For England the World Cup is over. The dream this time never got started as England finished with a 0-0 draw against Costa Rica to claim a solitary point in their campaign. Nonetheless there is hope that the young players that played in this tournament point to a brighter future for England. However for that future to come to pass these players must start to realise their potential, and it starts with the upcoming domestic and Euro 2016 qualifying campaigns
Each of the young players must improve and start to perform for both club and country and here is what each must do to ensure England move forward from this World Cup and do not end up repeating the cycle in four years’ time in Russia.
England’s Young Stars
Jack Wilshere – Wilshere needs to stamp his authority on games both for Arsenal and England this season. Taking control of an Arsenal midfield that incorporates players like Arteta, Carzorla, Ramsey and Ozil, will be no mean feat but Wilshere has the skill to do it. At 22 it is time for Wilshire to stop being England’s future and become its present. This means stepping up at international level when pulling on the Three Lions of England and putting in performances that match those for his club, something that his predecessors of the golden generation, Gerrard and Lampard, were all too guilty of failing to do on too many occasions.
Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana – A lot of speculation surrounds Southampton’s two young England stars. Both may very well be playing in different shirts come the end of the Transfer Window, with Lallana heavily linked with Liverpool and Shaw with a move to Manchester United. If they make those moves they will need to raise their performances to match their new clubs. These two players can ill afford to be playing for the reserves most of the season as it will most likely lead to them being fringe players at best for England.
Ross Barkley – Barkley needs to keep developing and playing games, so despite talks of a move to Chelsea or one of the Manchester Clubs, it might be best for him to stay at Everton for the time being, even if he has ambitions elsewhere. Everton had a very strong campaign last season and will look to follow that up again this season. In addition a successful Europa League run will give Barkley valuable experience on the European stage, rather than become a Jack Rodwell or Wilfred Zaha and end up watching Champions League football from the stands.
Raheem Sterling & Daniel Sturridge – Two of Liverpool’s stars of 2013/14 must continue their strong performances into next season. The return of Champions League football to Anfield is a great opportunity for these two players, and it will be a test to see if they can carry their impressive league form into a higher level of competition on a regular basis.
Phil Jones & Chris Smalling – The much maligned pair of Smalling and Jones have the hardest task ahead of them in the coming season and must seek to regain credibility and repay the faith shown in them by club and country. Both players will have the opportunity to do so as new manager Louis Van Gaal takes over from David Moyes, in addition to the departure of both Vidic and Ferdinand at Manchester United. However they must impress him and early, lest he bring his own reinforcements and they find themselves in the reserves. It is also important for both to settle at one position, centre back would be their best position as both have struggled when deployed at right back, and not be seen as utility players and fall out of contention for starting slots.
England have a lot of good young players, but much like their contemporaries abroad it is time for them to make their mark on the game rather than just continue to operate under labels such as “potential star” and the future of “English football”. For the England national team and these players to really make their mark the future needs to be now.
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