Gareth Southgate right to trust in Callum Hudson-Odoi and England youth, says Stuart Pearce

Stuart Pearce has backed England manager Gareth Southgate’s decision to play young players in key competitive fixtures and says he has been impressed by Callum Hudson-Odoi.

The 18-year-old made his senior England debut when he came on as a substitute in the 5-0 win over Czech Republic at Wembley on Friday in their opening European Qualifier.

Hudson-Odoi is expected to start in Montenegro on Monday night, despite having never started a Premier League match for Chelsea, with another teenager – Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho – likely to miss out through injury.

But with the national side having enjoyed success in three age-group levels in 2017, with England’s U17 side – featuring Hudson-Odoi – having won their World Cup, former England U21 boss Pearce believes youngsters are coming into the senior set-up full of confidence and with crucial experience of winning major tournaments.

“They’ve got a manager who is happy to back the young players,” Pearce told Sky Sports News.

“I was at the game on Friday night and when he [Hudson-Odoi] came on the pitch, he delivered a performance that didn’t look like a young player full of nerves.

“They just go out these young boys and take on what’s in front of them and I’m really pleased that Gareth’s backing them.

“The youth teams are used to winning, so Gareth has overseen everything that has gone on at U17, U19, U20 level.

“These boys are stepping on the stage having won major tournaments, [with] either world finals [U17 and U20] or European Championships [U19] to their name, and it doesn’t faze them anymore.

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