England’s Future Looks Bright With the Next Generation of Footballers

Whisper it quietly, but England’s golden generation is coming of age.

As we look towards this summer’s European Championship in the eastern bloc, the England football team looks more disorganised and segmented than ever before. No manager in place, an aging Paul Scholes back in contention and the club-side fractions manifesting themselves, it appears to be a worse summer since David Seaman decided to practice his yoga just as Ronaldinho took aim in 2002.

So let’s look beyond the 2012 Euros and focus on the England for tomorrow. Step forward our youth sides. Current England youngster awards have included making an appearance in the 2009 under-17 under-19 and under- 21 finals. In charge of youth development is as English as jellied eels and Marmite. John Peacock, Stuart Pearce and Noel Blake have been orchestrating a vast, and continued improvement in recent years. The lack of respect shown from the old regime (including Fabio Capello going on holiday instead of taking in the Under-19 final) could have inadvertently improved the teams’ togetherness, leading to the players of tomorrow forming a close bond, akin to club sides like Ajax and Barcelona — something the current crop of players do not have.

With the youngsters taking the recent plaudits, which the full XI could only crave, which players will build England’s future ‘Golden Generation’? The pool is teeming with the grifted, grafters, passion, pace and, above all, finding the uneasy balance between fame and level headedness. Football fans will have their own favourites, but most lists would include Tom Cleverley, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ross Barkley, Steven Caulker, Jack Rodwell, Jack Wilshere, Nathan Clyne, Danny Welbeck, Kyle Walker, Daniel Sturridge, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. That list would give any manager a headache to pick from. The core and spine of the side coming from the top Premier League, now accustomed to the riggers of top flight football, both in domestic and in European club competitions.

These talents could follow in the footsteps of seasoned campaigners like Joe Hart, James Milner, Gary Cahill, Gareth Barry and of course, one Wayne ‘Wildcard’ Rooney. A strong manager and coaching staff would salivate at the thought of having this squad at their disposal. Brazil 2014 should be the chance to unleash these players onto the international scene, to pit their skills against the best in the world in the Samba heat. Germany shocked the world, and maybe even the DFB, by the performances of their untried and untested young side in 2010. Their third place finish was the perfect reward for a federation who allowed youth to be the core of their side. The likes of Ozil, Muller, Badstuber, Kroos and Khedira played without trepidation and oozed creativity and more importantly, self-confidence, dispatching pre-tournament favourites like Argentina and England — all masterminded by a young manager himself, Joachim Low, who first coached the national team aged just 45. Surely this is the blueprint the English FA should be copying?

Does English history dictate that passion and youth could be the springboard to success? Lets turn our clocks back to Italy 1990. England had just squeezed through to the tournament finals with the bloodied Terry Butcher ensuring England advanced with a 0-0 draw in Sweden. The English press rubbished the team’s chances from the start, especially as they were drawn in the infamous ‘Group of Death’. Under pressure Bobby Robson, fresh from a dreadful Euro 1988 campaign, picked a team of hard working, passionate players, with a hint of youth. The experienced quota was filled by the likes of Butcher and Shilton, Robson and Lineker, with the ‘footballing professor’ intertwining them with untried younger players Platt, Walker and Wright. Oh and of course, the man with the talent of Maradona but the brains of Norman Wisdom, one Paul ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne. The heartbreaking defeat against the Germans vindicated Bobby Robson’s roll of the dice. Since then — arguably 1996 aside — the same players have constantly let fans down. When is it one chance too many?

With the evidence presented, surely it is time to put out to stud the perennial failures who have tended to hog the headlines for their club sides and off field antics, rather then bringing glory and respect to the three lion badges Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I give you generation who didn’t live up to the hype…Gerrard, Lampard, Cole, Terry and Ferdinand.

So whisper it quietly, but it could be viva l’anglais en Paris in 2016.

9 thoughts on “England’s Future Looks Bright With the Next Generation of Footballers”

  1. good post, but you’re overestimating, as we always do, how good our young players are. aside from hart, wilshere and a couple of others, we don’t really have young players on anywhere near the levels of the top nations. and it’s unlikely all the players you mention will actually reach their potential… just look at the hype around walcott… at least the burton training place should help a bit

  2. Good read. There is one debatable statement in my opinion though.

    “Germany shocked the world, and maybe even the DFB, by the performances of their untried and untested young side in 2010. Their third place finish was the perfect reward for a federation who allowed youth to be the core of their side…”

    Third place finish would be a perfect reward for England not Germany. Germany shocking the world by managing to finish 3rd is the most telling story here. This shows the lowered expectations they have grown accustomed to. In their own standards German national team has been under-performing for at least two decades. Their last major title was 1996 European Championship. Their last World Cup win is even more distant 1990. Since 1996 they *only* managed one WC final (2002) and one European final (2008). Compare this with their 70s-90s run:

    74 – WC winners, 76 – EC final, 80 – EC winners, 82 – WC final, 86 – WC final, 90 – WC winners, 92 – EC final, 96 – EC winners.

    So what Germany is doing with their youth program may work for England but definitely falls short compared to where German national team used to be.

  3. I feel the England generation of not tomorrow but more next week is indeed in line for success based on the stage we are at currently with these players.

    I only hope that the likes of Wilshere, Oxlad-Chamberlain, Lallana and then further down the line Jake Forster-Caskey (had to shoehorn that name in 😀 ) also break the mould and don’t give into the age old footballers temptations of extravagant enterprises whilst on a night out amongst an exotic trip to ayia napa. Unfortunately that plays as big a part in our young talented kids’ future as any other attribute.

    A re jig in the way we perceive our players in the prem is also needed, we need more of a trialling process for our players rather than just league performance as we all know that the top tier in English football seems more important to our current crop of players than anything else!

  4. The problem is not that we have some good players emerging, its that we don’t have a coach who can blend them into a team, blood them at the Euro’s, stick with them and build for 2014. I’ll say it again, ‘Arry is not the answer. Only needs a few bad results before he starts chucking his toys out of the pram. The man is another Keegan all over again. Stick with Pearce, he deserves his shot, offers continuity from his U-21 work, and he seems more inclined not to pick the old guard. Btw, giving the captaincy to Parker over Gerrard was also a smart move.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *