England manager Roy Hodgson strongly rejected claims it is becoming too easy to represent the national team following Dele Alli’s debut.
Former England international Jamie Carragher believes it has never been easier to win a cap under Hodgson in the wake of Alli’s international bow after just three Premier League starts for Tottenham.
Alli, 19, came off the bench and played two minutes as England defeated Estonia 2-0 in Euro 2016 qualifying on Friday.
Hodgson, who has used 31 players throughout England’s qualifying campaign, insisted that is not the case.
“You have to be careful with that argument because it’s not a situation where, the moment you kick the ball correctly from A to B, you’ll get in the England team,” Hodgson said ahead of Monday’s clash in Lithuania. “It’s not like that at all.
“If you do make an impact as a young player, and then there are a lot of injuries in the first-team [you will get a chance].
“I said to Dele Alli that he’s here on merit, and he can handle the pressures, but I did say to him that there’s a good chance you’ll be with the under-21s next time.
“I told him ‘don’t think you’re a senior player. You’re an England player, but whether you’re in the seniors or in the under-21s remains to be seen’.
“If he turns out to be one of the best players in the Premier League this season, you’ll all want him in for the finals.”