Year after year England fans hopes are built up before shortly being destroyed by vast sums of mediocrity from some of the Premier League’s biggest stars, but could we actually been very close to a England side that competes with the likes of Spain and Germany?
It’s a tradition to start every year by publicizing England’s chances at forthcoming tournaments in addition to building delusive standards and conjectures. The recent World Cup is a prime example of this, a country full of anticipation and hope, only to be replaced by anguish and heartbreak after failing to even progress from the group stage. But, and it’s a big but, with the future starlets progressing in the Premier League, could England finally compete with the ‘big boys’?
For many years, England have been a side full of maturity and experience but very little excitement or cutting edge football. Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, for a long time, have been the iconic partnership wearing the three lions badge, lying in the middle of the park, likewise with Wayne Rooney leading from the front, but times have changed and this season especially, the youth of England is looking promising. Believe it or not, England, unlike most rivals, are a team on the up by the time the World Cup arrives. The German national teams aren’t as much, with the likes of Mertesacker, Klose and Schweinsteiger all over 30 already and world cup winning captain Phillip Lahm recently retiring, Germany are losing great players. It’s no different in Spain, with Xavi, Iniesta and Xabi Alonso, all great midfielders who won’t be a key influence on the 2018 World Cup, it might be England’s best chance if the rearing of home-grown talent continues as effectively as it has this season. There has been worries of the bringing through of youth being a dying art recently, with the money coming into Premier League clubs through TV deals and sponsorships it’s becoming increasingly easier to spend rather than have patience with club creations. It’s come to a point where Manchester City buy English players such as Patrick Roberts, Fabian Delph and many others to be futile, only being there so the club abide by the FA’s demands of home-grown players in a squad, which is utterly ridiculous.
There has been new hope for youth players this season though and the man effectively boosting this is Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. He’s introduced the likes of Eric Dier and Dele Alli into the competition for England places this season and with the amateurish form of Chelsea’s starters, small glimpses of Ruben Loftus-Cheek haven’t gone a miss. Pochettino, previously Southampton boss, is acting as a role model for English football, despite being from Argentina. It’s Pochettino’s way, with Southampton the Argentine developed players such as Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne, Jay Rodriguez and Luke Shaw who have now all made a move to other Premier League clubs and have all made an appearance for England since. If one club can produce five England squad players in the space of a season, it’s unimaginable if all twenty Premier League teams joined in what the future would hold for England.
Despite the lack of clubs creating home-grown players continiuously, with the likes of Jack Butland, Dele Alli, Luke Shaw, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Harry Kane and many more, England could have a bright future ahead. Whether it results in a bright one or fails painfully into a Déjà vu of underperforming players on high wages, there’s no doubt the potential is there for Football to come home, just like it did in 1966.
Article by Jordan Clarke, (@FourFourJordan)