There is always a lot of pressure put on the next crop of young English talent, with the public having what is probably an unrealistic expectation of World Cup/European Championship glory. However in recent international tournaments the public has started to realise that there is a lot of work to be done for the three lions to challenge the best once again and because of that the pressure has been lifted from players, particularly the younger players, and I will now look at the next crop of young English talent who could be the first for a while to play without pressure piled on top of them – All players are currently uncapped by the national team.
Will Hughes (20)
Hughes is already a big name in English football despite only playing in the Championship throughout his career and has been a target for a number of the biggest teams in England after his performances for Derby. He is currently the second youngest player to play for England U21, beaten by Theo Walcott and is still awaiting his first call up to the full national team. However it might not be too long until we see him in a three lion’s shirt as his Derby team once again missed out on promotion into the Premier League and he might listen to offers in a bid to take his career on to its next step. Any team that does want to sign him would have to make a bid in the region of £15 million after he signed a contract last summer which runs until the end of the 2017/18 season.
Jordon Ibe (19)
There are similarities between Ibe and Raheem Sterling when he made his debut for Liverpool a few years ago and Liverpool and England fans alike will hope that he can develop as much as Sterling has, and after signing a new contract recently it looks as though he will become a big part of Liverpool’s team next season. However Ibe has still not only not been called up to the full national team, he is also yet to make an appearance for the U21 team, after most recently being called up to the U20 team. It has been said by the Nigerian FA that they will make an attempt to get Ibe to represent them at International level as he is eligible through his father, but after representing England at youth levels and being on the verge of the national team it doesn’t look set to happen.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (19)
Loftus-Cheek has spent his entire career at Chelsea since age 8 and made his Premier League debut in a recent match against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in which he completed 100% of his passes before being subbed after an hour. He has now played three games and it looks as though he will be a rotation player in José Mourinho’s squad next season, which means that although he has only played for England up to U19 level he could well be called into the squad for a friendly, depending on how he plays next season and if he can stay fit. He has also recently been called into the provisional squad for the U21 team but is yet to play for them.
Dele Alli (19)
Another young player who is yet to play in the Premier League, Alli has been playing in League One with MK Dons, but was signed in January by Tottenham (and then loaned back to Dons for the remainder of the season). During last season was when Alli became one of the up and coming talents from the lower leagues and finished the season as a runner up with MK Dons, as well as being named ‘Football League Young Player of the Year’ being named in the ‘PFA Football League One Team of the Year’ and scoring sixteen goals in the league from midfield. After MK Dons achieved promotion to the Championship he may be loaned out to them once more, or after his impressive season Pochettino may choose to play him in cup games, or the Europa League (as he has done with Harry Kane and Ryan Mason.) Alli has so far represented his country up to U19 level, and looks set to soon be called into the U21 team and in the future play for the senior team, however he is another player who has the option to play for Nigeria and former footballer John Fashanu is said to be trying to convince him to represent Nigeria over England.
Ryan Seager (19)
Seager is the least well known of the five players however after this season he may well follow in the footsteps of players like Alan Shearer, Matt Le Tissier and Gareth Bale who all came through the youth ranks at Southampton to lead successful careers. This season he finished as top scorer in the U21 Premier League with 16 goals in 21 appearances and may be included in the line-up for cup games next season after his impressive form, he has made two appearances so far both from the bench, in the FA Cup and Premier League but failed to score in either of the losses. So far on the international stage he has only represented England at U17 level playing twice and failing to score, but should his form from this campaign carry over into the next he may well be called up to the U19s or even U21s.