England's future isn't as bad as it seems

Powell looks a great prospect (©GettyImages)
Powell looks a great prospect (©GettyImages).

England fans haven't had much to cheer about on the international scene in recent times, and they would be forgiven for feeling pessimistic about the chances of our newest crop of talent after their exploits at this years U21 European Championship and U20 World Cup. 

However, we've made a potential team of players aged 23 and under, to prove it isn't all doom and gloom for the Three Lions.

Goalkeeper: Jack Butland

Age: 20

Club: Stoke City

Profile: A series of fantastic performances for Birmingham City led to Butland recieving his first full international cap in 2012, and he will be hoping the brilliant Asmir Begovic will move on from Stoke so that he can cement a first team position and carry on his development in the Premier League.

Right-back: Kyle Walker

Age: 23

Club: Tottenham Hotspur

Profile: As a regular with one of the best teams in England, Walker is one of the elder statesmen in my under 23 XI, but his maturity and talent belies his true age. He will be hoping to displace Glen Johnson in the international first team, and will surely do so if he continues his stellar form at domestic level.

Centre-back: Phil Jones

Age: 21

Club: Manchester United

Profile: One of English football's biggest hopes, Jones has been earmarked as a future captain of both United and England. A rugged, commited defender in the mould of John Terry, Jones will be hoping to establish himself in his preferred position at club level, before stepping into the international limelight.

Centre-back: Steven Caulker

Age: 21

Club: Tottenham Hotspur

Profile: After a successful loan spell at Swansea two years ago, Caulker returned to White Hart Lane last season, making 18 Premier League appearances. This led to him making his international debut in 2012, a match in which he also scored his first international goal.

Left-back: Luke Shaw

Age: 18

Club: Southampton

Profile: Shaw rocketed into the national conscience last season with 25 Premier League appearances, leading to him being linked with clubs such as Manchester United. Has sensibly signed another five year contract with Southampton, and will be looking to continue his development by playing regular football. A real gem.

Centre-midfield: Jack Rodwell

Age: 22

Club: Manchester City

Profile: Injuries and a perhaps ill advised move to big-spending Manchester City have hampered Rodwell's development in recent years, but I for one have still got high hopes for this prodigiously talented youngster. The signing of Fernandinho will have shoved Rodwell further down the pecking order at the Etihad, so hopefully he can negotiate a loan move and continue his development by playing first team football.

Centre-midfield: Nick Powell

Age: 19

Club: Manchester United

Profile: After leading Crewe to promotion in 2011/12, and then scoring against Wigan on his Manchester United debut, many earmarked Powell as Paul Scholes' successor. Injury limited his chances in the latter half of the season, but United fans will be excited to see the impact he can make undernew manager David Moyes.

Attacking-midfield: Jack Wilshere

Age: 21

Club: Arsenal

Profile: Perhaps the only English youngster to prove himself as a world class talent, Wilshere plays football like he was brought up on the continent; Spanish touch and Portuguese flair mixed with the quintessential English grit. If he can stay fit, he will surely becoming a leading figure in the international team for years to come.

Right-winger: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Age: 19

Club: Arsenal

Profile: Chamberlain burst onto the scene as a 17 year old in 2011, leading to him already amassing 12 caps for the senior England side. However, last year was a difficult one for the talented winger, and he will be looking to kick on in 2013/14 and make himself a first team regular for both Arsenal and England.

Left-winger: Wilfried Zaha

Age: 20

Club: Crystal Palace

Profile: A series of scintillating performances in the Championship last season led to Zaha getting the transfer of his dreams to Old Trafford with the Champions. It is thought that Sir Alex Ferguson acquired Zaha as he reminded him of Cristiano Ronaldo; strong, direct and dazzlingly skillful. If he can cement a place in the United first team, a place in the international set-up will surely follow.

Striker: Danny Welbeck

Age: 22

Club: Manchester United

Profile: Welbeck was a first team regular for United last season, and has already begun to cement his place as an England regular as well. However, his versatility, super-human workrate and inconsitent finishing has seen him often appearing wide on either flank. If he can improve his goal-scoring, he will undoubtedly become a top-level striker.


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