4 Young players who could help England dominate world football in the future
The Three Lions of England are one of international football's most traditional teams, sitting in the upper echelons of football's elite countries.
The 'Land of the Queen' pride themselves as the inventors of football, while also having some of the most passionate fans in the world, the oldest football club and Cup competition among others.
It is also home to the Premier League, which is unarguably the most global and marketable football league in the world at the moment, and, it goes without saying that some of the most legendary players in history have donned the national colors of England.
However, for all of the glitz and glamour associated with England, they have woefully underachieved throughout their history, developing a penchant for choking on the biggest stages with the result being that they have very little to show for all of their efforts.
Till date, England has won just one major international trophy - the 1966 Word Cup hosted on home soil, which is a major travesty and looks paltry when placed side by side with other established nations like Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany, France, and Spain.
In the not too distant past, England boasted a host of world-class players affectionately termed as the 'Golden Generation' and included the likes of Gerrard, Lampard, Beckham, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and John Terry - all established players in their own right who could genuinely claim to be among the best in their respective positions during their prime.
It is no hidden secret that this squad woefully underperformed, failing to make it to even a semifinal of a major tournament which led to a general public apathy towards the national team.
A change in approach was needed, and the country started placing an emphasis on promotion of youth, establishing numerous training facilities across the nation tasked with the identification and development of young players following the German template from the start of the millennium.
The results have paid immense dividends, as England's U20 team triumphed in the 2017 World Cup (which was their first major international honor of any kind since 1966) and they followed that up by winning the U17 World Cup late that year.
In Gareth Southgate, the country has a manager who is unafraid of giving youth a chance, evidenced by his very young squad that defied expectations and made it all the way to the semi-finals of the last World Cup.
A few months later, they qualified for the semi-finals of the first ever UEFA Nations League after impressively topping a group also containing Word Cup runners up Croatia and perennial heavyweights Spain.
Their displays have returned a feel-good factor to the English national team and gotten fans believing in the team once again especially given how young the squad is. In this piece, we shall be taking a look at four players aged 21 and under who could be the driving force of England's future.
Honorable mentions - Dominic Solanke (21years), Ben Chilwell (21 years), Rhian Brewster (18 years)
#4. Declan Rice (West Ham United) - 20 years
Declan Rice has been receiving steady attention as one of the fastest rising stars in the Premier League owing to his displays for West Ham.
The 20-year-old only made his professional debut as a substitute on the last day of the 2016/2017 Premier League season, but he has gone on to integrate himself as a key member of The Hammers team.
Having represented the Republic of Ireland (courtesy his grandparents) across all youth levels, Rice made the controversial decision to switch allegiance to England.
He was handed his competitive debut by Southgate when he came on as a substitute in the European qualifier against the Czech Republic and made his first start against Montenegro four days later, with his displays earning him rave reviews.
Comfortable in the middle of the park or at center-back, Rice has been compared favorably to the legendary Steven Gerrard and if he is to continue with this trajectory, he is bound to have a long career with England like the Liverpool icon (maybe with a few trophies to boot).