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Stubbs: Five Reasons To Be Proud

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Alan Stubbs says Everton should be proud that five members of the development squad will be representing England at this summer’s Under-20 World Cup.

Ross Barkley, John Stones, John Lundstram, Chris Long and Luke Garbutt are all part of the Young Lions’ group for the tournament in Turkey.

The 24-nation competition gets underway this Friday, with England’s first match against Iraq taking place on Sunday evening.

Stubbs believes there is every chance all five of the Everton contingent could feature in the Group E opener – an achievement that would be merited given the players’ contributions for the Blues Under-21s side over the last year.

“As their coach, I’m obviously delighted for them but, at the end of the day, they are the ones who have put themselves there because of their performances last season,” Stubbs told evertonfc.com.

“From our point of view at Everton, it’s a great feather in the cap that we have got five players in the squad. It’s a reward for the season that they have all had and how well they have done.

“We’ve got four players who are at that age and there is Chris Long who is one of the younger players.

“The majority of them could find themselves in the team, which is great. We don’t know what the team is going to be but they have all got really good chances of making the starting 11.

“It’s an opportunity that the players must not let pass them by. They need to grab it with both hands and do themselves proud. If they do well, it obviously reflects well on Everton.”

After facing Iraq, England will next tackle Chile and Egypt in their remaining group fixtures.

The top two nations from each group automatically qualify for the knockout stage, with the best four third-placed teams also progressing.

Dependent on final group placing, England could encounter Mexico, Paraguay, Uruguay or Croatia in the round of 16.

Stubbs is confident the Young Lions can reach the latter stages of the competition, particularly with former Leicester and Hull boss Peter Taylor at the helm.

The 60-year-old veteran has twice previously managed England Under-21s, while he was also caretaker of the senior national side for one match in 2000 when he famously handed David Beckham the captaincy for a friendly against Italy.

Stubbs added: “He [Taylor] has watched a few of our games and he came to Finch Farm at the end of the season. I had a couple of hours with him speaking about the players and he was asking for my thoughts.

“He seems a really nice guy and is very knowledgeable. He has been around that type of situation before with the England senior team. His experience will be invaluable towards the team and I know he was really looking forward to working with the players.”

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