Respect your elders
Experienced heads can help us qualify, says Wilkins
Last Updated: June 28, 2012 4:12pm
Old guard: Terry, Lampard and Cole can help us qualify, says Wilkins
Ray Wilkins has warned England not to make drastic changes to their squad ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.
"We're away in Moldova for our first qualification game, which isn't too pleasant a place for young guys to go out there and make their debuts."
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Following the Three Lions' quarter-final exit to Italy at Euro 2012 there have been calls for boss Roy Hodgson to clear out the old guard and begin the 2014 World Cup campaign with a squad made up of the next generation of England players.
However, former England midfielder Wilkins told Sky Sports News the older, more experienced players should not be undervalued.
"We have to qualify for the World Cup," he said.
"Don't be throwing out six or seven older players and bringing in six or seven young men - we have to use all the older players as long as we possibly can.
"Frank Lampard, for instance, is a goal scorer. You can bring Frank off the bench and he'll score a goal. His record is proven and we need players like that. If that means Frank plays the first year of qualification and then we phase him out, fine. So long as we're there in Brazil, Frank won't mind.
"We have to get there and don't need to be too radical, especially if these older players are performing at the start of the season.
"We're away in Moldova for our first qualification game, which isn't too pleasant a place for young guys to go out there and make their debuts. It's the sort of place where you need experienced heads to get hold of the game so we can win the game comfortably."
Wilkins also challenged the next generation of England players to stand up and perform for their clubs and force their way into the national team.
"Let's see the younger men step up," he said.
"We keep saying we need to get rid of this one, that one and the other one. But who's going to take their place?
"These young men have got to start playing and step forward and become the next generation of England players."