17th November 2017.
With the World Cup just around the corner, there is a lot of excitement and hype bubbling on the surface of fans. It is not in full swing yet, given we are in November, but it is noticeable.
Like with any tournament England are enrolled in, there are expectations of the Three Lions to perform, and each time they seem to fail worse than the previous. The England fans are certainly at ends with England’s senior team, especially under Roy Hodgson when England crashed out of the European Championships to Iceland, but Gareth Southgate might well start to change the reputation – slowly, but surely.
For England football, nothing appears to be a quick fix. England fans thought they hit the jackpot when a truly passionate manager in Sam Allardyce came along – only to find out the former Crystal Palace manager was sacked over a video which portrays Big Sam giving advice on how to circumvent the rules of third party ownership.
After Big Sam’s sacking, along came Southgate, who used to manage the England U21s. It seemed a very easy appointment to make at the time, but it now appears the FA Board made the right decision in hiring him.
What has been ever so promising is the former players’ use of young players. In just this past international break, the likes of Tammy Abraham, Joe Gomez and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were brought into the first-team for England’s game against Brazil (which ended 0-0).
Success of England Youth Teams
It seems England’s future is bright, whether they want to admit it or not – with the hope of expectations not exponentially rising.
Over the past year, England have enjoyed great success at youth level.
- U17 Euros: Final
- U17 World Cup: Winners
- U18-20 Toulon Tournament: Winners
- U19 Euros: WinnersU20 World Cup: Winners
- U21 Euros: Semis
It has been a truly magnificent time for young, English players. What you would hope would happen is that Premier League clubs notice such riches of talent and start to feature them more heavily in the match day squads. Of course, the youngest ones, like Phil Foden and Rhian Brewster, are not going to be near the Manchester City and Liverpool starting XIs, purely because they are both 17.
However, for some of the others, it would be disappointing to see those players continually trapped in the ‘loan bubble’, where players are sent primarily to the Championship, or lower, to gain their stripes. If anything, a move abroad could not hurt them if the clubs were going to continue this trend.
Perhaps for some of these youngsters, the majority of their football could well come for Southgate’s England. Players like Tammy Abraham, who is on-loan at Swansea from Chelsea, might well be featured more times for England’s senior team than he will be playing under Antonio Conte.
Gareth Southgate Can Lead these Promising Youngsters to Success
There is no doubt about it that Southgate has an incredible wealth of talent in his young Lions, and what the benefit of having the ex-Middlesbrough man in charge, is that he has previously worked with a lot of the younger players. Having that relationship already built is going to be a huge beneficiary, given these players will have a lot of pressure on their shoulders.
But to know that Southgate is someone they know, recognise and respect, is something that will help them through the process from youth football to the senior team.
There is also a reason why Germany, Spain and especially Italy are now taking note of England’s youngsters, who are always being loaned out. Reece Oxford took the brave step of going out on-loan to German side Borussia Monchengladbach this season, which will be more common each season.
Southgate is hitting the right strides and doing well with England. He has a resolute defence – as shown in their 0-0 draws against Germany and Brazil – and the transition into attack will come with more playing time.
No one should be expecting England to win the World Cup next year, but there should be a vast improvement on their campaign than in 2014.
This article was written by Liam Canning for Soccer Box, where you can shop for all the official England football shirts, shorts, socks and training kit ahead of Russia 2018.