Connect with us


Who Are the Stars of England’s Next Generation?


By Jason Mathias.

Following the abject displays of England at the World Cup, many have called for a complete overhaul of the squad, integrating younger players and forming the nucleus of the team for the next 10 years. The current squad of apparent failures is the oldest ever picked for a World Cup by an England manager, with an average age of a Zimmer frame-pending 28.7. For the likes of James, Terry, Ferdinand, Lampard and Gerrard, it was surely their last World Cup. And while it would be madness to abolish them from all squads from now on, it is the perfect time to start giving some youth a chance. Coming in with all these experienced players around now can only be beneficial to them.

England’s Under 21 team made the final of the European Championships last summer (before being thrashed by the Germans, of course) with Joe Hart and James Milner the only two to make the World Cup squad. And this year the Under 17s were crowned European champions after defeating Spain. So the talent must be there. But which of these kids can we expect to see making an impact in the coming years?

Jack Wilshere, 18 – Arsenal

Possibly the stand out of England’s youth at the moment, Wilshere was touted for a Walcott-like surprise call-up to the squad earlier in the season after impressing on loan at Bolton and during pre-season with Arsenal. He seems to have something most English footballers don’t – technique. He was name-checked by Fabio Capello this week as someone he is interested in.

Jack Rodwell, 19 – Everton

Rodwell was a regular in the Everton midfield last season and showed maturity beyond his years. Again shows good ability on the ball and has been touted for an eventual move to Manchester United as the successor to Rio Ferdinand.

Adam Johnson, 22 – Manchester City

Made it to the provisional World Cup squad and Capello may look back now and regret his decision to leave the tricky winger at home. His ability to surprise and beat his man may well have made a difference to England’s rigid play. As long as he manages to stay in the Manchester City team, he will surely be involved from now on.

Kieran Gibbs, 20 – Arsenal

The converted winger began to make strides in the Arsenal team last season when Gael Clichy was injured and was a starter in the Under 21s route to the final. He will be secretly hoping for more injuries to Clichy to give him a chance to get in the England squad, especially as quality back-up for Ashley Cole is severely lacking.

Phil Jones, 18 – Blackburn

Still very inexperienced, but Jones has by all accounts been very impressive in his 9 appearances for Blackburn so far, showing qualities that have led many to liken him to John Terry. This season will be big for him in seeing if he really has what it takes at Premier League level.

Chris Smalling, 20 – Manchester United

Signed by United this summer, the centre-back was both impressive and somewhat ropey for Fulham last season. Let’s hope he manages to deal with the pressure of being at United and fulfil the potential he must have for Sir Alex to take the plunge and buy him. Going from Non-League to Old Trafford in 3 years shows there is something there.

Connor Wickham, 17 – Ipswich

The big striker starred for the Under 17s, scoring the winning goal in the final and has already made an impact on the Championship, making him a target for many Premier League sides. Tags of the new Wayne Rooney have been following him around because of his powerful style.

Josh McEachran, 17 – Chelsea

The star of England’s Under 17 win, McEachran showed fantastic technique and passing ability and was also the standout of Chelsea’s Youth Cup victory. Don’t expect to hear much about him for a couple of years, but the early signs are promising.

So in addition to some of the younger members of the current England squad, what could the England team look like come Brazil in 2014? Here’s my guess (I am quite prepared for this to be completely wrong).

GK: Joe Hart

RB: Glen Johnson             CB: Michael Dawson       CB: Chris Smalling             LB: Kieran Gibbs

RM: James Milner            CM: Jack Rodwell             CM: Tom Huddlestone  LM: Adam Johnson

AM: Jack Wilshere

ST: Wayne Rooney (C)

What do you think? Is there anyone else you see as a star of the future? Let us know by leaving your comment below.



  1. DaveYid

    July 1, 2010 at 1:51 pm


    You know, even as a Spurs fan, I wouldn’t put Huddlestone anywhere near the England squad at the moment. There are other midfielders who outshine him in my opinion.
    Besides an out-of-the-blue thundering strike, he doesn’t seem to have much else.
    As for the Lennon v Walcott issue. Of course as a ’spud’ I’d go for Lennon every time. However, if Joe Cole retires from international duty by World Cup 2018 (would be a massive 17 years by then), then there’d be space to put both Lennon and Walcott in the squad.
    Dawson should be there most of all as he has been one of the best, if not THE best centreback in the League during the 09/10 season without a doubt.
    My squad would be this:
    Johnson Terry DAWS A.Hole
    Milner Lampard Gerrard Lennon
    Defoe Crouch
    Subs – Rooney, Walcott, Barry, Carragher, Richards, SWP, Gosling, Agbonlahor, Ebanks-Blake, Moses, Green, Lewis.

    Sorry, replace Rooney with a croquet mallett 😛

  2. Rsyad

    July 1, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    where is walcott??…how about eastmond from arsenal???..he is great defensive midfilder….shelvey?..gosling?..moses?..lansbury?..

  3. davspurs

    July 1, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Joe Yidd great call but you missed a few more great prospects at Spurs Townsend and Caulker at seventeen he got player of the season fr Yeovil on loan watch out for him and Townsend stood out agaisnt the all conqouring Arsenal Team annd Spurs came second to them by a wisker. I will let themselves convince all our England fans but Spurs will have a big say in future England Teams because we have bean buiding for a few years while Utd AND others have bought champion leaugue players and Chelsea got Walloped by Spurs 60 in one game . Spurs had Eight players playing English and finished fourth all of them scored during our campain its a pity Capello never used Lennon Huddlestone the best passer in the prem Dawson we may still be there now we missed speed and a creater who can pass at 6ft 3 he can also defend somthing Barry couldnt pass or defend we have the talent but no one with the vision to use it . This could be the team Walker Caulker Shawcross Lennon Huddlestone Whilshire Townsend Wickham Efobe . okay most are Spurs players but this just shows we fans all have players who could play well for England and pundits saying we have no talent is a big insult to these lads we will soon have a trainning accadamy second to none with five pitches and state of the art jym and medical centre and i expect our young players to thrive lets see how many make it out of Bostock Townsend Caulker Parrett Kane Rose Walker Naughton Livermore Lennon and Huddlestone Dawson did well but injury 80 minutes trial all prevented them keeping England from getting hamered 4-1 this must never happen again all three players had outstanding seasons ruined by Capello who written Bcks of has to old when he was Manager of Madrid he came back and won him the spanish title and saved is neck lets hope Hudds Daws and Lennon do the same with Wallcot Time will tell if iam right about Hudds and co.

  4. Brad

    July 1, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    some good ideas here… although, some youngish talents are still missing..
    for example, the likes of aaron lennon, he’ll be at his peak in 4 years, the same goes for waltcott really..
    also, andros townsend, danny rose and john bostock, these are 3 good young youth players at tottenham who have been branded future stars.

  5. harry

    July 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    shelvey? noble?

  6. Jason Mathias

    July 1, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Thanks for all the responses. I left out Walcott because I just flat out don’t rate him, just my opinion. If you happen to have read some of my other articles, I certainly rate Cleverley, he could make it no doubt. Other than that, I picked Wickham and McEachran for their performances in the U17 Champs, Afobe was useless in that but I have heard of his talent for sure.

    But many of the players mentioned we haven’t seen enough of in the first team. We’ll have to see!

  7. Big Mal

    July 1, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    In response to Rsyad, Walcott will be in the Champioship running up blind alleys and failing to pass to a team mate or he might be sprinting in the Olympics. He certainly won’t be playing football at the top level cos he can’t.

  8. Matt Duncan

    July 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Jordan Henderson at Sunderland is looking like a good player, possible future squad member.
    Shall we all stop this Walcott is not good enough rubbish. He is still only 21 and so still has every chance of maturing into a good player. Judge him in a couple of years time when he will have more games under his belt and hopefully a couple of uninterrupted seasons.
    I would really love it if we sent more of our players to play overseas. Get them to learn different styles of play. The Premier League is not the be all and end all.

  9. Keith

    July 3, 2010 at 7:33 am

    How about jonjo shelvey

  10. Thomas Johnson

    March 6, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    i think marc albrighton has a lot of potential, also, i think theo walcott, danny rose, andros townsend and daniel sturridgecould be future england stars

  11. Emil

    March 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    England has an incredible bright future in football. Here is my team for the World Cup 2014:

    Joe Hart, Scott Loach, Jason Steele

    Kieran Gibbs, Ryan Bertrand, Glen Johnson, Kyle Walker, Martin Kelly, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Ryan Shawcross, Gary Cahill

    Aaron Lennon, Theo Walcott, Ashley Young, Adam Johnson, Jonjo Shelvey, Jack Wilshere, Josh McEachran, James Milner, Jack Rodwell, Lee Cattermole

    Wayne Rooney, Jose Baxter, Andy Carroll, Connor Wickham

    START ELEVEN, 4-3-1-2:


    Johnson – Kelly – Smalling – Bertrand

    McEachran – Rodwell – Wilshere


    Carroll – Rooney

    This eleven is Barcelona class, specially in the middle whit McEachran compared to Xavi, Wilshere compared to Iniesta and Shelvey compared to Gerrard. And Rodwell as the perfect anchor.

    I do really believe in the quartet Shelvey, Wilshere, McEachran and Rodwell. Thats why I choosed this formation, but it’s also hard to leave players like Lennon, Young and Walcott on the bench. But if they choose to play 4-4-2 then they should formation the team like this:


    Johnson – Kelly – Smalling – Bertrand

    Lennon – Rodwell – Wilshere – Young

    Carroll – Rooney

  12. Scott Friend

    April 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Phil Jones has been great at Blackburn and also for U21’s, not the same class as the others but a John Terry – like defender, will be a great player

Leave a Reply

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

Other News

More in Arsenal