FIFA U-17 World Cup: England’s ‘gen-next’ welcome change for Three Lions fans

first_imgEngland has a huge fan following around the world thanks to the Premier League but over the years have only disappointed them.From getting knocked out in the group stages of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to being eliminated by Iceland two years later in France at the Euros in France, the team has failed to live up to the expectation each and every time in a world tournament. And their football perhaps hit a new low when the national team qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia in front of a half-empty Wembley.The belief is that the country has given up on Gareth Southgate’s boys because they know that year after year, the Lions lead the pack in qualifying but fail to make a major impact in finals. It was believed that the ‘Golden Generation’ of England with the likes of David Beckham, Michael Owen, Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard, etc. under Sven-Goran Eriksson, Fabio Capello and the likes, will finally get them some glory after the 1966 World Cup winning side led by Sir Bobby Charlton. But nothing happened. Time flew, the players went and all that remained was — disappointment.Reuters Photo GEN-NEXTHowever, as speculative and optimistic one might say, there is a little belief that the upcoming breed of footballers can get something for the nation.The senior team rests on the shoulder of Harry Kane, who has been single handedly carrying the hopes for the Three Lions with some support from fellow Spurs man Dele Alli. But the likes of Marcus Rashford and an in-form Raheem Sterling provide an exciting prospect up top for the Tottenham man. But, I’m actually not talking about the immediate future.advertisementThen?Well, we need to go back a little deeper into age-group football to see the light. England won the U-20 World Cup in June and the youngsters played brilliant football to lift their first major trophy in quite a while.The likes of Tottenham’s Joshua Onomah and Kyle Walker-Peters, Everton’s Ademola Lookman and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Liverpool’s Dominic Solanke and Sheyi Ojo and Newcastle’s Adam Armstrong were all part of the squad. Right after them come the likes of Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham (on loan to Swansea) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (on loan to Crystal Palace), Leicetser’s Ben Chilwell and Demarai Gray, Everton’s Tom Davies and so on. And not to mention the likes of Lookman, Calvert-Lewin and Solanke, who also represent the U21s regularly.Reuters Photo U-17 STARSThe one’s mentioned above are all on the fringes of their respective Premier League clubs and play an active part in cup competitions. To add to the exciting crop of players, the U-17 boys have made quite an impact as well in the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup.The young guns hammered Chile in their first match and the ‘poster-boys’ — yes! They have more than one — were brilliant. Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, Manchester United’s Angel Gomes, Manchester City’s Phil Foden and Chelsea’s George McEachran and Callum Hudson-Odoi all grabbed eyeballs at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.What a start to the World Cup! 2 goals ?? n 1 assist n 3 points! Great overall performance from the team today! @England ?????? Jadon Sancho (@Sanchooo10) October 8, 2017While Sancho and Foden ran the show from the flanks, Gomes came on from the bench and did some neat tricks and flicks before scoring from a free-kick that would make David Beckham proud to woo the 40 odd thousand people in Kolkata.The one’s who follow European football, would definitely know of Sancho, whom Dortmund signed from City and handed the No. 7 shirt or Gomes, who replaced Rooney in his last-ever United match — the moment that was touted as the ‘passing of the baton’ by United fans. Even Foden for that matter, enjoyed game-time under Pep Guardiola in the pre-season tour and was largely impressive for the Citizens.What makes these kids special is that they bring back the exciting wing play that English fans love and have been missing for quite some time from a lackluster English side at the top level.The kids are far off from representing England now but some great seasons ahead and experience at the top level and who knows we might be seeing them in the White and Blue of England at Euro 2020 across the 13 cities in 13 different European countries.A team with Kane up front with Dele in behind and the likes of Rashford and Sterling running from the sides and fresh Sancho, Gomes and Foden thrown in late will send shivers down the spines of any team. That’s raw pace with great dribbling a.k.a. nuisance — and the defenders do not like that. Barring France and Belgium, very few teams can boost of such exciting talents coming through all at once and therefore, in a year or two’s time, the English side if managed well and the kids, given enough playtime can develop into world beaters — something even the most diehard English fan in the world can’t say about the current team.advertisementSo, not 2018 but 2020 can finally be England’s year.last_img read more

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