Jon Flanagan
Flanagan promised Under-21 call. Reuters

England Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate has promised Liverpool full back Jon Flanagan he will be part of his plans should he be overlooked for Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad.

Having been called upon to deputise for the injured Jose Enrique in November, Flanagan has enjoyed a remarkable campaign at left back having made the position his own in the Spaniard's absence.

The academy graduate's performances have seen his manager Brendan Rodgers call for his inclusion in the England squad travelling to Brazil for this summer's World Cup finals. But with Leighton Baines, Ashley Cole and Southampton teenager Luke Shaw all ahead of him in Hodgson's pecking order, he faces stern competition for a place.

Should Flanagan miss out, Southgate will immediately look to capitalise on his omission and hand him game time for England Under-21's series of friendlies this summer before they resume their European Championship qualifying campaign.

"I went to see Jon and Brendan (Rodgers) at Liverpool about a month ago, because I feel he deserves to be in our squad," Southgate told ITV Sport.

"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's Anfield career stalled after making his first senior appearance under Kenny Daglish over three years ago and last season he made just two appearances for the club in Rodgers' first campaign in charge.

His rapid progression this season however will see the 21-year-old rewarded with a new long term contract this summer, Rodgers confirmed earlier this year, and the Liverpool boss is content for his defender to remain solely focused on club matters.

"He [Southgate] has obviously got Jack Robinson at left-back and I think he has more or less kept the same squad for the Under-21s," the Liverpool manager said last month. "I think for young Jon it is more a case of focusing on his Liverpool career. That, first and foremost, is what he has craved over the last few years. He thought the opportunity might have passed him by but now he is grabbing it with both hands and doesn't want to let it go.

"You can see the hunger and his quality in his performances. We had another debrief of the United game this morning and you could see the quality in his one-touch passing. It was excellent."