The England team are going something of a transitional stage at the moment. England boss Roy Hodgson is attempting to phase out the older generation, while giving new players their chance.
The Three Lions 1-0 home defeat to a second string Germany side on Tuesday night was not a disaster.
The game was a good exercise for England and boss Roy Hodgson with the World Cup finals less than seven months away.
The difference between the two teams was not that great.
In fact England had slightly better of the first half, despite Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker scoring the only goal on 39 minutes. Unfortunately this was England playing against a Germany team that are not first choice.
The stark contrast between England at near full strength and Germany’s backup players proved that Germany are far ahead in teams of strength in-depth and quality.
After Germany’s struggles at Euro 2000, they went through a similar sort of transition, which involved a change in the way that the country produced young players. As I stated in one of my previous articles that change is now paying off for the national side with such good players available to the national team.
England are probably at a similar point to Germany were at Euro 2000, albeit with slightly better young players available to Roy Hodgson, if he chooses to use them that is.
I think it would be unfair for people to claim that England has not produced any decent youngsters in recent years. There are players in and around the England squad that have impressed immensely this season.
Two of players considered the most technically gifted on the fringes of the England setup have established themselves at their club sides. Ross Barkley of Everton and Ravel Morrison of West Ham have made impressive starts to the campaign.
Both have been regarded as potential stars for a good while, but this season has been their real breakthrough campaign. The pair have had difficulties in the early stages of their football careers for very different reasons.
The early part of Morrison’s career was plagued by controversy off the pitch. There were even unfounded claims that Manchester United allowed Morrison to leave because of his off the field behaviour. However, the 20-year-old looks to have put those troubles behind him and he has set about putting his mark on the West Ham team.
People are now talking about his ability and not his unwanted activities off the field. Morrison has yet to make his England debut, but has represented the England under-21’s and if he carries on in the same vein of form then he could be the surprise name in the Three Lions squad for the World Cup finals next year.
Barkley’s start to his professional football has been difficult for another reason. At 16 he was mooted as one of the best players of his generation and was even in the Everton first team squad. Unfortunately for the youngster Barkley picked-up a long-term injury.
The 19-year-old has shown great character to come back from the injury and is just now showing his full potential. Everton boss Roberto Martinez has shown great faith in the youngster, but in recent games has relegated the midfielder to the bench.
Barkley has already impressed significantly enough this season to win three England caps this season. It really would not be a surprise if the youngster was in the Three Lions squad for next year’s World Cup.
Although the young pair lacks experience, they are the sort of players that will provide England with invention and creativity in the future. Young Tottenham winger Andros Townsend has taken his opportunity with both hands in recent games.
Townsend is a good example to the likes of Morrison and Barkley that you do not need masses of experience at international level to make an impact.
In the past national teams have taken young players to World Cup’s just to gain experience. A good example being Brazil in 1994, when the Selecao took teenager Ronaldo to the tournament just to gain experience.
Sven Goran-Eriksson also took a teenage Theo Walcott to the 2006 World Cup, but the youngster never appeared at the tournament. The Gunners winger had barely played a senior game at club level and was a complete wildcard. It would not be such a surprise if Barkley or Morrison were selected this time around though.
England are unlikely to win the World Cup, the Three Lions are currently 25/1 to win the trophy, so the selection of the likes of Barkley and Morrison really would not damage the chances of victory. In fact the youngsters could excel.
England boss Roy Hodgson has some difficult decisions to make about his World Cup squad. However, I do believe having some young players like Barkley or Morrison in the squad would be a big step in the right direction for the future of the Three Lions.
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