THE SKY Blues and Tony Mowbray have been praised by England’s Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate for the part they play in helping young English players develop as footballers.
Three England youth players are currently on loan at the Ricoh Arena, with Adam Armstrong, Ryan Kent and Bryn Morris all making an impact at League One level.
Mowbray has undoubtedly been a big factor in attracting the young Lions to the club through his notorious brand of attacking football.
And Southgate hopes they can help push the Sky Blues back up the football ladder.
“You want teams to be playing in the way that Tony plays and having success because you want the good guys to do well,” Southgate told the Observer.
“Our paths never crossed at Middlesbrough but we have met each other several times and had good conversations.
“His principals and the way he wants to play, the way he looks after young players from a national team perspective is really helpful.
“There’s a point at which development football can only take them (young players) so far and the next stage is important.
“It’s an important part of the development. They need to get used to playing under pressure and playing in front of a crowd, playing with and against men.
“Then you want them to be at a club that are playing in a manner that’s going to develop them as well and Tony (Mowbray) has always done that. This is a great place for young players to come and play.”
Armstrong in particular has been in lethal form since joining from Newcastle in the summer having scored six goals in eight appearances so far this season.
Former Sky Blues boss Aidy Boothroyd, who now coaches England Under-19s, has been keeping close tabs on the 18-year-old having watched him several times at the Ricoh this season.
And although Southgate admits all three players are firmly on his radar, he admits they are not quite ready to make the step up to Under-21 level.
“They’re all players that we like but we don’t really fast track players until they’re ready to start.
“They’re all players that we’re aware of and monitor and they’re at a good place with Tony (Mowbray) and Jamie Clapham working with them.
“But at the moment we wouldn’t look to fast track them too soon – there’s no rush, we’ll let them develop at the right speed.
“Armstrong in particular of course is a player we really like. We’ve been keeping a close eye on Armstrong.
“He played in our under-17s when they won the Europeans two years ago and he’s had an outstanding start here.
“It’s important for him to get first team football but also it’s working very well for Coventry so it’s nice when the relationship is positive for both sides.”
Southgate also had kind words to say about former Sky Blues striker Callum Wilson.
The 23-year-old scored 22 goals in 41 appearances under Steven Pressley during the 2013/14 season and his form earned him a move to Bournemouth where he helped fire the Cherries to the Premier League.
Wilson continued his goalscoring exploits in the top flight having scored five goals so far but his campaign has been cut short due to a knee injury and Southgate hopes the young striker can make a swift return to action.
He added: “Callum (Wilson) had just one game with us back in November last year and then through fitness couldn’t join us through March of May.
“He’s too old for our age group now but I really enjoyed working with him. He’s got a good personality and he’s got a real hunger to go and achieve so I’m not surprised by the way he’s started this season.
“It’s a great shame for him and for Bournemouth that he’s picked up the serious injury that he has.”