The Kids May Never Be More Than Alright...

Jack Wilshere never got better, Theo Walcott hasn't improved, so why are we assuming that Ross Barkley, Luke Shaw, Daniel Sturridge etc will be better in two years?

Last Updated: 25/06/14 at 09:35 Post Comment

Latest Articles

Paul Pogba: The Modern Footballer, Upgraded

20 comments

He has artistry, poise, power and finesse, so there really isn't much not to admire in Paul Pogba. John Nicholson has a new favourite player, and this is his ode...

Don't Give In To Demands Of The Elite

31 comments

Our Johnny has a bee in his bonnet about the demands of the elite to choose who they play. If he had it his way, there would be no seeding. It's just sanitised cheating...

All Articles

Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge

When the good ship England sinks into the seas of international humiliation, we cling onto wreckage to stop ourselves from drowning. The old players have failed time and again; we tire of the same old faces making the same old excuses and promising that next time it will all be different.

So we turn to the young, untried players for hope. We want to believe in untainted youth and that is exactly the rubber ring to which England are being asked to cling as we attempt to stay afloat in the international waters of the future.

But for all the talk of England's good young players offering hope for the future, we need to be aware that England's history is littered with players who were 'the future', only to stagnate and then never develop into the top-notch player it was assumed they'd become. In fact, the current squad has several players who fall into that category.

When you look at Phil Jones aged 21, is he any better now than he was two years ago? Will he get significantly better? Jack Wilshere's form seemed to peak when he was out injured 18 months ago. Now 22, his decline since is remarkable. He hasn't got better, he's got worse. Will he become a world-class midfielder?

Is Danny Welbeck at 24 and long-thought of as a young striker of much potential, really a whole lot better than he was three years ago? Chris Smalling, 24, was hailed as one of England's best young defenders at Fulham but now looks short of international standard by some distance.

Theo Walcott is now in his mid 20s and would you really feel he's made significant progress since he was 20? Is he going to be significantly better in two years? When James Milner broke into the Leeds side as a teenager, he was another thought to have much future potential for England. Now 28, that seems a long time ago and he remains a solid hard worker but nothing more. Is Joe Hart, now 27, really significantly better than three or four years ago? He's not. And of course Wayne Rooney was long vaunted as the key to England's success after an explosive international start but that oft-predicated future England peak never came. He'd actually peaked very young.

So when Daniel Sturridge is hailed as England's striker for the next three or four years after a great domestic season, we should take it with a pinch of salt. History would suggest he might not get any better than he is now - which is still not good enough, as his squandering of several chances in the last three games proved. Indeed, it is as or more likely he may become significantly worse. Similarly, for all of Raheem Sterling's impressive form for the last six months, we can't by any means take it for granted that he'll be significantly better for England in two years' time. The same goes for Ross Barkley and Luke Shaw. Good at 20 does not mean world-beater at 23 when it comes to England.

The failure to push on after a promising start is surely not just an English thing, but our keenness for liberation from ordinariness makes us invest more in the hope they offer. I'm a fan of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as much as anyone else, but the idea that he's on an inevitable curve towards England greatness - I heard him talked of as a future captain this week - is pure folly. It might happen but then, we thought that about Wilshere two years ago. It's not excessive cynicism to think it might well not happen.

Improvement does occasionally occur. Jordan Henderson, now 24, is certainly an improved player in the last season, but would you really want to rely on Henderson flourishing into a top international player in two years' time? It is just as easily to imagine him being another one about whom we say 'well he was good a couple of years ago'. We seem to say that about a lot of English players, generation after generation.

Perhaps it is the desperate hope that the young players will be the ones to change our fortunes that heaps pressure on them, over-inflates their worth and leads ultimately to their failure to deliver? When it comes to England, all too often, the kids turn out not to be the future and soon enough become the past.

John Nicholson - he's on Twitter

@Harry, the difference between Henderson and Cleverley, is Henderson's mentality and attitude. Cleverley seems like a whiny, mentally weak, why does everybody hate me kinda guy whereas Henderson is strong, very strong mentally and has a phenomenal attitude. Heck even Brendan didn't really rate Henderson when he arrived but Henderson won him over with his commitment, dedication and mental fortitude. Those are the qualities which make you successful in life, the one player we missed most in the last 3 games was Henderson. We would have won the league had he not got sent off against City. Talent only takes you so far but emotional toughness and a refusing to give up attitude makes you a champion. Henderson has this in abundance, he will have a phenomenal season this year.
- lfcfan80

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

T

hat's it for me, that's ego talking and nothing more. Three seasons in and he still hasn't resolved the issues in defence. This won't end well, he doesn't have the skills needed to sort out the back four and isn't prepared to bring in those who do. This is the worst team I've seen since the late days of Houllier. Brendan...you're fired.

rodger's gusset
Rodgers: No defence coach

Y

eah, if there's one thing football autobiographies need more of, it's mind numbing-inanity and platitudinous tales of bantz.

Hallicks
Robson blasts Keane book

W

e were a steaming pile of recently released dogs dinner.

popularpete,
Wenger: We refused to lose

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Premier League: Per Mertesacker urges Arsenal style change

Per Mertesacker has called on Arsenal to try something other than 'one-twos through the middle'.

Rodgers: No defence coach needed at Liverpool

Brendan Rodgers insists that Liverpool do not need a defensive coach despite shipping 19 goals in all competitions this season.

European Qualifiers: Serbia handed 3-0 walkover win but deducted three points

Serbia have been handed a 3-0 walkover against Albania following last week’s Euro 2016 qualifier - but lose the points.

Mail Box

Dropping Jack And Pity For Poor Alexis...

We have lots more mails about Liverpool (is Brendan the naked emperor?) and Arsenal. One reader feels sorry for Alexis Sanchez while one wants Wilshere dropped...

Oh Mario - Why Always Meh?

Come on in and play the Liverpool blame game. Is it the fault of Rodgers, Balotelli, Mignolet, Johnson, Markovic or Lovren? Plus, Arsenal fans annoyed in victory...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property