Only on Wednesday, Football Association chairman Greg Dyke spoke of England's chances at future international tournaments, with the recently appointed chairman believing that Brazil 2014 may not present an opportunity to end a near fifty-year trophy-less run for the Three Lions.
What Dyke does believe however, is that the future for England has more success. Speaking of England's future hopes Dyke said of 2020 European Championships and 2022 World Cup:
"The two targets I have for the England team are - one, to at least reach the semi-finals of Euro 2020 and two, win the World Cup in 2022."
Dyke's claims come at a time of recovery for the English national team, a time when they have decided to evaluate their approach from the bottom up.
The recently opened St. George's Park offers the perfect platform for England sides young and senior to develop their skills, both in growing progressive talent, and giving the senior side the lavish environment to bond and form a togetherness that has appeared so lacking at international tournaments.
Despite the new development centre, and the optimism for the future from Dyke, the hope of the English winning a tournament in the near future is still far fetched. Particularly with such a changing squad, unexpected retirements and heavy expectations that seemingly emerge from pessimism in the qualifying campaign.
All have appeared to overwhelm the efforts made by the England squad to capture their first glory since 1966, and whereas the 90's achievements of a World Cup semi-final in 1990, and a Euro 96 semi-final appearance on home soil, the so-called 'golden generation' of the noughties never met the expectations of a hopeful nation.
Following the infamous 'Wolly with a brolly' incident with Steve McClaren that personified England's disastrous Euro 2008 qualifying campaign, the nation has been on a road to recovery ever since.
Optimism for the World Cup in 2010 was shortly followed by scathing criticism as Germany taught them a lesson in how to play football in the last 16, rounding off a miserable campaign, and late managerial changes and the huge emphasis of Wayne Rooney's importance to the England squad led to more frustration at Euro 2012.
Which arrives to the modern day, as England prepare for crucial qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine during the latest international break. Talk of the future is premature as England's fate is not yet sealed, trailing behind Montenegro, England may very well have to face a play-off for another tournament journey.
A year into the job and England manager Roy Hodgson still appears to be trying to find his strongest squad, and may not be the man to truly take the country forward. The blame solely on him would be harsh, international retirements left him looking for a new cemented central defensive partnership, whereas injuries have always left him short of his key players.
A lack of international quality talent for Hodgson to choose from also proves that there is still plenty of work to be done by the FA. This is not a criticism of the player, who has more than earned the recognition of an international call-up, but Rickie Lambert is not the calibre of player that a top national team should be resting their hopes on for the upcoming qualifiers.
The Premier League has something to do with that though, despite conscious efforts with their 'home-grown' ruling, the lack of English players at the top level is concerning, and in terms of the future, as of June, only 2.28% of Premier League footballers were eligible for England under-21 duty, a crop of players who will be at their peaks come 2020 and 2022.
Of the top four sides of last season, foreign talent dominates at Arsenal and Chelsea, whereas the Manchester clubs do offer a few options to the national side, but neither side brought in any English talent during the summer transfer window. Of the 137 Premier League signings, only 25 were English, another clear statistic that foreign imports is the preferred route to home grown development.
It is not to say that it is impossible for England to reach the targets set by Dyke, St. George's Park provides the perfect basis for development to really take place. But, optimism has to be in moderation, and be realistic. The English side has always had a sprinkle of world-class talent, but they have never come together as a team in recent years.
Key English talents have always felt the burden of expectation, and usually have crumbled because of it; David Beckham in 1998, Wayne Rooney in 2006 and 2010, the future seems to have standout star, Jack Wilshere.
For all the Arsenal midfielder's talent, the expectation must be managed. Arsenal fans have allowed that to happen, with injuries and prolonged recuperation showing that it will be some time until the best of Wilshere is realised, and England must do the same. The pressure has crumbled other players beforehand, and the same could well happen to Wilshere.
A semi-final is a big ask for England, a trophy the tiny light at the end of a very long tunnel that is nearing it's 50th year of existence. One day England may win their first tournament since 1966, but stability and progression is needed, and fast, especially if Dyke's hopes for a 2022 World Cup win in Qatar.
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