The Future of the England National Team
New Nike England Kit Released
ENG vs MON LINEUP 26/03/13
1. Joe Hart,
2. Glen Johnson,
3. Ashley Cole,
4. Steven Gerrard (c),
5. Joleon Lescott,
6. Chris Smalling,
7. James Milner,
8. Michael Carrick,
9. Danny Welbeck,
10. Wayne Rooney,
11. Tom Cleverley.
I have heard some claims that England don't have any youth coming through to replace the golden generation that will one day have to retire, so here i look at some of the possibilities of a future England National team and the kinda complexion that it is likely to have, based on current progression within the English Youth setup and development, however you deem the strength and potential of this team is up to you but one way or another, it is looking likely that these are the players who will carry the hopes of the nation into future tournaments.
At only 25 years old, a Goalkeeper can typically play for a minimum of another 10 years, that should see Joe through another 5 competitions with England and should he last as long as Brad Friedel may even play into his 40's. Joe has already staked his place firmly as the England Nr1, as a painful search for a replacement for David Seaman appears to have come to an end. Everyone seems unanimous that he is the best keeper we have and shows every signs of getting even better and better and establishing himself as potentially the best Goalkeeper in the world, what a blessing it is to have Joe Hart within our ranks. The only thing that could derail Joe Hart, is the potential of a new contender coming through and at the moment that looks like Jack Butland, will Joe fight off the competition and remain Nr1 for years to come?
Well like they say, its like buses, you wait for ages for 1 to show up and then 2 come at once, England had a huge Goalkeeping dilema for years and didn't appear to have a very good batch to chose from and no likely contender to step up to the plate, it was a real concern for the nation, as we failed to even qualify for Euro 2008 after a goalkeeping error from Scott Carson and Rob Greens red card vs Ukraine and his blunder vs USA in the 2010 South Africa World cup, didn't help alleviate fears that we may never get a good Goalkeeper again, the likes of Banks, Bennett, Seaman and Shilton.
First emerged Joe Hart and now theres a new kid on the block, Jack Butland is only 18 years old, if that already isn't young for an outfield player, for a Goalie that's extremely young, as they tend to peak much later than outfield players, but what a prospect he already looks and he was given his opportunity to showcase himself in the London 2012 Olympics and pulled off some cracking saves and cannot be faulted for our overall exit, nobody was unhappy with Joe Hart but you did have to wonder, if Jack is this good at 18.... hell he MAY even be better than Joe Hart at 25, we could find ourselves spoilt for choice!
Who Will Become England's Key Number 1
At 27 years old, Leighton Baines may not strictly be considered young but he has spent his whole career behind Ashley Cole in the pecking order, but Ashley is now 31 and so has 4 years on Leighton, therefore he will concievably retire earlier than Baines and this may provide the best opportunity Baines has ever had to become first team for England, for 1 or 2 tournaments at least and will likely to be one of the senior players in the squad by that point.
Baines is really knocking down the door very strongly and is even presenting himself as a potential replacement for Ashley Cole already, if he keeps performing the way he does, people are gonna have to start wondering at what point he over takes the highly rated World class fullback Ashley Cole.
Baines has a greater attacking presence and is much more likely to score, England went multiple years without scoring from a direct freekick after Beckhams omission from the team, however Leighton Baines scored the first since in their 2012 World Cup Qualifier vs Moldova.
Is still only 20 years old, despite being heavily involved in the Manchester United first team last year, hes big strong and versatile, being able to play at Centre Back, Right Back and Centre midfield, where he will settle will be seen, but expect to see him in the squad in some shape or form, filling in plugs here and there as a utility man, a great player to have within the squad, which gives the manager a lot of freedom and cover for positions.
He Went off the boil a little towards the end of the season but lets not forget the manor in which he began his Manchester United career, drawing rave reviews from pundits, lets hope he can recapture his initial form and get involved within the England setup again.
Similar journey into the England team as Phil Jones, both began their Manchester United career in remarkably good form, they surprised pundits and fans alike, when they showed great composure and maturity in slotting into the first team, at such a young age.
Smalling has also been asked to slot into Right Back at times and have proven to be very competent there in terms of defensive positions and is very strong in the air, where he falls down is in going forward but lets not forget, his natural position IS Centre back and with the advancing ages of Jagielka, Lescott and Terry, don't be surprised to see this 22 year old in the England team for years to come.
Gary is only 26 years of age and is learning quickly from the former England captain John Terry and forging a well trusted partnership with him at both club and country level. Cahill has a good knack of scoring goals from Centre back and has a better long range shot than most Attacking players could ever dream of and is always a threat from a set-piece. Defensively he has never really shown any errors, which is surely testamant to not making many. He seems to play Football with a smile on his face and be a good character around the camp, unlike many of the other Centre Back's in the first team squad at the moment, Cahill is still relatively young and so looks set to become the older figure to Smalling and Jones in future England campaigns.
Cahill was very unfortunate to be ruled out of Euro 2012 squad, with a broken jaw sustained in the friendly for England vs Belgium only 1 week before the start of the tournament. Momentum was carrying Cahill well up until that point, as the High profile transfer move to Chelsea was followed up with a Champions League winners medal and he looked certain to partner Terry at the heart of the England defence, a setup which had been well tried and tested and had proven positive results at both club and country level.
The 22 Year old England Right Back, is already considered by many to be Englands best option in the RB position. He looked set to take his throne in the Euro 2012 campaign, however an injury to his foot just weeks before ruled him out of the campaign, much to the relief of Glenn Johnson.
Walker has enjoyed a very good season with Tottenham this year and his lightening fast pace helps him to get back into position and track runs effectively. He is a complete goal threat going forward and frequently provides the overlap option for his winger, as we saw when he partnered with Theo Walcott in the International friendly vs Sweden, he is quite adept to cutting inside and unleashing a ferocious shot with his favored foot, as we saw many times for Tottenham last season.
Being 6 years the junior of Glenn Johnson, Kyle Walker stands to become the England first choice Right Back in the future, just how soon he replaces Glenn Johnson is yet to be seen, it will be good that both offer competition to each other, to push them to the limits of their potential.
Bertrand is only 23 years of age but has a Champions League winners medal to his name already, where he spectacularily got his ECL debut in the final of all games, quite a big ask of a player and he rose to the occasion and can be proud of his input.
By trade he is a Left back but is clever enough to offer himself up as a Utility man to manager Roberto Di'Matteo and if not for this, wouldn't have gotten his chance to star in the 2012 ECL final vs Bayern Munich. This triumph earnt him a callup for Stuart Pearces 2012 London Olympic Team, where he enjoyed some regular playing time and once again did what was asked of him. Di'Matteo appears to have stuck with Ryan in the 2012-2013 season and repaid his loyalty by giving him some run outs still and Ryan has already a goal to his name in the campaign, after showing great hunger to get to a loose ball to slot home. The left side position in the England team has never properly been filled and Bertrand has an opportunity to slot in there from time to time, provide cover for it and maybe even stake a claim as a first team player there, unless he fancies battling it out for Leighton Baines for the grave of Ashely cole at LB in a couple years to come.
Who Will be Englands Star Defender In The Future
Jack began his England career with an explosion of media hype, he had been playing nicely for Arsenal for a while, earning playing time despite the young age of 18 and seemed to embody the Arsenal spirit of pass and move possession Football, something which the England National team was crying out for amidst the post 2010 World cup, where players of that mould had dominated the tournament, in the form of Iniesta and Xavi, here we seemed to have a player brought up and educated in the same vein.
When Jack got his first games for England, he did not waste the opportunity and shone for all to see, he showed great hunger and determination and England simply looked like a classier outfit with him involved and he was already being hailed as the future star of the England team and filled people with hope for the future. Unfortunately Wilshires involvement within the first team at such a young age, appears to have taken its toll, as he endured injury after injury, which completely ruled him out of the Euro 2012 campaign, much to the dismay of the England fans.
Lets not forget that we have such a hidden talent, that is yet to fully establish himself, we can only hope that he proves to be the next Xavi or Fabregas, as he stands to gain some first rate attacking tuition from the professor... Arsene Wenger.
The Manchester United Midfielder has had a great year all in all, after returning from expansive loan spells, he returned to Manchester United and worked even harder to apply himself in training and put himself in contention for a starting space, he was helped by the fact that Manchester United were thin across the ground within that position. He was given a start for the 2011-2012 Community shield and was one of the best players on the park.
Cleverley continued this through the first half of the season and suddenly people began to take a second look at him and wonder just how far he could go. Sir Alex Ferguson certainly held him with high regard and trusted him to hold down the middle of the field and gave repeated glowing reviews about him to the press, United were crying out for somebody to take up the mantle of Paul Scholes in the midfield before the United legend truelly did have to retire.
His initial momentum was chopped down in its stride, as he was hit for an ankle injury which kept him out of several games, when he returned, he slowly got back to form just in time to be chosen for Stuart Pearce's London 2012 Olympic Football Squad, where Cleverley proved to be a key squad member, linking up very well with Allen and Ramsey in the middle of the park and together they showed a great passing and moving game, where Tom proved to be very comfortable on the ball and quite capable of pushing up and being an attacking threat just behind the strikers. The whole experience appears to have benefited Tom greatly and he seems to maturing at a nice rate.
He began the 2012-2013 EPL with regular starts for Manchester United and this earnt him a start for England in their World Cup Qualifier vs Modolva, where Tom once again can be very proud of his contributions, earning England a penalty within the first 3 minutes and maintaining possesion well, something which England have been greatly lacking in recent years, Tom could be the much needed player that England have missed and looks set to establish himself and grow in potential, he has already grown greatly in stature and composure with his experience last year and lets hope it may continue.
Or as he is known 'The Ox', is now 19 years old and continues to prove to be somewhat of a Wonderkid. He is capable of playing either left or right wings and can be deployed as a forward player.
He became the 2nd youngest player ever to represent England in a European Championship, with his selection against France in the opening fixture, where he proved to be a breathe of fresh air but his direct exciting style, was perhaps not quite the game plan Manager Roy Hodgson had in mind and despite a great first game, was only used in dribs and drabs as a late sub, for the rest of the tournament, something that was debatably an error on Hodgsons behalf. He was since been called to start against Moldova in the World Cup Qualifier and once again was a constant threat to the opposition defense, showing great pace and strength, which has earnt himself his nickname and looks a real breathe of fresh air whenever he plays, a potential star in the making.
The Ox followed the path which Theo Walcott had previously lain, he started at Southampton and got his debut vs Huddersfield in a 5-0 victory and was the 2nd youngest player to start from them behind none other than Walcott, he then continued this comparison by switching to Arsenal for an initial fee of £12,000,000, where he opened his account by scoring 2 goals within in his first 3 games, he has led fans to even wonder if he is perhaps like Walcott, but a much more rounded player, as he has greater horizontal dribbling ability, is more versatile and has much greater strength on and off the ball.
Theo Walcott has been surrounded by great Hype from day 1, he became the youngest player ever to represent Southampton and his performances and potential earnt him a big transfer to the Premierleague giants and when he gained a callup to Sven Goren Erikson's England team for the 2006 World Cup, everybody would have been forgiven for thinking that this was a World Class star in the making.
The truth is that his rise within the game, has been a little more stop and start and frustrating than that, despite being in the squad for the 2006 World Cup, he failed to get any game time, something which Sven was greatly critisized for, many felt that our prospects would have been much greater with the young Wonderkid in the team. He showed remarkable pace and his direct approach was refreshing.
On the 10th of September 2008, Walcott had his finest outing in his proffesional career by far, on the back of intense speculation as to whether he should have started in the 2006 World Cup campaign, Walcott went and scored a hattrick against Croatia, the youngest player in history to score an England hattrick. Despite this and establishing himself as a first team regular for Arsenal, in 2010 then manager Fabio Capello did NOT provide Walcott a call up to the 2010 South Africa World Cup, much to the shock of fans.
Another dismal tournament saw yet again refreshed speculation that once again, Theo Walcott should have been involved. He was once again thrown into the England mix and this time did get to represent England in the Euro 2012 campaign, though only as an impact sub, but he did just that, as when he came on vs Sweden in the group stages, when England were 2 - 1 down, he completely changed the game around, by scoring a scream goal from outside the area (not something he is renowned for) and then setting up the goal for Wellbeck.
However his overall England future looks a little shakey now, as he has failed to fully establish himself and has showed little signs of improvement since the age of 18 and is now 23 years of age, this may unfortunately be a player who never reached his potential, expect to continue to see him used as an impact substitute.
Adam Johnson had a false dawn in his career in 2010-2011, as he was part of the England team which thrashed Bulgaria 4-1 and looked for all intents and purposes like the answer that England was looking for, his direct positive approach looked just the remedy and unlike his competition James Milner, he was finding the back of the net.
His time at Manchester City, confirmed that he was a big player and he looked a threat every time he played, however he failed to secure first team Football and this would ultimately lead him to England Exhile, as he failed to receive a call up for the Euro 2012 squad, however Roy Hodgson was quick to say that the Winger was in his future plans still and he backed this up by giving him a start in their first fixture back vs Italy in an international friendly.
Adam recently switched to Sunderland to find first team Football, in a move which will surely benefit him in his development and give him the platform to perform in, to forge himself into the England squad, he remains a refreshing player to watch but has a battle on to prove his worth.
Is now 27 Years old but has only just established himself as a key England player, 2011 was a great year for Young, as it saw him break into the England setup, he was then signed in a high profile move to giants Manchester United, which propelled his status as one of Englands best players, internationally he was becoming very important for England and it should not be forgotten that he was our top scorer in the qualifiers for the Euro 2012 Campaign and would perhaps not even have qualified if not for him, in a time which England were struggling for Goals, Ashley provided them, despite often playing in the midfield.
His start with Manchester United was a dream one, which saw him wrack up bags of goals and assists, most spectacularly against Arsenal in an 8 - 2 victory, which laid Young to lay claims that him and Wayne could bring great success for club and country in the coming years and with the way they were playing, it looked highly likely.
However 2012 wasn't as kind to Ashley as 2011, he was riddled with injuries which broke his momentum and he became very unpopular surrounding a few high profile diving incidents. This was made even worse when he was undeniably average for the whole Euro 2012 campaign and ended it in the worst way possible by becoming another in the long list of England Penalty villans, firing his penalty at the crossbar against Italy.
It should not be forgotten the potential he holds and just how destructive he can be at his best, as he displayed for club and country in 2011, however Ashley Young will have a battle on to regain the confidence and favor of the England fans after a terrible 2012.
Milner is the ultimate utility man, at 26 years of age, it would be easily to think that he is older than he is, as he became the youngest player to score in the EPL at the age of 16 for Leeds United, a while 10 years ago.
He then went under the radar for a while and struggled to make waves whilst playing for Newcastle and Aston Villa. However he remained in the periphery of the England national team and earnt himself a callup and start under Fabio Capello for the 2010 World Cup campaign. Since moving to Manchester City he has earnt a greater reputation and has been a strong player within a team which lifted the 2011-2012 EPL title.
Milner became one of the most used players in a constantly changing lineup under Fabio Capello and this continued through to Roy Hodgson's reign, where the utility man played predominantly at Right Midfield for the Euro 2012 campaign.
His work rate and defensive capabilities have proven popular with England managers and they see him as an alternative to pure attacking options, in othering better cover to the fullback and being of a cautious mold, he fit right into Hodgson and Capello's plans and has been the most consistent selection during recent years. He rarely produces the spectacular and remains steady and reliable, offers little in the way of goal return but is more than happy to fill in at any position across the midfield.
One things for sure, he is a useful squad member, whether he could ever be more than that, will yet to be seen.
Carroll was first brought to our attention, when he was awarded first team status at Newcastle, in the season they coincidently got relegated, though arguably not because of Carroll, he sported ridiculous hair and at 1.91 Metres tall, was quite noticable. His time under England and Newcastle legend Alan Shearer at Newcastle, appears to have earnt him an invaluable fan.
He become the key man in Newcastles promotion back up to the Premier League and continued to spearhead them with a great first season back in it, he had become an even greater Aerial threat by now and was a real handful for opposition defenders.
These performances earnt him one of the most insane transfers in modern Football, as Liverpool forked out a whopping £35,000,000 for the towering striker. This price tag would seem to haunt him in a first season where he failed to establish himself and England Manager Fabio Capello was apparently not a fan of the boozey England Frontman and was unconvinced by his match fitness.
Carrol then finished the 2011-2012 campaign strongly and began scoring goals and was a huge factor in their domestic trophy win and looked a complete threat in the air every time he played, however was unable to shake the tall man syndrome in Football, where fans and pundits alike are always worried that a team with a tall man like Crouch or Carroll will inevitably become a long ball team.
However in the summer of 2012, he earnt himself a call up in Roy Hodgsons England team for the Euro 2012 campaign. He didn't start the first game against France but started vs Sweden and paid instant dividends by Scoring a spectacular header on the end of a Gerrard cross. Amazingly this great performance saw him benched for the rest of the campaign and he only got a sub against Italy in the game which would see England crash out of the competition.
Carroll is still only 23 years old and remains a constant dilema for managers, you can't ignore the ability and threat that he has.
Scott Sinclair recently transferred to Reigning Champions Manchester City, a move which is sure to benefit his reputation. This move tops off a good summer in the eyes of Scott Sinclair, earlier in the summer he got the honor to represent his country in the Olympics with Team GB and now looks set to make a switch to a top European Club and all this for a player who was in the Championship only a couple years ago.
Scott began his days as striker, he was a product of the Chelsea youth system and he showed enough promise to potentially break into the first team but this never transpired, unfortunately for Scott, Chelsea had a wealth of riches at the time and plenty of competition for his position and the ability to bring in any striker in the world that they wanted, let alone a member of their youth team.
Sinclair had to move to Swansea to find first team Football and make his way, he had a great campaign and was key in Swansea's promotion from the Championship to the Premier League, scoring a total of 27 goals, 3 of which in the Playoff finals, a man for the big occasion.
In his first season in the EPL, Sinclair only scored 8 goals but took up a position perhaps further down the pitch in a left winger position opposed to an out and out forward.
He is yet to actually establish himself as a Senior England player but is in a good position to make a claim for it.
Who Will Be Englands Star Midfielder In The Future
Danny introduced himself at Manchester United with a spectacular 40 yard drive in the Domestic Cup. He then was forced to play out wide to get Senior Football at Manchester United and never really convinced in that position.
He was then given a loan spell at Sunderland under Manchester United legend and good friend of Sir Alex Fergueson; Steve Bruce. During this time he established himself as a Premiership standard player, linking up well with Darren Bent and Asamoah Gyan. When he returned to Manchester United, Fergie began to repay him for his successful loan spell, with a bundle of first team starts in the 2011-2012 campaign, which saw him overtake Hernandez in the United pecking order and Danny showed signs of a great understanding with Wayne Rooney, which would prove to work in his favor for both club and country.
Danny showed he was capable of scoring and scored several goals for United in the first quarter of the season. He got a cap for England vs Norway in their international Friendlies leading up to the Euro 2012 in Poland and scored vs Norway. He then continue this by scoring a fantastic winner vs Sweden in the group stage and was suprisingly dropped vs Italy halfway into the game.
He has since remained a part of the Manchester United and England setup, however has only been used in rotation since, can he establish himself as a fully first team regular, time will tell.
Sturridge was an exciting prospect of the Chelsea Youth academy, however never really managed to break through the star studded team and was forced to go out on loan to Bolton to prove his worth to the team. At Bolton he managed to score nearly a goal a game and looked a real prospect.
When he returned to Chelsea for the 2011-2012 team, he was determined to prove his worth and break into the team and was fortunate to benefit from AVB's desire to get rid of the old guard and build a team for the future, he started the season with a flurry of goals, which saw him bench club hero Didier Drogba and £50,000,000 man Fernando Torres. He then however went through a barren spell and lost all momentum which saw him not get selected for Hodgsons Euro 2012 Squad.
As soon as Roberto Di'Mateo took over, he was once again out of favor and Di'Mateo instantly reverted back to using the old guard and didn't appear to rate Daniel Sturridge very highly, this will be a worry for Sturridge this season
At the age of 26, Rooney is still considered a young player, despite 10 years of Senior international caps for England. in 2004 he became the youngest player to represent them at the European Championships and played brilliantly and carried the hopes of a nation on such young shoulders.
At club level he helped dethrone the invicibles by scoring the winner against them for Everton in a 2-1 victory. This earnt him a high profile move to Manchester United, where he established himself as one of the worlds best players and lifted nearly every trophy in the game and especially since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo has established himself as the main man for both club and country.
However he has been cursed at international level, ever since that brilliant debut tournament of 2004, in 2006 he was sent off vs Portugal, which many saw as the reason we lost. In 2008 we failed to qualify for the Euro's and his mediocre performances didn't do much to help. In 2010, he had a dismal run in the World Cup and expressed his frustrations by shouting down a camera at booing fans. The 2012 campaign was equally disappointing as Rooney missed the first 2 games through suspension and then looked out of touch vs Ukraine despite bagging himself a goal and then topped it off by putting in one of the worst performances of the tournament vs Italy.
Rooney is showing signs of crumbling under the pressure and expectation that he appeared to initially thrive off as a young player and at times seems to have fallen out of love with the game, if he isn't careful, he could burn out as quickly as he began and the next couple of years will be key for Rooney, he must be careful not to follow in the footsteps of Michael Owen, a teenage prodigy dropped at a young age. His poor displays have led fans to wonder if he should still get an auto admission into the England squad and also faces competition from Robin Van Persie at club level.
Time will tell how Rooney responds to this challenge but for now he is still regarded as the future and greatest treasure of the England Football team and is seen to be the player which England need to build around.