Writer: Gavin Kelley-Day
Date:Wednesday April 16 2014
Reds full-back Jon Flanagan is set to earn further international recognition this summer but will it be with the seniors or U21s?...
England U21 coach Gareth Southgate has signalled his intention to include Liverpool defender Jon Flanagan when he announces his latest squad next month.
The junior Three Lions face Wales in a European Championship qualifier on May 19, before heading to France for a friendly tournament that includes games against South American duo Brazil and Columbia.
However, such is the versatile young Scouser's fine recent form, there is a growing possibility that Flanagan could even earn a late World Cup call-up from senior boss Roy Hodgson.
In quotes published today by the Liverpool Echo, Southgate admitted: "I went to see Jon and Brendan at Liverpool about a month ago, because I feel he does deserve to be in our squad.
"He's one we'll be looking to involve in the summer, if of course he doesn't force his way into the seniors."
Flanagan, who already owns three U21 caps but has not figured since 2011, has made 19 league appearances for Liverpool so far this season, including starting the last 12 matches in a row.
The 21-year-old made his Reds first team bow back in April 2011 and scored his first goal in the 5-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur this past December.
Asked a couple of months ago whether Flanagan had the necessary ability to become a full-back at senior international level, Kop boss Brendan Rodgers replied: "Yes. And I think he's shown it.
"It [the World Cup] might come too soon for him this year. But there's absolutely no question he's got all the qualities to play in that position.
"...Roy will know as well as anyone the pressures of representing a club such as Liverpool."
There has also been speculation in recent times that new Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neil wants Flanagan to switch his allegiances to the Emerald Isle after learning of his eligibility through grandparents.
That appears unlikely but whatever the future holds on the international stage, Liverpool's No.38 remains focussed on helping his club, and in particular captain Steven Gerrard, lift a first ever Premier League title.
Following Sunday's 3-2 win over title rivals Manchester City, the Merseysiders know wins in each of their remaining four fixtures will guarantee the championship is Anfield bound.
"We haven't achieved anything yet and we all know that. Man City is gone and it's about the next game," commented Flanagan.
"Steven has been phenomenal. He has carried this club for years and he deserves this more than anyone.
"All the lads are doing it for themselves but especially for Stevie as well.
"We have to stay focused and prepare for Norwich.
"There are still another four games to be won and we can't allow things to slip. We need to keep going like this right to the end."
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Date:Wednesday April 16 2014
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