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Youngsters were best England had

(Ah Fat Talk Ball) - England's youthful World Cup squad is not the result of a policy to pick young players but simply a question of choosing the best talent in the best form, manager Gareth Southgate said on Thursday.

Southgate, the former England Under-21 coach, was also quick to dismiss talk of Russia 2018 being used as a chance for his young squad to gain experience as he explained the thinking behind his decisions.

England's inexperience is most apparent in the goalkeeper position where the three players chosen - Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope, have just nine caps between them.

Southgate took a similar approach when explaining his decision to pick uncapped Liverpool right back Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Alexander-Arnold has impressed during Liverpool's run to the Champions League final where they will face Real Madrid in Kiev on May 26.

Yet despite the focus on youth, Southgate said there is no question of England viewing the World Cup as simply a staging post.

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