England: The future XI
With a new generation coming through, which players look set for the international stage?
Many young English starlets have been impressing of late - perhaps soon their time will come to flourish on the international stage.
Here we look at an English XI that may one day lead the national side to glory.
Goalkeeper | Jack Butland (20)
Following his surprise inclusion in the Euro 2012 squad (in which he played no games) and then an impressive Olympics, Jack Butland finally secured a place in the England Senior side’s starting XI in 2012 against Italy.
Butland became the youngest ever England international goalkeeper at 19 years 158 days. His evident talent was enough to spark Stoke City into sealing his signature in a £3.5 million deal. With Joe Hart’s far from stellar season, Jack Butland is likely to cement a spot as England’s goalkeeper for years to come.
Right-back | Carl Jenkinson (21)
After looking somewhat uncomfortable in his first season at Arsenal, Carl Jenkinson has really grown into a quality full back. Strong, tall and quick, with so much top-level experience at such a young age, Jenkinson is likely to become a consistent England performer.
Centre-back | Phil Jones (21)
A big talent with a big price tag. When Sir Alex Ferguson signed him from Blackburn for £16 million in 2011 a few eyebrows were raised. Phil Jones has since repaid Sir Alex’s faith with quality performances in the centre of defence, as a right back and in the centre of the park.
Jones’ versatility is a prime asset to club and country, and I believe he will flourish in the heart of England’s defence. Talented, passionate and a natural leader, Jones has all the necessary attributes to become an England captain.
Centre-back | Steven Caulker (21)
Calm, composed, tall, quick and strong, Caulker has all the qualities to become a top class centre back. Although not currently a consistent starter for Tottenham, I believe Caulker will be the first name on the team sheet very soon. Having already represented England senior side at such a young age, Caulker will certainly continue to do so for many years to come.
Left-back | Luke Shaw (17)
The prodigious left back has been a revelation for Southampton this season. Quick and technically gifted, Shaw has been dubbed “the next Ashley Cole”. His performances this year in the top-flight have been enough to incite the interests of Spurs and Chelsea.
Centre-midfield | Jack Wilshere (21)
A dynamic and combative blend of Gerrard, mixed with the finesse and agility of a younger Paul Scholes and you have Jack Wilshere. A seemingly perfect anomaly, Wilshere possesses all of the qualities to become one of the best central midfielders in the world let alone England.
The only cause for concern is his current injury crisis. If Wilshere can stabilise this, a truly astounding career awaits this young man.
Centre-midfield | Nathaniel Chalobah (18)
Chalobah is enjoying an impressive debut season at Watford on loan from Chelsea. He is an extremely versatile and talented footballer; tall, athletic and equally efficient in defence or attack. He could be England’s answer to Yaya Toure. Expect to see him in the heart of the Three Lions midfield in the not too distant future.
Centre attacking-midfield | Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (20)
The Ox is an obvious starter, at the tender age of 20 he has already accumulated over 40 first team appearances for Arsenal and is already a senior international. I believe that he is likely to move into his favoured central attacking role in the future.
Right-wing | Wilfried Zaha (20)
A rough diamond, Zaha has the qualities to become world class. Mesmerisingly skilful, ridiculously quick, Zaha glides past players for fun.
His fantastic performances for Crystal Palace this season and last, was enough for Manchester United to secure his services in a deal that could cost the club up to £15 million. Zaha certainly has the potential to become an England star for years to come.
Left-wing | Raheem Sterling (18)
After breaking into Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool side this year, Sterling looked like a set superstar. Pacey, dynamic and skilful, Sterling terrorised experience premier league defences. Although Sterling’s game time has decreased a bit recently, this is all part of character building for such a young footballer. Raheem Sterling seems like a certainty to become a future England star.
Centre-forward | Connor Wickham (20)
Wickham’s had a slow start to his premier league career following his meteoric transfer to Sunderland. He’s struggled with injury as well as form.
With Di Canio looking to give him a run in the side however, Wickham needs to try and use this as an incentive to live up to his early potential that commanded such a huge transfer fee. Tall, strong, with a dash of skill and a yard of pace, Wickham could make the perfect England centre forward.
Other Notable Players | Tom Ince, Jonjo Shelvey, Ross Barkley, Ravel Morrison, Mason Bennett, Nick Powell, Will Hughes, Andre Wisdom, Ben Amos, Adam Campbell, John Stones.
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