England Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd wants Phil Foden to be judged at the end of his career despite the hype surrounding the midfielder.
The Manchester City man is in Boothroyd’s Young Lions squad for the first time ahead of Thursday’s Euro 2019 qualifier with Andorra in Chesterfield and Tuesday’s final qualifier in Scotland.
Foden, 18, has made five appearances for City this season, having played five times in last season’s title-winning campaign.
He is joined by newcomers Reiss Nelson and Harvey Barnes and Boothroyd is eager to avoid putting too much pressure on Foden.
“Phil, along with Jadon (Sancho) and some of our other lads, have a lot of hype around them and that is justified because they are good players,” he said.
“But I think the best time to judge players is at the end of their careers, not the beginning.
“I think where he is concerned for him to look back on his career having got 100 caps, and lots of goals and assists, would be great.
“We all need to make sure we give him the opportunity and space to develop into potentially a top player for his country.
“But right now he just needs a little bit more time in the Under-21s.”
Foden moved into the Under-21s – who need a point to qualify for Euro 2019 – from the Under-19s following James Maddison and Mason Mount’s senior call.
Leicester winger Demarai Gray is also out with an ankle injury which has given Foden the chance to impress Boothroyd.
He said: “Sometimes it’s about luck and a door opening. Yes there has been a clamour for Phil but he is at a great club with a great coach and surrounded by great team-mates. We just need for him to get some great game time now.
“It’s all about timing and you have to look at the situation. Look at Demarai Gray who has been excellent for us and this might have been the time for to go and prove a few things.
“But he got injured and now has to stick in there and come again.”