Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes his young players can follow Juan Mata's example and use the European Under-21 Championships as a platform for future successes for club and country.

Anfield boys Jordan Henderson, Jonjo Shelvey, Andre Wisdom and Jack Robinson are all in England's Young Lions squad for this summer's Euros in Israel, who play their first group stage game against Italy on June 5th.

Rodgers reckons that they can learn from the Chelsea playmaker, now 25, who recovered from being dropped into Spain's under-21 squad in 2011 and the Olympic team at London 2012 to find his best playing form.

The Northern Irishman told reporters: "It’s great for Jordan, Jonjo, Andre and Jack to be part of it. I always think going to big championships like that is great for their learning. All these football experiences are good for them.

"Obviously there needs to be a balance in terms of the demands placed on them," Brendan Rodgers continued, "but I look upon it as a real positive that we have had four players called up. Look at someone like Juan Mata.

"Two years ago he dropped down from the senior Spain squad to the U21s and helped them win the tournament.

"A year later he was part of the team who won Euro 2012 and then last summer he went off to the Olympics."

The former Chelsea youth coach explained: "Major tournaments can be really beneficial in terms of helping players in their development. If our four players get that experience then they will come back to us as better players.”

Stuart Pearce's side - which also includes Manchester United's Wilfried Zaha and Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland - face Italy, Norway and Israel in the preliminary round, while Spain the favourites for the tournament.

 

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