Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill says he can see his England U21 stars maturing as a group in the coming years.
Accepting that you have to buy big to challenge the upper end of the Barclays Premier League, O'Neill is also nurturing the likes of Luke Moore, Craig Gardner, Gary Cahill and Isaiah Osbourne with an eye on the longer term. Young Englishmen all. Scott Carson, on loan from Liverpool, underlines the emerging trend at Villa Park.
"This is the Barclays English Premier League," O'Neill said. "We've got a lot of young lads who know each other and, more importantly, have very decent talent. If there were good-quality players from abroad available, I wouldn't have a major problem with that, but I am happy to have an English core for the English Premiership. The idea at the football club is that these players could gel together and, because of the age they're at, eventually peak together."