England's decision to move on from James Anderson was made with the aim of preparing a new generation of bowlers for the next Ashes series, says Ben Stokes.

Anderson – England's all-time leading wicket-taker with 700 in 187 red-ball matches – will play his final Test against West Indies at Lord's this week.

The 41-year-old is not going out on his own terms, insisting on Monday that he is bowling as well as he ever has but saying he has been forced to "make peace" with the decision.

Gus Atkinson will make his Test debut against the Windies, while Dillon Pennington and Matthew Potts are competing to replace Anderson when the three-match series moves to Nottingham.

England's revamp of their bowling attack comes after they failed to reclaim the Ashes on home soil last year, drawing a rain-affected series 2-2.

They head down under for the next edition in 2025-26, and Stokes says they will use the intervening time to blood a new generation of talent.

"You look at how long it's been since we've played a Test match, I think it's been five months," England's red-ball captain told reporters on Tuesday.

"When you have a lot of time off, you've got a lot of time to think about how you can take the team forward.

"I've been captain for two years, so it's about progressing this team. Especially for the first two years, we've been very focused on the here and now of what we need to do.

"But for me, I want to be able to implement stuff to push this team as far as they can go, not only as a collective but also as individuals.

"If you look at where we've got to go in 18 months' time, to Australia… we want to win that urn back.

"We've got an incredibly talented and exciting group of bowlers coming through at the moment, so giving them the experience of playing international cricket, getting Test matches under their belt, will put us in a much stronger position to win the Ashes."

Anderson's farewell comes at a venue where he has taken 119 Test wickets, the second-most of any player at a particular venue after Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo (166).

"He's an amazing bowler. There's no doubt that he could still go out there and play Test cricket, because he is good enough," Stokes said of Anderson.

"But when we spoke with Jimmy, we laid it out with him and gave him our reasons, and he totally understood it.

"This week will all be about Jimmy, and rightly so, but I can tell you his main focus is about going out there, taking wickets and trying to win this game for England."