Roy Hodgson told his emerging generation of players that despite the 5-0 mauling of San Marino in their 2014 World Cup qualifier last Friday they face a battle to displace the senior players for a crucial World Cup qualifier against Poland on Tuesday.
Hodgson will bring back Liverpool's Steven Gerrard as captain after he was suspended for last Friday's tie, while Glen Johnson, Joleon Lescott, Ashley Cole, James Milner and Jermain Defoe are all in contention despite being overlooked at Wembley.
Certainly the likes of Manchester United's Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck (who scored twice against San Marino) plus Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (who scored the first England senior goal of his career) have impressed in recent matches.
Wayne Rooney too looked an able captain in Gerrard's absence.
But Hodgson is not quite ready to turn to youth on a permanent basis judging by his answer in a press conference on Monday when asked what England's up-and-coming stars had to do to win permanent places in his team.
"First of all, if they're going to take over they have to play very well," he said.
"Some of the experienced players we have are still young and keen to carry on playing at this level.
"So they have to be better than the ones who have been doing the job, those who are in their late 20s or early 30s.
"But it's nice to see England producing players who will continue to improve, have talent, and will continue to mature.
"It's very good that the players who came in against San Marino who weren't considered first-choice played so well. That gives you more of a selection headache, but one we're after."
Hodgson is anxious, too, that his team do not underestimate a Polish side who are likely to be highly motivated on their home field.
"We're expecting a very tough game," he said.
"At this level, you're a fool if you expect an easy game. San Marino find it difficult to win matches, but it's not the case for Poland and the other teams in our group.
"Tuesday will be a test for us, but we'll be prepared and will be able to play at the level we want to play at.
"We have to remember it's an important moment for Poland, a good opponent; and they want to get their own qualifying campaign off to a good start."
Gerrard, who will win his 99th cap, agreed with Hodgson over the younger players.
"They're talents, they're all different." he said.
"It's great we're producing these players.
"They're the players who are keeping the likes of myself on my toes. I've got to keep a level of consistency if I want to stay in the team. There's a good balance in the team and hopefully we can keep that going.
"But we know this match will be very tough. These are the games you look forward to, a good test for me personally and for the team."
England right-back Kyle Walker was left out of training on Monday in a bid to protect a slight calf injury; but he is expected to be available for selection regardless.
Hodgson is likely to recall their clubmate Ashley Cole for his 99th international cap despite the left-back facing disciplinary action for criticising The FA in a Tweet last week that included bad language.
Hodgson needs Cole because Poland will pose a greater threat to his side than San Marino; especially with in-form striker Robert Lewandowski - who enjoyed a personal duel with England goalkeeper Joe Hart when he played for Borussia Dortmund at Manchester City in the Champions League recently - in contention to play.
"Joe came out on top in that one, even if Lewandowski played well," Hodgson said.
"We know how dangerous he can be. But it'll be down to the whole team ahead of Joe to be solid defensively. It's going to be a good game, a big crowd, a good atmosphere, an important game in our qualifying group."