And it might not be quite as ridiculous a notion as it sounds. The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is, after all, the best part of a decade away. Let’s not forget, nine years before Spain set off on their spell of sustained dominance, they were still renowned as perennial bottlers. Whilst the recent renaissance within the German game only emerged as a result of a ‘rip it up and start again’ approach following the teams dismal showing at Euro 2000, the benefits of that have only just started to show.
OK, OK. So maybe I am clutching at straws just a tiny bit. But with some proper direction and the implementation of some innovate policies, it is by no means completely out of the question.
Looking way, way down the line to the World Cup in 2022, if England are going to triumph then a host of young players currently emerging on the scene will make up the experienced core of the side. Of course, some of the players making up that squad will be going back to school in baggy pants this week.
But using what evidence we have, and having run the rule over some of England’s most promising youngsters, here is what that England World Cup winning team (yes, I said it) might look like:
(GK) Jack Butland – The heir apparent to Joe Hart? He has remarkable confidence and assurance for a goalkeeper so young and has been involved with the England squad for a long time now. There seems to be high hopes for the Stoke City stopper, and he will be at the peak of his powers come 2022.
(RB) John Stones – The former Barnsley man is a player who has found himself right in the thick of the first-team squad under new Everton boss Roberto Martinez. Stones has all the qualities that the modern game demands of a defender: He is tall, agile, intelligent, and composed in possession. His versatility is another key attribute, as he has shown himself capable of operating at both centre-back and right-back berths. He should come on leaps and bounds under the stewardship of his new boss.
(CB) Andre Wisdom – Wisdom has recently been anointed as the new captain of the England U21 side, and former boss Stuart Pearce had nothing but positive words to say about the Liverpool defender before he was relieved of his managerial duties. Wisdom has shown his versatility by operating across the back-line under Brendan Rodgers, but his performances at U21 level suggest he is at his best in the centre of the defense. He looks as though he can grow into a big player and a strong character for both Liverpool and England.
(CB) Phil Jones — The United man has been a victim of his own versatility in his early days as a top-level player, but looks set to eventually ply his trade at centre-back. The feeling is that Jones can be as good as he wants; all the attributes are there. Being so heavily involved in the national set-up already can only bode well for the future. If he fulfills his enormous potential, he will be a mainstay of the England central defense for many a year.