Is the future bright for England?

With next summer’s 2018 world cup fast approaching, is there finally hope for us England fans? The national side are consistently performing well at under 19, under 20 and 21 tournaments with hope the stars of these teams will turn out to be equally as successful for the first team. With English men’s football as a whole having a great summer, here’s why we can all get excited about our country in it’s most beloved sport.

U-19 team:Is the future bright for England?

You may not know (due to lack of media attention) but the England U19 team, this summer won the under 19 European Championships. Our national side beat Portugal 2-1 in the final, thanks to goals from heroes Lukas Nmecha and Easah Suliman. After losing the first game of the tournament to Wales, England then went on to win their next nine games, beating European giants such as Spain, Germany, Portugal and Holland, on their way to glory.

The ones to look out for in the future?

  • Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham). The left sided versatile player, who can play at both left back and left wing had a very promising debut season for the whites in the championship and the national team this summer. He scored 7 goals in 30 appearances for Fulham, and was influential for England this summer, scoring for England in the victories over Bulgaria and Germany in the European Championships. At the incredibly young age of 17 he is already recognised as one of Fulham’s best players. Sessegnon gathered interest from premier league teams Liverpool and Tottenham but the West London side managed to keep hold of their man as he recently secured a contract at the club until 2020.
  • Jay Dasilva (Chelsea). The left back has been a key figure in Chelsea’s conquering youth side since joining the team when he was just 15, winning three FA Youth cups and two UEFA Youth league titles. The 19 year old was described by former Arsenal striker Ian Wright as ‘a better player than any current premier league left back’. Dasilva spent the second half of last season on loan at Charlton and has already shown clear leadership qualities by being the current captain of the England U19 side. He’s already achieved a lot in his career and he’ll be hoping for more success in the near future.

U-20 team:

It really does baffle me that England this summer won a world cup yet nobody batted an eyelid. That’s right the England under 20 side won the world cup in Korea, beating Venezuela 1-0 in the final thanks to Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s goal. The three lions went undefeated throughout the tournament and qualified for the knockout rounds comfortably by topping their group. They beat giants Italy and Argentina comfortably on their way to glory, surprising many along the way with their fantastic football.

The ones to look out for in the future?

  • Dominic Solanke (Liverpool). The versatile forward is tipped for greatness after starring in this summers triumph and Chelsea’s conquering of youth football. However, it’s Liverpool fans who will be singing his name from the Kop after he secured a move there this summer on a free transfer. The striker impressed Jurgen Klopp especially as the striker bagged four goals for his national team on the way to glory. At the tender age of just 17 the forward while on loan at Dutch outfit Vitesse impressively netted 7 goals in 25 appearances in the Eredivisie.
  • Ademola Lookman (Everton). The forward from South London impressed in his time at Charlton and was rewarded with a big money £11 million move to Everton, where he is a big part of Ronald Koeman’s side, most notably scoring on his debut minutes after coming on against Manchester City in a 3-0 win. The winger scored three goals on his way to glory in Korea this summer and he makes up for his slight frame with his skillful tricky play.

U-21 team:

The national team that did get a fair amount of media attention was the England U21 side and their pursuit of European glory in Poland at the European Championships. Despite the other two’s success the under 21 team were not as fortunate. The team exited the tournament at the semi final stage, losing to Germany on penalties unsurprisingly. Although, the team were impressive. Topping their group in the end, getting to a stage of a tournament only the first team could dream of achieving. Positive signs are there and coach Aidy Boothroyd came home reasonably content after getting far in a major tournament and only going out by the narrowest of margins. With these players only a step away from the first team, there are reasons to be positive as an England fan.

The ones to look out for in the future?

  • Jordan Pickford (Everton). The ex-Sunderland goalkeeper recently secured a big money £30 million move to the toffees after Sunderland’s demotion. The goalkeeper impressed at the euros and most notably was key in the vital clean sheet against Sweden, where he smartly saved a penalty, and even went on to gain a place in the team of the tournament after his impressive displays between the posts. He was a sole shining light in Sunderland’s dismal campaign and earned praise throughout the season. In my opinion he should be our England first team number one.
  • Ben Chilwell (Leicester). The left back broke into Leicester’s first team midway through last season and his good form for the foxes continued for the national side, impressing with his dynamic performances and forward thinking play. At the age of just 20 he’s just solidified his place in the Leicester team, so he’ll be thinking why can’t he make that first team slot in the England first team his own in the near future.

Will success be the outcome for the first team?

It’s almost impossible to predict as many factors come into play. The signs are of course positive as no other countries football team performed better across their age groups in the major tournaments this summer than England. Personally I’m looking forward to seeing the likes of Lookman and Sessegnon in the next few years bed into the England first team, and should be a big part of Southgates plans for as soon as the 2020 European Championships. On the other hand, in areas of the first team that are potentially vulnerable, why can’t if Pickford continues his great form at Everton become England’s number one ahead of the inconsistent Joe Hart? And with ageing Vardy’s and Defoe’s international careers looking over why can’t the promising Solanke (providing he has a good season at Liverpool) become second choice behind Harry Kane?

It’s been 51 years since 1966. Can England end that curse in the near future? Who knows as even the early 2000’s ‘golden generation’ of stars Beckham, Lampard, Gerrard, Rooney, Campbell could only manage a semi-finals at best. However, there is though room for positivity after an incredible summer of football for England.

What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below!