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Harry Kane and the Next Generation – Part 2

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So a couple of weeks ago I was writing about Harry Kane’s leading role in the future of English football. This was just after an epic performance in the North London derby and capturing the imagination of the league as the most natural English goal scorer we have seen since Alan Shearer. In fact, even the Geordie icon said Kane has more subtlety to his game than he ever did. No longer is Kane a youngster who deserves his chance over the bigger names in the squad, but is the leading man at White Hart Lane and more English players need to be given that opportunity at international level. Aside from occasionally making the squad and a brief cameo to replace a tired Wayne Rooney in a friendly, players need to be forced into responsibility and grow up as an international calibre player as I really have faith in this new group of English players to produce something worth investment of time.

The squad doesn’t need Jagielka, Lambert or Carroll, it needs fresh players who are getting regular time at Premier League clubs and putting in consistently impressive performance; I’m looking at you Southampton. To really move on the squad requires more than a facelift but a manager who is given carte-blanche to change. Investment in the game at lower levels and a more visible sign of progress from the junior ranks to making it into the senior squad. Endless talk of TV money is not relevant on this topic – however much the tabloids love to get into that – rather we should be looking to reallocate the money already in the game.

Quotas can be talked about all we like, although it makes the most sense to improve the quality of the English youngsters by other means as the last couple of seasons have shown that the game time is available if you are good enough. Bringing in requirements for clubs to name a set number of English players, as championed by the vocal Stan Collymore, would surely be more likely to bring the standard of the English game?  Ideally we want to retain/improve the quality of the league and see English youth improve on the same trajectory. The moves for Micah Richards and possibly Danny Ings abroad would be a welcome change to a pattern that largely sees English players short on technical ability and ambition to want to test themselves in a different league. Anyway, that tangent rant isn’t what this article was meant to be about.

So…

11 of the England squad were picked in the last article, just the midfielders and forwards are left (and the minor issue of a management change). So far we have: Hart, Forster, Foster; Clyne, Walker, Shaw, Cresswell; Stones, Dier, Chambers, Jones. 12 men left to pick for the next squad and a plethora of forward going talent that is available to Hodgson for his next squad with several men starting to show form that should be rewarded.

The midfield, then. A holding midfielder of quality is a tricky area for England right now with Carrick unable to play regularly at United and Gareth Barry’s career on a rapid decline. Jack Wilshere has been employed as a regista in a 4-4-2 diamond recently although he can’t seem to stay fit or away from smoking headlines long enough to get anywhere near the potential that has been talked about for years. England are crying out for a Patrick Vieira-type player to appear from nowhere and give a solidity to the midfield that allows the skilful options to play in front. Mark Noble is a man who can’t seem to do anything to get himself a chance for England and at just 27 could definitely do a job in front of the back four. Noble certainly deserves his chance after his work in the West Ham midfield that has shot them to a certain top half finish and his controlling role in the midfield just needs to be the spring board for attacks.

For me, if Wayne Rooney is to continue in the England side he has to adapt to being a central midfield player otherwise he will be blocking the development path of several strikers, most importantly Kane and Ings. Whether he can fit into the squad or not is debateable and 2018 seems a long way off for the 30-year old. Wilshere and Henderson make their way in, the engine of Henderson makes him versatile and has even been used as a right wing-back under Rodgers that gives flexibility. Wilshere still has the potential to become anything, whether he sees his career developing from a deeper role or as a 10. Playing in the 10 seems unlikely with the number of brilliant 10s at Arsenal. The final central midfield slot goes to another one from the remarkable production line at Southampton.

James Ward-Prowse provides exceptional set piece delivery and can be moved around the midfield having been brought up with the midfield fluidity at St Mary’s. Whether in a 4-2-2-2, Ward-Prowse can play as a deep-lying playmaker or a 4-3-3 can play in a more advanced role and utilise the electric pace in front of him. The midfield may be inexperience, but that’s the nature of a squad who has held onto Carrick, Barry, Lampard and Gerrard’s international careers for years too long. The lack of a high calibre deep midfielder is worrying for now, but England’s future must look to the attacking talent and give fans a reason to want to watch rather than scraping a 2-1 against every side they ever face. As a massive James Milner fan, his inclusion would usually come ahead of Henderson’s.

Ward-Prowse, Wilshere, Henderson, Noble

Now the joy (not sarcastic this once) of England’s future with attacking midfielders. They seem to be coming out from all over the place with even Jordon Ibe putting him some mature performances for Liverpool lately. Ross Barkley’s injuries and lack of a consistent position have damaged his development somewhat, being thrown out wide or tried deeper by Roberto Martinez he is crying out to be behind a striker in a 4-2-3-1. Barkley may also be struggling with playing behind a similarly inexperienced and immature player in Romelu Lukaku; England would still be foolish to alienate him from the squad. Raheem Sterling still has his long-term future as a wide man or a 10 despite doing well to fill in for Daniel Sturridge recently and his England position needs to be used to stretch the game with Oxlade-Chamberlain on the other flank. Chamberlain is another who has struggled for regular minutes or to find form or consistency and England needs to be his platform for experience at the highest level. Walcott has begun to make his return from injury and the additional goal threat he offers warrants a place in the squad as England look to play at a higher tempo and expose the lack of pace in international defences.

Sterling, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Barkley, Walcott

The next generation has such a spread of talents that the Championship can boast, too. Will Hughes will be hoping to make his name in the Premier League soon (would be tempted to give him an England opportunity regardless) whilst Nathan Redmond’s quick feet have attracted the attention of many potential Premier League suitors.

Now, to avoid boring you all to tears further I will save the debate on the strikers for a fortnight’s time. Pretty sure you already know one of them and the shape of the side, with versatility as important as anything.

The Boot Room is a football analysis website, bringing original and creative content to the fans of the English Football League.

Arsenal

Three Arsenal youngsters who could help England bring football home in 2022

The Gunners’ academy continues to develop some of the very best youngsters.

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Arsenal
Photo: Getty Images

After a successful tournament got the nation dreaming, England fell at the penultimate at the World Cup and may require Arsenal‘s help in 2022.

Gareth Southgate’s youthful squad exceeded pre-tournament expectations and suddenly Greg Dyke’s objectives for the 2022 World Cup seem within grasp – and the Three Lions now have four years to build towards glory in Qatar.

Come November 2022, when FIFA has confirmed the World Cup will commence, Southgate is likely to call upon a number of the players who starred for the Three Lions in Russia but changes to his squad are also inevitable.

“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.”

– FA Chairman Greg Dyke reveals his ambitious plan in 2013.

Fortunately, English football is breaming with exciting young talent at the moment and Arsenal may hold the key to success with three of their most highly-rated prospects.

Eddie Nketiah

Bursting onto the scene in November 2017, Eddie Nketiah became an instant hit at the Emirates Stadium after netting twice against Norwich City in the Carabao Cup. Since then, the 19-year-old forward has gone on to make three Premier League appearances.

Competition for places at Arsenal is fierce, particularly following the captures of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the past 12 months, which means he may have to be patient to get his chance – but the situation is entirely different on the international stage.

In four England U21 appearances, Nketiah has scored two goals, per TransferMarkt stats, following on from eight goals in eight games at U18 level and four goals in two games for the U17 side. In just over a year, Nketiah rose to Aidy Boothroyd’s U21 ranks from the U17’s and shows no signs of stopping his rise.

(Photo by Bertrand Langlois/Getty Images)

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Becoming a regular for Arsenal in Arsene Wenger’s final season at the Emirates Stadium, Ainsley Maitland-Niles showed his versatility by catching the eye playing as a full-back. His natural position is in midfield though and this is where he could be of value to England.

It is fair to say that England’s options in the middle of the park sitting in front of the defence are extremely limited, with neither Jordan Henderson or Eric Dier doing enough to cement their spot in the position for the long-term.

Maitland-Niles could become the man England are looking for in the coming years and further first-team experience with Arsenal looks set to follow under Unai Emery, as the 20-year-old penned a new long-term deal with the Gunners last month.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Reiss Nelson

Arsenal fans have been excited about 18-year-old Reiss Nelson for a while now and saw the teenager break into the fringes of the first-team last term, as Whoscored data shows he finished the campaign with 15 appearances across all competitions.

Eight of those opportunities came as a starter, including two in the Premier League, and there is every chance Nelson could earn further action under the guidance of Unai Emery next term – especially as Alex Iwobi has not done enough to warrant continued action.

Should the Nigeria international continue to suffer with poor form, the eight-cap England U19 international could be Arsenal’s breakthrough star of the year – following in the footsteps of players like Maitland-Niles, Jack Wilshere and Hector Bellerin.

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England

Who will bring football home? England’s predicted World Cup 2022 squad

Players from Everton, Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester United and even Bristol City feature.

Mathew Nash

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England were desperately close to making it into the World Cup final, after defeat to Croatia in the semi-finals.

The Three Lions did however bring back some pride and promise from the long-suffering England fans.

With England also the World Under-17 and Under-20 Champions, the future is brighter than ever.

So who will be at the World Cup in 2022?

It seems impossible to guess four years in advance. Not many would have suggested the likes of Jordan Pickford, Harry Maguire or Jesse Lingard four years ago.

(Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

The squad, hopefully, will not change much and the experienced players in the squad will likely still be around.

However, for the sake of the article and debate, anyone who will be over 30 in 2022 has been ignored. That leaves Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jamie Vardy and Danny Welbeck in the cold, even if some of them will likely be present.

Eric Dier also got nudged out, as his form recently has been a concern and Nick Pope has been replaced.

So who makes the XI and the overall squad of 23?

GOALKEEPERS

Jordan Pickford

The Everton stopper cemented his place as England’s new number one during the quarter-final triumph over Sweden. Highly-rated by club and country and with excellent distribution it will be no surprise if he remains England’s first-choice in 2022.

(Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

Jack Butland

What a deputy. The Stoke City goalkeeper could easily be our number one. The Potters relegation will hopefully not set him back and he should push Pickford for years to come.

Angus Gunn

The son of a Scotland international has so far rejected their international calls. Recently joined Southampton for £13.5 million and will hope to cement his place as a Premier League regular.

Honourable mentions: Nick Pope, Freddie Woodman, Dean Henderson.

DEFENDERS

John Stones

Despite one lapse of concentration which cost England crucially against Croatia the Manchester City man was excellent in Russia.

If he maintains a starting place at City and his career is not derailed, then Stones will be one of the leaders in Qatar.

Harry Maguire

Became a national hero this summer. A swashbuckling defender with an eye for a goal and a great meme. Should be a multi-cap England international.

Joe Gomez

Replacing Kyle Walker as the pace-man in a back three is Liverpool’s Gomez. If he can combat his recent injury troubles he will be a certain future England player. Remember how he shackled Neymar back in November.

Jamaal Lascelles

For many people, the Newcastle captain should have been in Russia ahead of Phil Jones or Gary Cahill.

Rightly so. A brilliant leader who would slot into a back three perfectly and deserves to be in the England fold for the next four years.

(during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Arsenal at St. James Park on April 15, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Dael Fry

The Middlesbrough defender is one inclusion that may cause derision. But this lad is extremely talented.

A reliable defender, good with the ball at his feet and a favourite at St George’s Park. Fry will hope to emerge as an England hopeful in the years to come.

Honourable mentions: Eric Dier, Alfie Mawson, Michael Keane, Ben Wilmot.

FULL-BACKS/WING-BACKS

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Already in the England picture and shone v Belgium. Will likely play in the ¾ play-off this weekend. In four years he might be playing in the final.

Jonjoe Kenny

A tough call this but the Everton defender is like the Kieran Trippier to Alexander-Arnold’s Walker-like characteristics.

Whilst the Liverpool man has the pace and the power Kenny is more deliberate and his crossing is fantastic.

A favourite with the England youth management and the eventual successor to Seamus Coleman at Goodison Park.

Honourable mentions: Kyle Walker-Peters, Dujon Sterling, Steven Sessegnon.

Ryan Sessegnon

A shoe-in for 2022 if he remains fit and healthy. The Fulham star is perhaps England’s most exciting prospect.

He might even be considered an attacker by 2022 but for now, he would be an excellent left wing-back and will hopefully make his England bow this season.

(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Joe Bryan

This might be the biggest swing and potential miss in the squad. The Bristol City star is wanted by a host of clubs this summer after his fantastic form at Ashton Gate.

But he is a hard-working and super-fit young man who, given the right opportunities, is easily capable of playing for his nation.

Honourable mentions: Lewis Gibson, Luke Shaw, Ben Chilwell

MIDFIELDERS

Lewis Cook

Absolutely adored by the England camp the Bournemouth man has already made his England debut. More positive in his passing than Jordan Henderson and more dynamic than Eric Dier, he is surely the future of England’s composed holding role.

Harry Winks

Set for a big break at Tottenham this season he has the potential to be an England star. If he can overcome his current injury trouble he would seem like being a shoe-in for 2022.

Phil Foden

England lacked a midfielder who could pick the locks of the Croatia defence in the semi-finals. This is the young man to do just that. The Manchester City youngster needs to break into the first-team fold but given what he has already achieved that should not be a problem.

(Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

A lot depends on his next move, as Chelsea does not seem to be the right place for RLC to develop.

Showed in all his England performances that he is a talent to keep an eye on for the future and England will surely nurture him.

Dele Alli

May not have set the world alight in Russia, but the Tottenham star’s talent cannot be overlooked.

If he can get to the level he is capable of, then Alli is a 100-cap man with ease.

Jesse Lingard

Can he continue to prove people wrong for another four years?

Excellent at the World Cup and been in fine form for Manchester United. If he continues to progress in this way, then he should still be in the England set-up four years from now.

James Maddison

A tough choice considering the wealth of attacking midfield talent but the Leicester newbie seems the most likely to reach the levels necessary to play at a World Cup.

The £24 million talent can play a number of positions and is a special talent the Premier League will enjoy watching next term.

Honourable mentions: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Nathaniel Chalobah, Ross Barkley, Jack Grealish, Kieran Dowell,

FORWARDS

Raheem Sterling

He divided opinion among some at this summer’s World Cup. But under the guidance of Pep Guardiola he will continue to improve.

Whether out wide or through the middle, England will surely stick by the attacker.

(Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Harry Kane

The nation’s current captain and front-runner for the Golden Boot award at this summer’s tournament it is hard to see how he won’t lead the line again in four years time.

If he keeps going at his current rate, Kane will surely take Wayne Rooney’s goal-scoring record for England.

Ademola Lookman

Some felt the Everton attacker was unlucky not to go this summer. After thriving on loan at RB Leipzig it seemed he might make a late lunge.

This summer is big for Lookman. He needs to decide where is best to carry on his career which could be key to a future England career.

Marcus Rashford

The Manchester United talent can surely only get better. If he can become a regular starter, wherever he happens to play his club football then the teenager will hope to secure a place in Qatar.

Honourable mentions: Dominic Solanke, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Eddie Nketiah.

Who did we miss? Can England bring football home in 2022?

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England

Three Everton players who could help England bring football home in 2022

Everton have a long list of top talents coming through that could make it into the England team.

Mathew Nash

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England are out of the World Cup following defeat against Croatia in the semi-finals last night. But the future looks bright for England. They had the second youngest team in the tournament and are the current under-20 and under-17 World Champions.

So who could help them bring football home at Qatar 2022?

When looking at Everton’s current crop, it is hard to pick just one.

Ademola Lookman is an excellent attacker, although could be on his way. Callum Connolly’s versatility makes him a manager’s dream whilst Tom Davies had a brilliant 2016-17 season, even if last term was less impressive.

But here are the three Everton players who might have a chance of heading to Qatar in four years time.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Like England’s summer hero Harry Maguire the 21-year-old came through the ranks at Sheffield United. Since joining Everton his progress has been astonishing.

He is already a hero for England. He scored the winner for England’s under-20s last summer as they won the World Cup.

With striking positions set to be up for grabs in four years time, DCL will no doubt be in the running.

(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Kieran Dowell

The spindly playmaker is adored in the England and Everton set-ups for his God-given natural talent.

Stormed into a loan spell at Nottingham Forest last season, which admittedly dwindled toward the end.

But with his dexterity and ability, only injury and himself could hold Dowell back from making it to Qatar.

(during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Everton at The King Power Stadium on October 29, 2017 in Leicester, England.

Jonjoe Kenny

Dowell’s best mate and England’s trusted right-back at youth level. His cross-city rival Trent Alexander-Arnold may be catching the eye but Kenny is no slouch.

An exquisite crosser of the ball and defensively sound he is the Trippier if Alexander-Arnold is the Walker of England’s future right-back choices.

Like Dowell, eligible for Ireland, so England, must ensure the Everton pair are aware of their pathway.

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