For many years now, England youngsters have been labelled ‘The Next Big Thing’ and turned out to be the complete opposite of that. A prime example of this is David ‘the next Beckham’ Bentley, now 31, he co-owns a restaurant. With just 7 full England caps, he can simply be added to the long list of England prospects who failed to live up to expectations and finished up either playing in mediocrity, or ending their careers early. In Euro 2004, on one of the rare occasions that a young England player was well and truly doing the business on the world stage, injury prevented him playing any further part at the tournament in the quarter-final stage – thus destroying England’s hopes of progressing any further. In the opinion of many, if the aforementioned Rooney had not sustained an injury, England may well have gone on to win the tournament. Since that date, England have failed to progress further than the quarter-final stages at any major world tournament.
After years of excitement, followed imminently by disappointment , England’s future is looking incredibly bright. With some real talent coming through in all positions. With young players such as Jack Butland, John Stones, Eric Dier and Dele Alli nailing down starting places at a good level in the Premier League – they will be sure to get a look in at next years Euro’s. With Jack Grealish selecting England as his nation, he will definitely be given playing time at some point. Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane are two players whose age is often forgotten who have done well when called up for England. Players such as Scott Dann, Joel Ward, Jason Puncheon, Jonjo Shelvey and Jamie Vardy are showing their quality in the league and will be competing for places. If Jamie Vardy continues the form he is currently now, a Kane – Vardy partnership should be tested, in my opinion. I have not named even half of the players who will be in the running for a starting England place, this shows that there is real competition for places within the England squad.
The upcoming international friendlies will be a fantastic opportunity to give some of these players time on the pitch to prepare them for taking on international duty. Whilst they play weekly for their clubs, minutes on the pitch in international friendlies will be what gives them the experience to play at international level. Taking into account the amount these players will develop as footballers, there is no reason why England will not become a major international force once again in the years to come.