On August 11th, England will face Hungary in the first match since crashing out of the World Cup against Germany. The failings of the team, the problems with the formation and the managerial situation has been talked to death since the country’s exit but for the team to move forward there must be a line drawn under what happened in South Africa.
The Hungary game can mark the start of the build up to the European Championships in 2012 and the chance to see the future stars of English football get a chance on the big stage. Many people have talked about the so-called ‘Golden Generation’ of players including David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard and how they have failed to win major honors on the international stage but I fail to see how you can use this label until a team wins an international tournament.
There have been calls to see these experienced players dropped from the team by Fabio Capello in order to bring in the future stars of English football in order for them to gain experience next major competition. Such players like Emile Heskey and Jamie Carragher have called time on their England careers and others who failed to impress in South Africa may find it hard to get into the manager’s future plans.
Although I don’t agree with discarding players with the talent of Lampard and Gerrard for the Euro 2012 qualifying, the Hungary friendly offers a great chance to see some of the younger players in action and how well they fare in front of a Wembley crowd.
In England there is an air of negativity about the talent of the young players coming through the ranks, with pundits claiming that they are not as talented as those playing for Spain or Germany. It is true that many players are not given the chance by their clubs but recent performances at the European under 17 and under 19 championships have shown that the country does have the quality.
In players like Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Jack Rodwell amongst others, the talent is definitely there and given the chance these players look likely to have bright futures in the games. Looking at the players that England have in their disposal, I have compiled a team aged 24 and under that could play against Hungary.
Goalkeeper: Joe Hart
Defenders: Micah Richards, Ryan Shawcross, Gary Cahill, Kieran Gibbs
Midfielders: Theo Walcott, Jack Rodwell, James Milner, Adam Johnson
Forwards: Jack Wilshere, Wayne Rooney
There are plenty of other top players like Gabriel Agbonlahor, Tom Huddlestone and Aaron Lennon who could also start for the club, but this team shows that the country does have plenty of talent to look forward to in the future.
It is up to Capello which young players he feels will be the best to integrate into his team, but for once we should not put ridiculous amounts of pressure on them. The hype surrounding England going into tournaments is unbelievable and the fact that the team was third favorites going to South Africa just didn’t make any sense.
Hopefully for once the media and the country can focus on encouraging the talent these players have instead of always looking to knock them down and claim they are useless. There’s no reason why the future can’t be bright for England but everyone needs to get behind the team starting at Wembley against Hungary.