Protect the pyramid at all costs! So goes the cry. The need to reinforce the historic structure of the English game was emphasised this week after the naming of the Three Lions’ 33-man provisional squad for Euro 2024.

Gareth Southgate’s training group included a number of players who’d come through the divisions, and three who had started in Carlisle United’s academy.

The EFL was quick with one of its graphics promoting the statistics of those England call-ups who’d played at its levels. The leading football journalist Henry Winter also namechecked Carlisle as the starting ground for Jarrad Branthwaite, Dean Henderson and James Trafford.

And quite rightly so. Winter’s tweet was liked, shared, reposted, approved. Not a word of it met reasonable argument.

A reply beneath it came from Carlisle’s chief executive Nigel Clibbens, noting a recent academy intake event which had been attended by goalkeeper Trafford, who had helped to highlight the potential pathway from places like United to the top. “That’s what the pyramid does,” he added.

Indeed so. Yet the widespread picking up of swords and shields to defend the pyramid was also needed when the Premier League was barging its way into the EFL’s lower-league cup competition eight years ago.

For money which we were told we had better not refuse, the inclusion of top-flight Under-21 teams in the EFL Trophy has helped normalise the idea that the lower rungs of the professional game exist to serve the elite before anything else.

At executive level, the move prompted debate then solemn agreement, rather than the kind of anger, real or performative, we’ve seen from some in light of the recent FA Cup replay abolition.

That was never just about one competition, but the pyramid itself and the standing of clubs within it. Its more recent consequences include the arrogant abolition of FA Cup replays ("virtually nil chance" of reversing that, we're told) and all the tactics around the idea of an independent regulator which, conveniently enough, has now been volleyed into the long grass.

The eureka moment about protecting the pyramid shouldn’t be lighting up brains now. It came along some time back.