Well now we know that our “beloved” new generation won’t be competing any further after a 3-1 loss, with us only really needing a point to advance to the Semi’s. An overall disappointing turn of events in a competition that England looked to be fairly good odd’s in progressing to the latter stages, in which two goals, one a meagre consolation effort from Nathan Redmond, and the other being a late goal for Jesse Lingard against the Swedes, has seen us drop out.
I wouldn’t count myself avid fan of England, countless years of being largely disappointed, which predominantly stems from the journalistic hype machine, but given the recent years of turning up for matches to see us peter out a turgid “1-0”, “3-0 against some lowly-rated European team” or “no score draw with someone who we should be beating” has lead my focus pointed towards our future.
After seeing Lewis Baker do so well as Under-20’s captain, I was hoping to see more of the same for Chelsea youth prospects in Chalobah and Loftus-Cheek by ensuring that we make a good go of our latest and greatest youngsters at a pivotal stage. I agree “Pivotal stage” is a bit overwhelming but given that in the last two outings in the Under 21’s Euro’s we’ve yet to accomplish anything relevant. Stuart Pearce’s 2009 side did extremely well and given that the ol’ salt in-the-wound 4-0 defeat in the final against Germany, we’re unable to replicate anything similar.
A telling note from the team that played on the day in 2009 is that only Joe Hart is a mainstay in the England side and a first choice in a Champions League team side. Yes Milner and Walcott played in this competition, but when you compare that from that side majority ply their trade in either League One or Two whilst four players from the Germany side in Ozil, Hummels, Neuer and Boateng have a year ago, you know, won the World Cup, it reflects terribly.
What’s worse is the fact that whether it be a players decision, coaches decision or the F.A’s in not to bring larger, more renowned names like Sterling, Shaw or even Tom Ince (who went on record saying that he wouldn’t accept another Under 21 cap) to the big stage, we were forced to play a side with very limited or faded experience of a bit part player.
Tom Ince, for all his quality, has the attitude of an MTV generation, born-into-money brat that’s career is in the sole responsibility of a man with an ego the size of one of Jupiter’s moons. Much was made of David Bentley (rest in peace his footballing career) when he did the same, but the uproar for Ince was almost accepted. WHY? De Gea, one of the world’s greatest keepers alongside Thiago played in the 2013 final. William Carvalho was in the World Cup last season and ter Stegen has just won the Champions League with Barcelona.
Dreary performances in which England didn’t play to their strengths, i.e not being direct enough and not using a central forward partnership until it was too late. Majority of us that was tortured by the sight of a lacklustre England was hoping to see players like Harry Kane repeat his season’s heroics, but was chasing balls and reverted back to gaining the ball far too deep into the field to make chances and Danny Ings, with all the interest showed in him wasn’t shown from Gareth Southgate’s point of view was left to wallow on the subs bench.
Going back to Chalobah, his career is at a cross-roads. Doing excellently whilst out being thrust into his first maiden season at Watford but then has struggled to match those heights and has featured in sporadic tours of the Championship, featuring for Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest and most recently Reading. His performances were poor, his dynamism waned from the start and for all people wondering where are the “celebrity” under 21 players in Raheem Stirling, Ross Barkley and Jack Wilshere as they would have made this tournament worthwhile, apparently not deemed worthy of Southgate’s final 23.
The same goes for Michael Keane, Jesse Lingard, Tom Carroll and I can almost see it happening for emerging talent in Alex Pritchard and Dele Alli. The loan system for all intents and purposes, serves clubs in the Championship and League One than it does in guiding younger players. Our overpriced English player bias has also heightened the brat attitude, I mean as we speak players that have ghosted through this competition with the likes of Callum Chambers, Carl Jenkinson and Jake Butland are all being touted for big season’s with bigger teams. For every tabloid newspaper that contains red ink in the Header has Harry Kane or John Stones moving to a big-four, but where were these players come three weeks ago?
Southgate has been given a volley of abuse from social media and journalists alike from the performances in Czech Republic, but the F.A have deemed him to have one more shot. I don’t necessarily blame him, I think it’s the whole countries fault. Not yours per say, Mr/Mrs reader, but the hype train, the sensationalist media and the can’t touch me attitude is having a terrible effect on what’s to come. That said, I think Nathan Redmond’s a cracking player, the next Golden boy.
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