Good news for England future
An embarrassing climbdown? A victory for common sense? Or a calendar mix-up now resolved?
Whatever. The news that England will be sending a strong squad to the Under-19 European Championship in France is undeniably a good thing. It is also an indication that maybe, just maybe, we might have learned something from events in South Africa.
Confirmation of this encouraging development will come later this week when England U19 coach Noel Blake announces a squad that should be close to full strength.
The former Exeter City manager is losing his three best players (Blackburn's Phil Jones, Everton's Jack Rodwell and Jack Wilshere of Arsenal) to Stuart Pearce's U21s but he will not be too despondent, given the threat of widespread unavailability from his Premier League contingent.
That threat vanished, however, as the clubs watched the fallout from England's World Cup misadventures and decided perhaps now was not the best time to be on the wrong side of a club v country row. So what was brewing up to be a PR storm for the perfidious plutocrats of the Premier League has been transformed into a textbook example of good international relations.
England U19 coach Noel Blake will travel to Normandy with high hopes of success
Some credit here should go to Harry Redknapp. With up to six of his young charges in line for a call-up, Spurs had by far the most to lose in terms of interruption to their pre-season plans, hence their reported reluctance to release players.
Redknapp was in South Africa on BBC duty, so he probably did not need a call last week from Sir Trevor Brooking, the Football Association's director of football development, to persuade him of the importance of age-group competition but he got one anyway and it certainly didn't hurt.
With the Spurs six back in play (four are likely to make the squad), it seems other clubs quickly made their good young 'uns available too - Aston Villa's Nathan Delfouneso, Manchester United's Reece (brother of Wes) Brown and Chelsea midfielder Jacob Mellis should all be on duty when England line up to meet Austria in their opener in Flers on 18 July.
This is a far cry from last summer when Spurs blocked Danny Rose's participation and Crystal Palace would not let Victor Moses go. This followed the high-profile withdrawal of David Bentley from the U21s a year before, and the unfortunate harrumphing that surrounded Theo Walcott's decision to make himself available for U21 and senior action.
Good. Because England needs to start taking age-group football much more seriously.
Half of the German team we are currently raving about at the World Cup cut their tournament teeth whilst winning the U17, U19 and U21 titles in Europe, and Spain's transformation from dysfunctional under-achievers to potential world-beaters can be traced back to a glittering recent record in these competitions.
England's record, on the other hand, has been more in keeping with our 44-year hurt at senior level, although there are signs of progress of late.
Last year's U19 vintage lost in the European final to Ukraine, whilst the U21s ran into that fine German group in their final and also lost (we now know that a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Thomas Muller and Mesut Ozil is nothing to be ashamed of). It was the second year in succession the U21s had finished runners-up in that competition.
England beat Spain to win the European U17 title in May
These near-misses were finally converted to victory this May when John Peacock's U17 team beat Spain 2-1 to end a 17-year wait for English success at any level. It was a triumph that probably didn't get the credit it deserved - the country can only deal with one golden generation at a time - as Peacock's players won all 11 of their games going back to qualification, scoring 32 and conceding only six.
Unfortunately, we are probably going to hear more about the likes of Ipswich striker Conor Wickham and Chelsea defender Nathanial Chalobah than their clubs and the FA would like over the next year or two, but expectation is part and parcel of being an England player. What's different about this lot is their all-round ability.
"We've had some good groups before," Brooking told me. "But this is the first team we have had when all 10 outfield players could play proper possession football.
"Too often in the past the good teams have been able to identify the weak links in our team, the players who will play the long ball or just give it away under pressure. But this group has quality and depth."
Listening to the former West Ham maestro talk like this about young players is one of the most frustrating aspects of the current debate about England's malaise. We do have decent players and we have got administrators who recognise what is needed to help them flourish: getting them together is the problem.
Brooking, who has been the FA's development chief for seven years, published his most recent plan, the Future Game document, just before the World Cup. His challenge will be to make sure this does more than gather dust in academies and centres of excellence up and down the land.
In it he outlines his belief that English football must close the coaching gap with its main rivals, invest far more in youth development and develop a coherent style of play throughout the academy system. He also raises the pertinent question of where the U17 stars will get their first-team experience.
These issues, and many more, have to be part of the post-World Cup debate.
In the meantime, I intend to enjoy England's attempt to claim a first European U19 title since 1993. It would be a small step towards our stated goal of World Cup glory but a step forward nonetheless. And Germany didn't qualify.