Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has urged the nation to be patient with England’s latest young stars after a tough baptism of fire against France.
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Black Cats midfielder Jordan Henderson, 20, and Newcastle striker Andy Carroll, 21, both made their debuts at Wembley, while 21-year-old Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs was handed a first start.
Much was made of the arrival of the new generation but the post-match reaction will have made difficult reading after England were outplayed by the French, particularly in the opening stages, and left the pitch to boos both at half-time and full-time.
Bruce, though, believes the youngsters must be given time to develop and has called on the public and the media not to write them off too soon.
He said of Henderson: "It was fantastic to see him in an England shirt and I’m sure he enjoyed it. The team struggled against France and the kid did okay. He did as well as anyone else on the night as far as I’m concerned.
"It was a tough one for him. We’ve got to be honest, the French were far, far better on the night. He could have done with a little bit more experience around him.
"Maybe we had a little bit too much inexperience and that showed a little bit against a very, very good French team. But he’ll learn from it.
"He’s had a wonderful rise in 18 months, now’s the next stage, to make sure he matures and develops, and that’s where we’ve got to be careful.
"He’s a wonderful talent and we must nurture that talent and get the best out of it rather than building him up and building him up, like this country tends to do, and knocking him down very quickly.
"We’re clamouring to give the youngsters a chance then we get beaten by the French youngsters.
"The French are in a big changeover period as well but when you look at players like (Samir) Nasri and (Florent) Malouda and (Yoann) Gourcuff, they’re always going to be strong.
"Our young players will learn from it and we must be patient, which unfortunately in our country we’re not."