Four youngsters who could inspire England to future glory
It’s finally over. After 23 days, 6 games, 12 goals and even a penalty shoot-out victory, England’s World Cup adventure came to an end last night as Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions were defeated 2-1 in the World Cup semi-final by a more experienced Croatia side after extra-time. Sure, they still have to play Belgium in the 3rd/4th place play-off match, but nobody really cares about that, do they?
With all of that said, this isn’t the time for England fans to feel down. Not only did Southgate’s squad surpass all expectation – most observers saw England as a quarter-final side at best in Russia – but they’re still a very young and largely inexperienced team who can and most likely will improve before the European Championships in 2020 as well as the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
One of the biggest positives? England’s youth teams have utterly bossed the world stage recently, winning the U20 and U17 World Cup tournaments and the U19 European Championships in 2017, and have most recently retained the U21 Toulon Tournament trophy this summer.
That means there’s a long list of talent who could break into England’s senior team at some point in the future – and here are 5 talented youngsters who could help England end their 52 years of hurt next time around.
#1: Ryan Sessegnon
Part of the England U19 squad that won the European Championships in 2017, Ryan Sessegnon was a name rumoured to be included in Southgate’s squad for Russia, although that turned out not to be the case in the end. The idea wasn’t far-fetched though considering the Fulham man’s talents – he simply tore opponents to shreds last season in the Championship, scoring 16 goals and assisting in 8 without missing a single game, all at the age of just 18.
Perhaps the one thing that kept Southgate from including the youngster as a wild card was his lack of experience, particularly at the very top level. After assisting in the winner in the play-off final against Aston Villa though, Sessegnon will now have a chance to prove his talents in the Premier League. After being linked with the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham, it now appears that the starlet will stay at Craven Cottage, and that’s probably a good thing – it guarantees him first-team football and a hell of a lot of experience.
The best thing about Sessegnon? He’s a natural left-footer who can play as a left-back, left-winger or a left wing-back. And with England’s current first choice left wing-back Ashley Young probably at the end of his international career, questions around the fitness of Danny Rose, and Luke Shaw being totally out of the picture, if Sessegnon can get off to a quick start in 2018/19 he could easily be fast-tracked into England’s first team. And given his career trajectory thus far, would you bet against him?