Elder statesman Ashley Young relishes England return

Elder statesman Ashley Young relishes England return

Young came on as a second-half substitute, joining a midfield of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. With Ashley Cole and Rickie Lambert in the team too it was an ageing England side and Young, at 28, was in the middle of it.

Young watched the last World Cup on holiday in Dubai, but can underline his credentials for the next one in the friendlies against Germany and Brazil.

Young plays alongside two other members of England's young contingent - Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford - at United and says he is always happy to share the fruits of his experience.

'I never once shut the door on England or thought the door was shut on myself. "All of a sudden I'm in the top three seniors". It's refreshing to see that in a kid so young, that he wants to get to the top. I think you become more wise and get more experience. "Coming back here is an honour, to be back with the England squad". Speaking to him even at that young age, he was one of them who just wanted to learn and to be the best.

'I've showed I deserve to be in the squad, ' Young said on Wednesday.

Young made his name, firstly with Watford and then Aston Villa, as a quicksilver winger and also has experience of playing at number 10.

The veteran utility man is the last chance saloon to play a part for the Three Lions at the biggest worldwide football tournament on the planet, with Young set to be 36-years-old by the time the 2022 tournament in Qatar rolls around.

Young has enjoyed playing behind in an unorthodox left-back role and he isn't surprised by Rashford's incredible development.

Young believes his "football brain" has helped his transition further back and his versatility has caught the eye of Southgate.

"As a footballer nowadays you have to be able to adapt and play in different positions, different formations, different systems. I've got that experience as well to be clever, knowing where to be, when to attack, when to defend".

It certainly helps that England are heading towards playing a back three and wing-backs more often than they did, to bring them in line with Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal.

Young has been called back into the England squad, following his strong form for United at wing-back this season. I always said all along, for me, he's a special talent. I think the manager has to drag him off the training pitch every day because he wants to be out there all the time.



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