Two more of English football’s so called ‘golden generation will depart these shores this weekend, leaving just John Terry and Michael Carrick as the surviving members of that underperforming England World Cup team of 2006 to carry on in England’s top-tier.
As Frank Lampard and Stephen Gerrard both prepare to bid farewell to the Premier League ahead of their respective moves stateside, to New York and L.A Galaxy, it signals the end of a generation of players which once filled the nation with great hope.
The likes of Gary Neville, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Jamie Carragher, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Joe Cole and Michael Owen-who were all coincidentally born within a six year period of each other between 1975-1980-have either opted to retire or play out the remainder of their careers at lesser teams.
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Despite this breed of players all passing by without reaching their much anticipated potential as a group, we had need not lament. For this season has seen the shoots of a new batch of long-term England
hopefuls coming to fruition.
20 Premier League goals, 30 goals in total for the season and a PFA young player of the year award to boot, it is fair to say that Harry Kane has more then made an impression in his breakthrough season playing in the top flight. That is of course without making a mention of his call-up to the England senior team, in which Kane scored just 79 seconds into his debut after coming on as a substitute in the 4-0 win over Lithuania.
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Finishing up as the highest scoring English player in the Premier League, and second only to Sergio Aguero as the overall highest scorer, his goal tally is all the more impressive when taken into consideration that he barely made an appearance in the league until Novemeber. Since then Tottenham
have never looked beyond him.
A show of faith from his manager has been matched by a consistent flurry of goals from the 21-year-old who has even drawn comparisons to former England captain, Alan Shearer, in his style of play. His impeccable positional play in and around the box, aerial dominance, and the ability to score with
either foot make it easy to see why.
Although not blessed with blistering pace his ability to out-smart defenders with a combination of strength and positioning makes him a difficult opponent for opposition defences and bodes well for future international success.
Due to participate in the England U21 squad this summer, his involvement is sure to aid his development as a player who will have high expectations set upon him next season.
In footballing years, at 24 years old Nathaniel Clyne is no spring chicken. By no means should he either be considered an old player, however by today’s standards when youngsters can break into the international scene in their late teens, Clyne is somewhat of an elder statesmen in comparison.
Yet despite his late blooming, as an ever present feature in the Southampton line-up in this season’s revolution at St. Mary’s, Clyne’s continual presence in the back four has coincided with Southampton having the joint best defensive record in the league alongside champions Chelsea.
Assured in procession of the ball and able to provide attacking intent along the right wing, Clyne has played his way into Roy Hodgson’s future England plans making four appearances at right-back this
season for the national side.
Such has been the sensational rise in form of Clyne this season that even a potential move to Manchester United has been mooted to occur this summer. After finally displaying his full potential that has been apparent for some years now, Saint’s fans will hope they can hang onto their man for a while longer.
And the rest
Alongside the likes of Ryan Mason as well as the slightly more established talents of John Stones and Ross Barkley, Kane and Clyne are signalling that a batch of players born between 1991-1997 are ready to take the mantle from the ‘golden generation’. Whilst the like of Gerrard, Lampard and co. Will be
sorely missed, with this new depth of talent emerging they may quickly be forgotten.