Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson was always confident Tottenham’s young England lions Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Eric Dier could develop into key men for both club and country.
Hodgson is set to come up against some of the players he worked with closely as national team boss when Spurs head to Selhurst Park for Saturday’s 5:30pm televised Premier League clash.
The 71-year-old was in charge of England from 2012 until after the Euro 2016 exit to Iceland. Hodgson is glad to see some of the talents he helped bring through the international set-up going on to take their game to another level.
“I have got a lot of pleasure these last few years from seeing these players make progress,” the Palace manager said.
“I always believed the group was capable of going on to bigger and better things, because they get better, they get stronger and more mature and get more game time, and that is exactly what is happening.
“People are now raving about Raheem Sterling six years on, and he was showing a lot of talent in 2012, as was the case with people like (Danny) Welbeck, (Alex) Oxlade-Chamberlain and a whole host of other players.
“But of course, to really become a top-class England international, to become a Wayne Rooney or Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard or Ashley Cole, guys who have more than 100 caps, you have to get games behind you.
“For a long period of time that wasn’t the case and these talented players weren’t always playing for their teams. Now they are and not only that, they are getting rave reviews for their teams.
“That’s (Danny) Rose, (Kyle) Walker, (Eric) Dier, (Harry) Kane, (Dele) Alli, all these guys who were brought in back then, they are getting that.”
Hodgson believes young English players are now enjoying the benefits of the continued drive for sustained success in the Premier League.
“The young players are getting more technical, they are maturing, but the whole standard is getting stronger,” said Hodgson, who also had spells in charge at Fulham, Liverpool and West Brom before taking on the England job.
“It is good to see there are so many young players coming through, and that so many are English.
“We are getting the results now with the national teams outside of the senior team and part of that is they are playing now.”
Palace remain without a Premier League win since September 15.
Hodgson, though, has taken encouragement from a battling 2-2 home draw against Arsenal and also from the effort shown in defeat away to high-flying Chelsea.
“If we are to get positive results, it will be because we are giving good performances and restricting the opponent in terms of chances and their ability to score goals against us, while we ourselves are posing a threat,” he said at a press conference reported by the club.
“In the last two games, I have seen that and we have to keep going.”