Fabio Capello believes Manchester United teenager Phil Jones can follow the Jack Wilshere route straight into the England side.
Jones will be crossing his fingers on Sunday night for his first senior Three Lions call when Capello unveils his squad for next month's Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Wales.
"Jones is a talent like Wilshere," said Capello. "He is the player who has played well at every level. He always wants the ball. It is not easy to find a player who is so young that can play with so much confidence."
Twelve months ago, Wilshere missed out on the September internationals but Capello knew it was only a matter of time before the Arsenal midfielder gatecrashed the England party. And after watching Jones perform at the heart of United's defence against Tottenham on Monday, the England coach feels the Three Lions have another rare talent on their hands.
Sir Alex Ferguson has already made the point that sometimes, young players perform to such a high level, they make it impossible for a manager to leave them out.
England are fortunate in being blessed with a number of good central defenders. Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka and Michael Dawson have already caught the eye since the World Cup, John Terry and Rio Ferdinand have 149 caps between them. Yet Capello can see a day not too far from now where Jones is in the England team on merit.
"He could do it," said the Italian. "We need to wait because so far he has played one Premier League game and some minutes at Wembley but potentially he is a fantastic player."
As with Wilshere last season, the key is regular first-team football for his club.
"He needs to play more games with Manchester United," said Capello. "I remember when Wilshere started to play with Arsenal. First he did well, then better, better, better and after four months he was at the top. I understood he was ready to play with the national team.
"Jones is the same. We need to wait some games. For the friendly games that we play, if he is fit, if he is OK, I don't know if he will be OK for Montenegro or the next games. But the talent is incredible. And when you find the talent, you need to use it."
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