Is it the end of an era for English football? Following the emergence of young players such as Gary Cahill, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverly, Phil Jones to name but a few, has the time come for the ‘veteran’ internationals to step down?
Much has been made of Frank Lampard’s omission from the England side that beat Bulgaria last Friday. Most of the media have speculated that it is the end of the line for Lampard and the players of his generation- Gerrard, Terry, Ferdinand. There is no doubt, the future looks bright for the Three Lions especially considering the performances of these young players in the Premier League. The problem though over the years has been converting those displays for clubs into performances for England. England could have been a lot more successful in recent years if their players had performed as well as they had been for their club. It is a known fact though that players who pull on the English jersey seem not to play to their potential and as a result they have failed to win a major competition since the much talked about 1966 World Cup.
They have produced some of the World’s best players and clubs but cannot seem to find the right formula to produce as a national side no matter who the manager is. The question and the hope of their supporters is can the next generation of players do what their heroes couldn’t do and perform on the big occasion whilst wearing the famous white kit.
I could name countless young English players who have caught the eye of the last year in the Premier League and most have started to emerge from the U21 squad into the full squad. The last week saw Chris Smalling, another U21 graduate make his debut, following the likes of Wilshere, Welbeck, Hart and Henderson in recent months to earn their first England cap. You could name a whole England team who are under the age of 23 and are all good enough to probably qualify for a major tournament, that is if they perform together but the difference between this set of players and the previous generation is these players have played with each other in an England jersey before. Yes that might not make the difference but it certainly is a start. The question is can Lampard, Gerrard, Ferdinand, Terry, Cole still get selected to start the games. If the youngsters keep performing, then what is stopping Capello or the next England boss to over look the older players and pick youth for a fresh start?
In my opinion, following England’s dismal display against Wales, Barry, Lampard and the likes should all be dropped for the younger stars. Some might say they lack experience but if they are playing week in week out in the world’s best league then why can’t they play for their county at a tender age? I can’t see Capello taking the risk as he is an Italian and will pick the experienced players but a new English manager could see it differently.
So, click on the link below to view my England team..
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By Ryan Bailey, @ryanbaileysport