Stuart Pearce believes England's young players need to be exposed to tournament football if they are to flourish at senior level.
Pearce will take charge of the senior squad for Wednesday's friendly with Holland at Wembley, but he will also be paying particular attention to the Under 21 international with Belgium being played in Middlesbrough a couple of hours before.
As Under 21 coach, Pearce's interest is obvious in a match which will also help provide pointers for the Olympic squad he will name later this year.
Although interest in that tournament has so far been lukewarm, the consensus within the Football Association is that it provides a heaven-sent opportunity for Under-23s to get invaluable tournament experience.
Others do not appear to share the vision, which is why the England side that competed at the Under-20 World Cup in Colombia last year was so depleted.
Pearce said: "I am forever barking on about how our best young players should be going to tournaments, even if they have a clutch of senior caps and even if there is a clamour for them not to go.
"Spain turned up against us in the European Under-21 Championships last summer and, in Juan Mata and Javier Martinez, had two players with World Cup winners' medals. They as individuals wanted to go.
"The same players who were available wanted to go to the Under-20 World Cup. It was only then that the federation said it is too much.
"We had 41 players missing from our possible Under-20s squad because the clubs pulled them out. That is unacceptable."
Pearce has also indicated that Manchester City midfielder James Milner could be a contender to take on the England captaincy against Holland.
The 26-year-old is less experienced than some of the other options Pearce has to consider but is highly regarded by the manager after coming through the Under 21 set-up.
"If ever I'm looking for an example of someone who has led unselfishly, it's James," Pearce said in the Mail on Sunday.
"He's got 46 Under 21 caps and managed to step up on to the senior stage and made that transition comfortably while having tournament football experience.
"That is the model we are looking for.
"If you're looking for me to put an example of a possible captain, an unselfish captain, that's why I'd use James."