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About Alan:

Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer is the Premier League's all-time top scorer with 260 goals and a leading TV pundit from the BBC's flagship football programme Match of the Day. Euro '96 Golden Boot winner Alan will be sharing his thoughts on all things football every week throughout the 2016/17 season.

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Shearer says: Gareth Southgate is planning for the future with latest England squad

Coral ambassador looks ahead to England’s upcoming Nations League games

Gareth Southgate has opted to include a few young players in his latest England squad to face Croatia and Spain. That is the right thing to do as he is trying to plan for a major tournament.

Without being disrespectful to them, the old guard had their chances. Back in 2016 when he took the job, the likes of Wayne Rooney, Joe Hart, Phil Jagielka, Jack Wilshere and Gary Cahill were all looked at as being key players, but now things have changed and he is planning for the future.

Southgate knows a lot of these young players from his time in charge of the under-21s therefore he will be fully aware of their character. We could not keep going the same way as we were, turning up at major tournaments and failing. He had to look to the youth and it is absolutely the right thing to do.

Ideally Gareth would want these young players playing week-in and week-out for their clubs. But the likes of Manchester City aren’t going to change, as they will continue to buy big and established players. All the big clubs will continue to do that as they want immediate success.

Loftus-Cheek may have to leave Chelsea in January 

Reuben Loftus-Cheek has been left out of the latest squad and at his age he has to now go out and look to play football. He can no longer sit on a bench and wait for his chance at Chelsea. If by Christmas or at the latest the end of the season he is still out of the team, he has to leave. That would be my advice for any young player.

James Maddison has been called up and was playing at Aberdeen and Norwich before his break with Leicester. Prior to this season, Loftus-Cheek has had a good 12 months. He probably thought he had a chance to impress the new manager at Chelsea but unfortunately he has not been in his plans yet.

Jadon Sancho is another good example of a player who has moved to try and get some football. Although he is not starting every week for Dortmund, he has been involved in the action. Hopefully more players follow his lead.

It is not necessarily about going abroad though. Look at Harry Kane, he went on loan and got football under his belt in this country at a young age. There is no substitute for game time, even if it means dropping down a league or two. It will do them no harm getting beaten up every now and then. If anything, it will do them the world of good.

Lewis Dunk has been called into the squad and that is a reward for his form this season. The one player who may feel a little unlucky is Conor Coady. I have watched a few Wolves games this season and he has impressed me. He plays in a three at the back and likes to play out.

I am not saying five or six good games in the Premier League is enough to catapult you into the England squad, but if he carries on playing like he has been, it won’t be long before he is called up.

Southgate has made the country fall back in love with the national team

It is great to see Gareth rewarded with a contract extension. He is the first England manager for a long time to over achieve rather than under achieve so he deserves his new contract.

He has led us to the semi-final of a World Cup and has got people to fall back in love with the national team. We were all fed up of us falling on our faces at the big tournaments but we are now excited again.

I am fully behind what he is doing and I think the future is bright under his leadership.