side

Burnley manager Sean Dyche said he would be in favour of his striker Danny Ings playing at this summer's European Under-21 Championships, and was not concerned it could lead to fatigue.

"I don't over-think the idea of having these long breaks," he said. "I think they'll be all right at 22, and I am sure these people are educated and savvy enough with sports science. I trust in the professionalism of the national team.

"This is also for them to learn as players, to become more rounded individuals by playing different styles of football and being around other young and talented players."

'A call-up isn't a punishment for these players'

Germany Under-21 squad in 2009
Germany won the 2009 European Under-21 Championship in Sweden

Former England and Manchester United defender Phil Neville told BBC Radio 5 live he agreed with Lineker as he said that England could go on to win the Euros if they have a full-strength squad to pick from.

"How many times do we see others nations take their best teams to an Under-21 tournament and then two years later go to a major tournament with the full national team and go and win?" Neville said.

"Spain did it, and Germany did it in 2009. Harry Kane's development as a player will only be enhanced by going to the tournament in the summer.

"We're not punishing players by taking them to a major tournament."

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