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What is next for the England under 21 squad?

With the World Cup approaching Roshane Thomas looks at which of the Under-21s have what it takes to force their way into Roy Hodgson’s senior team.

The Boot Room



It has been a poor summer for the England Under 21 squad. After failing to showcase their talent at the European Under-21 Championship, held in Israel, they subsequently finished bottom of their group.
With the World Cup approaching I will take a look at which of the Under-21s have what it takes to force their way into Roy Hodgson’s senior team.
Name: Jack Butland
Position: Goalkeeper
Age: 20
Club: Stoke City
With Manchester City‘s Joe Hart set to become England’s No.1 keeper for a number of years, Butland hasn’t done himself any harm in giving three Lions boss Roy Hodgson a selection dilemma.
The 20 year-old, who has one senior England cap, pulled of a string of fine performances for Birmingham City last season, which resulted in Stoke City luring the shot-stopper to the Britannia Stadium.
However, Butland failed to impress during this summers’ U21 Championship which has cast doubt over whether he can regain his place in Hodgson’s senior team. But if the former Cheltenham Town loanee can continue his development at Stoke City this campaign, it could quite possibly earn him a place in next summer’s World Cup.
Name: Danny Rose
Position: Left back
Age: 23
Danny Rose had a solid spell out on loan at Sunderland last season. The 23 year-old was guaranteed first-team football, which would have most certainly boosted his confidence levels.
But now he is back at Spurs the left-back will have limited playing time under Villas-Boas this term and should seek a move elsewhere in order to showcase his ability. With Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines the only recognized left-backs in the senior team, and nearing the end of their careers Rose has a brilliant chance to force his into Hodgson’s England squad.
Name: Craig Dawson
Position: Centre back
Age: 23
Club: West Brom
Since his switch to West Brom in 2010 from Rochdale, Dawson has only made nine appearances for the Baggies. The centre-half has featured heavily in their U21 side for the past two years, but has yet to prove himself in the top-flight.
Dawson should seek a move elsewhere in order to gain valuable playing time. The Championship would be a ideal level for him, as he enjoyed a brief spell on loan at Bolton Wanderers last season where he netted four goals in 16 appearances.
Name: Steven Caulker
Position: Centre back
Age: 21
Club: Tottenham
This will be a massive season for Caulker. The centre-back has impressed at Spurs when given the chance by Villas-Boas. He is good enough to be a first team player for the North London club, and has to perform consistently to boost his chances in earning a place in next summer’s World Cup squad.
The 21 year-old made a perfect introduction into his England career when he scored on his senior debut against Sweden. With no recognised central paring in Hodgson’s starting eleven this gives Caulker a great chance to regain his place in the heart of defence.
Name: Nathaniel Clyne
Age: 22
Position: Right back
The highly-rated right-back had a solid debut season at Southampton with many tipping the former Palace man to become one of the best full-backs in the division.
It will be hard for Clyne to force his way into Hodgson’s England squad with the likes of Kyle Walker, Glen Johnson and Micah Richards already challenging for the right-back position.
However, if the 22 year-old keeps performing well for the Saints that will put him in good stead for a selection in Hodgson’s England squad for next summer’s World Cup.
Name: Jordan Henderson
Age: 23
Position: Midfielder
Club: Liverpool
Since his big money switch to Liverpool from Sunderland in 2011 Henderson has found it hard to perform consistently for the Reds. He has been capped five times for England but I doubt he will be able to add to that anytime soon.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has made a number of signings so far in this transfer window – as they aim to clinch a top-four finish. It looks set to be a massive season for Henderson but I don’t think he is good enough yet to merit a place in the England squad.
Name: Jonjo Shelvey
Age: 21
Position: Midfielder
Club: Swansea City
Jonjo Shelvey had a miserable tournament at the European Under-21 Championship. Nonetheless, this did not deter Swansea City from clinching a £6m move for the midfielder.
Now the 21 year-old is at a new club where he will play regular first-team football it will further strengthen his development – and surely boost his confidence levels.
I believe Shelvey will feature in the England squad in the future but with his recent switch to Swansea he will need time to settle – which may subsequently result in the ex-Charlton Athletic trainee missing out on a place in next summer’s World Cup squad.
Name: Tom Ince
Age: 21
Position: Winger
Club: Blackpool – set to join Cardiff City
Tom Ince looks set to join Premier League newcomers Cardiff City for a fee believed to be in the region of £6m.
A move to the Premier League would be brilliant for the 21 year-old as a possible switch to the Bluebirds will guarantee the former Liverpool trainee first-team football.
Ince looks set to have a bright future, and if he can continue his fine form which we all saw at Blackpool last season he could be called up to the senior England team in the near future.
Name: Nathaniel Chalobah
Age: 18
Position: Midfielder
Club: Chelsea
Chalobah had a fantastic loan spell at Watford last season where they narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League.
The 18 year-old scored five goals in 38 appearances for the Hornets and has been capped seven times for the England U21 side. I don’t think Chalobah is ready to force his into the first-team at Chelsea this term – but another loan spell at a Championship club will be very beneficial for the youngster.
The strong and athletic the Chelsea midfielder is destined to have a bright career and possesses all the right attributes to become a England captain in the future.
Name: Nathan Redmond
Age: 19
Position: Winger
Club: Norwich City
Redmond has recently signed for Norwich City for £3.2m on a four-year deal following a memorable season at Birmingham City last campaign.
Despite a poor showing from England in the U21 European Championship Redmond performed relatively well, highlighting why Canaries boss Chris Hughton was desperate to sign the youngster.
I have no doubt Redmond will earn his place at senior level he just needs to knuckle down and continue working hard. It will be a huge season for the 19 year-old.
Name: Josh McEachran
Age: 20
Position: Midfielder
Club: Chelsea
When McEachran made his debut for Chelsea at the tender age of 17 big things were expected from the highly-rated midfielder.
However, despite making 11 appearances for the Blues his progression at the club has stalled and as a result has been loaned out to Swansea and Middlesborough in order to get game time.
The next move for the 20 year-old will be vital. There is no doubt McEachran is a fine player but he needs to go to a club where he develop into a top player.
Name: Wilfried Zaha
Age: 20
Position: Winger
The former Crystal Palace star has already earned a senior cap for England and will most certainly add to that in the future. Zaha will be out to impress Manchester United manager David Moyes this term following his £15m move to Old Trafford.
The highly-rated winger was named Championship Player of the Year as he played a pivotal role in helping Palace clinch promotion to the Premier League.
Looks set to be a huge season for the 20 year-old.
Name: Connor Wickham
Age: 20
Position: Striker
Club: Sunderland
Connor Wickham was hailed as being the next big thing in English football when he burst onto the scene at Ipswich. He then transfered to Sunderland for £8m but has struggled to make any real impact at the Stadium of Light.
Wickham then had a brief loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday where he scored once in six appearances. Nevertheless. the former Ipswich star is still just 20 and has plenty of time to develop.
But right now the Sunderland striker isn’t good enough for the Premier League as well as the England senior team.
Name: Marvin Sordell
Age: 22
Position: Striker
Club: Bolton Wanderers
Sordell showed bags of potential during his playing days at Watford. But since his switch to Bolton the striker has failed to hit the ground running.
With the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney in the senior team the 22 year-old will find it hard forcing his way into Hodgson’s England squad.


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

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



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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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



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?


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.


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.


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


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,


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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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



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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