DAN ASHWORTH believes England could be the big winners of playing back-to-back major tournaments.
The Brighton technical director, 49, is feeling confident because Gareth Southgate’s squad is packed full of youth.
Phil Foden is one of England’s brightest prospectsCredit: AFP or licensors
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Uefa’s decision to delay the Euros by 12 months means the tournament will be played in 2021 — with the World Cup in Qatar the following winter.
That will place a huge burden on the squads to be able to cram in a packed international schedule as well as condensed club demands.
But former FA technical director Ashworth believes this will play straight into the Three Lions’ hands.
He said: “Putting it back a year wouldn’t be detrimental to England as they’re a young squad, compared to some aging teams. Tournaments being held 16 months apart, that will be no problem.”
When England last played back in November, Euro qualifiers against Montenegro and Kosovo, Southgate fielded the youngest side for more than 60 years with an average age of 23.
Over the coming year, older players like 29-year-olds Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier plus Fabian Delph, 30, will likely disappear from the picture with youngsters such as Phil Foden, 19, and 18-year-old Marcus Greenwood waiting in the wings.
Contrast that with one of their big rivals for Euros success — Belgium.
Their squad may be just over the hill by next summer and will be unable to rebuild in time before the World Cup in the winter of 2022.
By the Euros, defenders Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen will be 32 and 33, while Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen will both be 35.
Even Belgian talisman Eden Hazard will be 30, so time is not on their side.
Ashworth also believes squeezing in two tournaments — plus the qualifiers for Qatar — will mean more regular meet-ups for the squad, which could ultimately prove beneficial. One of the problems for international teams is the gap between matches.
This can lead to a lack of cohesion but there is now the opportunity to get a club-like feel around the England squad.
He added: “If you asked Gareth Southgate, Steve Holland and others involved with England’s senior team, they’d like a tournament every summer.
“They are competitive beasts and they want to play matches and win. The quicker they come round, the better.
“So I don’t think it will unduly affect England. In fact, you could argue it will be advantageous because there is less of a gap between tournaments.
“So, although Gareth will be really disappointed it’s not being run this summer, to have the two 1½ years apart, they’ll be looking forward to it and thinking it’s advantageous.
“One of the biggest frustrations was the November to March break.
“You get six games in, start to get a bit of rhythm, a bit of consistency and perhaps start to pick a team that you feel is starting to go somewhere.
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“And then you have three or four months without any fixtures.
“Anything can happen in that time, players lose form, players get injured, players come back who were injured.
“The team is quite different between November and March. So the more games condensed into that period, the better it will be for Gareth and Steve.”
Dan Ashworth believes the tournament delay will benefit EnglandCredit: PA:Press AssociationSouthgate ‘seething’ with Walker and will ‘NEVER pick him again’ for England after escort sex party scandal