Roy Hodgson has revealed that a discussion with one of his former coaches from his time at West Bromwich Albion has helped progress the career of defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka as the Academy graduate prepares this week to meet up with the England Under 20 squad.
Aaron will be in contention for a place against Poland and Portugal after breaking into the Palace first team with Saturday’s game at Huddersfield Town being his fourth Premier League appearance.
He has already won an U20 cap for the Democratic Republic of Congo against England but now gets a call up in Keith Downing's squad and the boss of the youngsters is someone Hodgson has spoken to about the 20 year old.
“Keith Downing, the manager of the England Under-20s, was one of my assistant coaches at WBA. He spoke to me a little while ago when Aaron got into the team, and asked about him, and of course I was able to say that I think he's good and we think he has an important future. In these games Keith's now playing he's allowed to use a couple of over-age players.
“I was able to reassure Keith he wasn't making a mistake in choosing him in his squad. It'll be interesting for him to have a look at him; we're happy with that, of course, because he's come from our academy, broken into the first team, and done well in very difficult games. This is recognition for him, and for the club. It's really pleasing when a player like that gets from the academy into the first-team training group, gets a place in the first team, and then gets selected for any England team, that's a tremendous boost for us all. I'm delighted for him and I think he'll do very well,“ said Hodgson as he added that the fact that Aaron has already appeared in the top flight will certainly be an added advantage.
“What helped his chances of getting a call-up was getting into the first team, and if you're an Under-20 player, a lot of Keith's group won't be playing in first teams in the Premier League, so any Under-20 player who breaks into a PL team and then does well is always going to be looked at by the national team coaches because they're going to be thinking 'If he's good enough to get into that team and keep out competition from other players, he must be quite good'. And if they go and see him play, as I know Keith would have done, that should make it quite easy to make his decision, which he can back up by speaking to me because we know each other so well."