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. J. Smith

    July 1, 2010 at 9:24 am

    What about Walcott? I think he should qualify for this category.

  2. IH

    July 1, 2010 at 9:26 am

    lol wayne rooney!!

  3. J. Smith

    July 1, 2010 at 9:29 am

    What about Walcott of Arsenal? I am sure he deserves to be listed. Although he did not feature much in the first team of Arsenal due to his injury, He will pick up where he left off and improve himself.

  4. looneygooner

    July 1, 2010 at 9:30 am

    forget Rooney as he is over-rated and injury prone and acts like a prima donna who would disrupt the team’s spirit


    July 1, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Think the names you mentioned are all okey but strongly believe you forgot to mention Theo Walcolt.

  6. Benik Afobe

    July 1, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Read my name…
    you heard it here first!!!!

  7. Barry Bethell

    July 1, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Henri Lansbury will be there soon!!

  8. mann depp

    July 1, 2010 at 9:39 am

    don’t forget jonjo shelvey from liverpool

  9. NorwegianDevil

    July 1, 2010 at 9:40 am

    What about Will Keane and Ravel Morrison at Uniteds academy? Both come highly rated and could make a big impact in a few years time.
    Granted that they both are a bit young yet so It’s not certain that they will make it, but when Josh McEachran and Connor Wickham is mentioned then they should as well.

  10. Peter B

    July 1, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Theo Walcott?????? Heard of Aaron Lennon?

  11. icky

    July 1, 2010 at 9:42 am

    theo walcott is over rated as well.

    adam johson > theo walcott

  12. omar

    July 1, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Why isn’t walcott on this list? As far as I know hee’s only 21. He gets criticized like hees a veteran in the game but surely come 2014 hees gonna be at his peak

  13. timbo

    July 1, 2010 at 9:48 am

    it is an alright team, but i would have selected on current ability

    gk – hart
    def – johnson; smalling; Mancienne (spence); gibbs
    Mid – walcott; rodwell (cattlemore); milner (delph); johnson
    Att mid – wilshere (lansbury)
    St – Rooney (Delfouneso or sturridge)

  14. omar

    July 1, 2010 at 9:49 am

    @ peret B: are u talking about the same lennon that did absolutely nothing in the world cup? Or is there some1 else with that name

  15. Ella patterson

    July 1, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Looking at this as a dispassionate (re England) Ulster woman I wouls scrap several of that proposed team. Dawson, G. Johnson, Huddlestone, Milner will never do any better at that level than the current crop. of the others hard to say how they will develop. Walcott is a possibility but only if he “does a Nani! ie gets his head around when to go past people and when to pass the ball. I really only know about United players but I’d keep an eye on Tom Cleverley and William Keane. Speaking of the latter I know that the under 21s did well in Europe but don’t forget that the under 17s have recently become European Chgampions. You have the talent – there just seems to be a porblem in developing it. That is what you need to get right. The present reserve league is really no different from the boys leagues. I really think that the time has come to allow the bigger Premier League clubs to field a reserve team in the lower leagues, to give their young stars some real football. Surely there could be some stipulations regarding who plays which would help protect other clubs and they might find an increase in gate receipts if they had a home match v United, Liverpool Chelsea etc. Now that should, hopefully, start a fiercesome debate!

  16. Joe

    July 1, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Ugh. Too many spuds. Rodwell will end-up as a right/centre back. So expect to see him there instead of the shite Glen Johnson. Expect to see former U19 captain Lansbury and/or Eastmond in the centre midfield.

    Conor Wickham of Ipswich is very overrated. He had a good u17’s tourny, but the real star striker for the future is Benik Afobe, his international team-mate and strike partner.

  17. micky

    July 1, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Daniel Sturridge, Micheal Mancienne, Jack Cork, Ryan Bertrand

  18. Peter B

    July 1, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Omer clearly an Arsenal man..yes…injured most of the end of the year not fit leading into the tornament and was…pre injury clearly the best wide man in the prem league…yes that one matey

  19. JoeYid

    July 1, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Danny Rose, John Bostock, Kyle Walker, Kyle Naughton and Dean Parrett from Spurs?

    Aaron Lennon should definitely be there, he was on fire the first half of the season till he got injured and only came back for about 2 or 3 games at the end of the season, so he was match fit and wasn’t as sharp as usual.

    Dawson will give his all for England, he deserved a chance at the world cup, he’s a proud Englishman who would have given his all unlike most of the others.

  20. Joe

    July 1, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Lol @ JoeYid. Only Rose will make it from those. And at that only as a squad player.

  21. Pingback: Tweets that mention Who Are the Stars of England’s Next Generation? | Football Talk --

  22. Bridgers)

    July 1, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Mickey, Ryan Bertrand is French!!!!!!

  23. LEIGH

    July 1, 2010 at 11:08 am







  24. DB

    July 1, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Team for 2018 world cup …

    Richards, Smalling, Jones, Gibbs
    Ravel Morrison, Rodwell, Wilshire, Milner
    Rooney, William Keane

    Subs – Aneke, Cleverley, Walcott, Afobe, Wickham

  25. Mark Sargeant

    July 1, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Don’t forget about Andros Townsend, Jake Livermore at Spurs, also the young kid at West Brom who scored the quality goal for England u17s vs Turkey u17s.

  26. Andy

    July 1, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    I quite fancy that your predicted first11 for brazil2014 will have done a darn sight better than the current crop at THIS world cup – at the very least we would have seen passion, grit and determination, and good ol’ fashioned english pride on display. I also fancy that Defoe will still be in and amongst it come 2014

  27. Kev

    July 1, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    I think you will find that will Keane is Irish.

    Personally I think we should scrap the welsh and scotish national teams and go team GB (Tongue in Cheek).

    What would your line up have been if that were the case?

    Rooney and Bellamy up front anyone?

  28. DL

    July 1, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    All Promising names and not all prima donna’s like Mickey Rooney. England Manager (whoever) should start playing them now. Forget about qualifying for Euros and start building the team for the next WC. Get them playing together on regular basis and build up that group unit which was so badly missing at this WC. They may not all be world class, but that is the great thing, they will have the hunger & desire to win.

  29. Paul

    July 1, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    All good ideas, but nothing will change because the suits at the English FA are too insecure to do anything radical and forward thinking. It has always been thus, they never had the balls to appoint Brian Clough. I think they are more concerned about getting good media coverage, their PR image and keeping their own well paid jobs. I remember when Graham Taylor was appointed, his first press conference preached ‘evolution not revolution’. And let’s face it all England managers before and since Taylor have been the same. The only manager I can remember who bucked the trend, albeit temporarily, was Peter Taylor where he picked loads of U21 players for the senior team and they looked pretty smart. Then a permanent appointment was made and life was back to normal. I can’t see any English managers who has the nouse to create a winning England team so I would go for Jose Mourhino or Arsene Wenger. Mourhino is years away from taking an international manager’s job and not sure if he could create that siege mentality as he wouldn’t be with his players enough, but Wenger is an interesting one. He knows all about nurturing a successful team from a group of young players, but not sure if he would leave Arsenal. Anyone agree?

  30. 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.

Leave a Reply

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

Other News

More in Arsenal