YOU can’t win anything with kids, as Alan Hansen once memorably observed, oblivious to the fact that Manchester United’s Class of ’92 was no ordinary school group.

The Scotland centre half ended up with egg on his face back then but there were plenty of harbingers of doom expanding on a variation of the theme when Gareth Southgate named a rather callow, inexperienced-looking 23-man squad yesterday for this summer’s showpiece in Russia.

If the Scottish public has fallen out of love with its national men’s team in recent months, the relationship between English sporting public, and perhaps some of their media, is even more complicated right now.

Read more: Celtic defender Kieran Tierney "flattered" by Atletico Madrid interest but says he could be a Celt for life

It wasn’t so long ago, when their self-styled golden generation was doing the rounds, that hubris was England’s perennial problem.

But rather than a biennial yearning for a re-run of 1966, in truth there is a realisation south of the border now that the days of Steven Gerrard, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen, Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand have gone. The English top flight may or may not be the best in the world. But not so many of their top stars are English.

When I watched England tumble out of Euro 2016 to Iceland in the most embarrassing manner in the Wimbledon press bar two summers back, there was no anger about national humiliation, merely laughter and shrugs of shoulders that they had sunk so low. And judging by social media - admittedly a rather bad sign – England expects very little again this summer. They have been burned too often.

Some of the criticisms of the squad, it should be said, are fair enough. It is, admittedly, hardly ideal to go to such a forbidding environment with three goalkeepers, Jack Butland of Stoke, Jordan Pickford of Everton and Nick Pope of Burnley, who have just nine international caps between them.

Read more: Rangers the only place Allan McGregor wanted to go as he seals dream Ibrox return

Likewise, with Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere omitted from the 23-man group, it is fair to say that they appear a little bit short of genuine guile and craft in that central area, a situation which could prove critical as they endeavour to break down the likes of Tunisia and Panama in their opening two group matches in order to avoid having to go into the meeting with Belgium still needing something to progress.

That there have been more talented England groups in the past there is no doubt.

But in one sense, in his decision to throw his lot in with youth, Gareth Southgate can’t really lose. The world has seen enough of Joe Hart – not least those two Leigh Griffiths’ free kicks last June – to know that he isn’t going to be lead them to World Cup glory.

Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool might be described as raw when it comes to his defensive abilities, if not those barnstorming attacking overlaps, but caps or no caps, at 19 years old and about to start in a Champions League final, he deserves to be on the plane.

Read more: Andy Rose ready to top his American Dream for Motherwell

Harry Kane aside, the squad may be lacking in genuine star quality. But what they miss out on from Wilshere’s absence in terms of finding cute passes and angles, the likes of Dele Alli, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Raheem Sterling and Ruben Loftus-Cheek more than make up for in pace, strength and enthusiasm.

Any Scots hoping for the solace of our southerly neighbours collapsing spectacularly to earth should look closer to home. In truth, while this current England group will keep their opponents honest, this probably isn’t their year - the likes of Germany, France, Spain, Brazil, Belgium or Argentina look far more convincing winners. But the FA are now playing the long game and there is a succession plan in place.

None of the team which won the global showpiece at Under-20 level last summer have made this group, but Lewis Cook of Bournemouth – who started 25 matches last season – is on the standby list, while tour others, including Ainsley Maitland-Niles of Arsenal, Dominic Solanke of Liverpool and Dominic Calvert-Lewin and JohnJoe Kenny of Everton, made more than 15 appearances in the English top flight too. Even among the multi-millionaires of Manchester City. Pep Guardiola lets Phil Foden of the leash every so often. England won’t win the World Cup this time either. But they are at least building the foundations.