By the time the next World Cup comes around in 2014 the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and John Terry might not be there. Who are some of the promising young players to replace the old guard for England?
Jack Wilshere, 18 (Arsenal): Has a manager who has a record of nurturing young talent in Arsene Wenger.
England are currently suffering a dearth of talent in terms of creative playmakers, but the Arsenal midfielder could change all that if he lives upto his potential. His manager believes the youngster is good enough to one day replace Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas.
Wishere got the chance to play first team football last season and scored his first Premier League goal whilst on loan at Owen Coyle’s Bolton and is reportedly set to return to the Reebok Stadium for a further loan spell next season.
Jonjo Shelvey, 18 (Liverpool): Dubbed the ‘next Steven Gerrard’ as they share many of the same characteristics and Shelvey has recently completed a £1.7m to Liverpool, so could already have the perfect mentor in the Liverpool captain who he has mirrored his game on.
“I’ve mirrored my game on Steven Gerrard – I love him to bits, everything about him, from the way he walks to the way he plays.”
Shelvey scored eight goals in 40 starts for his former club Charlton and his former team mate Sam Sodje believes he is made for the English top flight:
“I am 100 per cent positive he can play in the Premier League next season.
His style of play isn’t really suited to the hustle and bustle of League One. His game is more suited to the top league where he will receive more protection.”
Jack Rodwell, 19 (Everton): In my opinion the Toffees’ midfielder is the most promising young English talent and the Goodison Park faithful would have been delighted that he signed a new deal at the club prior to this summer as the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United have been sniffing around the player.
The Everton man scored his first Premier League goal against then league champions Manchester United winning 3-1 and he also scored two thunderbolts in a 4-0 win when Everton played SK Sigma Olomouc in the Europa League.
Rodwell is often played as a midfielder, but with his size and stature it is also believed he could play as a centre-back.
Phil Jones, 18 (Blackburn): The defender burst onto the scene with impressive defensive displays against Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal at Ewood Park.
When he made his first Premier League start for Blackburn against Chelsea it was only natural that he would be compared to Blues’ skipper John Terry and he received a glowing reference from the experienced Michel Salgado:
“I think he’s going to be the next Terry for sure, but he’s more comfortable than him on the ball as well.
“It’s rare to see a young player like him, it’s a complicated position and an important position for the side, he’s playing like a proven player already and he’s only played 10 games. He’s proved he’s ready to play with us.”
Josh McEachran, 17 (Chelsea): The biggest outsider in the list as he has no first team experience, but he has impressed for the Chelsea youth team that won FA Youth Cup last season and also helped England under-17s win the UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship.
McEachran is a left-footed attacking midfielder who can play centrally or in wider areas. His ability to ghost past player, playmaking abilities and vision have led him to be regarded as one of Chelsea’s most promising youngsters.
Sir Trevor Brooking fears for England’s young talent, but believes McEachran’s England Under-17 side holds the most promise:
“In the 17s we have a couple of really good creative players. Josh McEachran, the left-sided Chelsea lad, is really creative and can play in the hole.
“The 17s are the best passing group we have. You could put them in a European team’s shirt and you wouldn’t know which country they were from.
“They weigh the ball, play it wide, are comfortable to keep it in tight areas, build from the back and beat Spain in the final of the Euros.”
These are just a few of the promising young English talents, but there are many more Victor Moses, Fabian Delph, Connor Whickham, Danny Welbeck etc. Hopefully new home-grown Premier League rules will help give the chance for young English talent to develop.
Which players do fans think could make it for England in the future?
Josh McEachran’s performance during England U-17s v Czech Republic U-17s: