WILKO DEFENDS UNDER-21 RECORD
By Peter O`Rourke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The former Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday boss has come in for a lot of criticism for his recent record of four defeats in 11 games with the Under-21s including an embarassing 4-0 defeat to Spain last month.
Wilkinson has struggled to reproduce the results of his successful predecessor Peter Taylor at Under-21 level but Wilkinson insists that he is succeeding in what he set out to do.
"If you are running football teams you could argue that your future is always in doubt," said Wilkinson.
"I've been here four years and I'm in charge of all the development teams from the Under-21s right down to the under-15s. We think we've been successful at the moment because we've probably got the youngest senior squad of the senior countries anywhere in the world.
"That is our aim - to produce internationals for the senior squad - and at the moment we are being very successful at that," added Wilkinson.
One player that Wilkinson expects to make the step up to the senior side soon is Manchester United winger Luke Chadwick.
The 20-year-old has made the breakthrough at Old Trafford this term making 16 appearances including six starts and he has scored twice.
"I think a good example of what we are all about and of the need to look after talent is Chadwick," said Wilkinson.
"I spotted him in the Under-18s and I thought there is something we are losing, and Alex thought the same. You can see the similarities in what I have been doing and what Alex has done with him.
"But he is a good example of the need, even in the England set-up, for us to be picking players based on how far we think they can go, not necessarily how good they appear at the time," added Wilkinson.