Roy Hodgson has thrown down the gauntlet to Ross Barkley and Ravel Morrison, challenging the duo to make his England FIFA World Cup squad.
Barkley has broken into the England squad this season after a fine run of performances for Everton, while West Ham’s joint top scorer Morrison is tipped for a call-up after an impressive first full season in the Premier League.
Both face stiff competition to seal a spot in Brazil, but national team manager Hodgson insists he will only consider the duo’s ability – and not reputation – when making his final decision.
“These two must realise we do have great faith in them and enormous admiration for their talent,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“There is no problem with a lack of experience. He (Morrison) has the quality, but he’s going to find there is stiff competition from others, including Ross Barkley.
“Ravel has just broken into the Under-21 side, whereas Ross has been in the Under-20 and Under-21 sides over a period of time.
“We think they will be exceptional players, but they have got to perform week-in and week-out, and make sure they are on that team sheet.
“If they can keep more experienced players out of the team then, come May, their names will be in serious discussion.
“But you’ve got to be careful with names of young players who suddenly burst on the scene.
“This time last year Wilfried (Zaha) was suggested as a shoe-in for the squad, but he’s been usurped by Ravel Morrison and Ross Barkley, and, who knows, their places might be usurped.”