In 5 years the 22nd FIFA world cup will be held in the Middle-Eastern-peninsula country of Qatar, and no doubt everybody will all have their eye on our, forever inconsistent, national side. Year upon year we hope and pray that finally the England side will live up to its huge expectation and potential, and year upon year we see them build up our hope in the group stages, to just be crushed like an attacker taking on Roy Keane when they reach the knockouts.
Under Roy Hodgson at Euro 2016, England often opted for a 4-3-3 formation, with Dier, Alli and Rooney in midfield with Sterling out left and Sturridge out right, with Harry Kane or Jamie Vardy through the centre, but with big players like Rooney, Hart, Smalling, Cahill and Sturridge ageing and losing their best form, in 5 years the England side will look very different.
English clubs are world renowned for producing some of the world’s best young talents, take for example Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley, and I have no doubt that in 5 years we will have plenty of new talent, but who will be the next big breakthrough? I watched Marcus Rashford in his last game for the Man United reserves in the youth derby at the Etihad, and he was excellent. I remember saying to my dad: “He looks like the kind of player the first team needs,” and next thing you know he was being thrust into the first side for the FC Midtjylland match.
Everton are always a side to watch for youth prospects, producing talents like Wayne Rooney, Michael Ball and Shkodran Mustafi, as are Man Utd, with graduates including David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes. Current prospects for these sides, for me, are Tom Davies and Ademola Lookman for Everton, and Angel Gomez, Tahith Chong and Callum Gribbin for Man Utd. These players are all attackers, but clearly, defence is just as important as attack. Less hype is normally associated with defensive players, unsurprisingly, as fans remember goals and pretty play more than solid tackles and defensive organisation, but this possibly works better for the players themselves. Less hype means less pressure, and this means that if a defender makes a mistake, he doesn’t have to worry as much about keeping everybody so excited as you would be if you were an attacker.
For example, a non-Man United fan may not have heard of Timothy Fosu-Mensah, but you will definitely have heard of Marcus Rashford. Yet, in my opinion, he is just as promising.
Other clubs will obviously have huge talents coming through their ranks, for example, Manchester city’s Bersant Celina and Brandon Barker, Fulham’s 26-year-old Ryan Sessegnon, and the whole host of players coming through Borussia Dortmund at the moment, like Christian Pulisic, Ousmane Dembele and Raphael Guerreiro. Obviously, many of these players aren’t English, but are definitely something to look out for.
So, here’s my predicted lineup for the England side at The Qatar World Cup in 2022:
PS, player future age stats are based upon the assumption The World Cup will be held in the summer as usual, not the winter, which is a possibility.
In goal – Jack Butland- currently 24, will be 29- Stoke City
In defence – Luke Shaw-21 now, 26/27* then – Man Utd, John Stones-now 22, 28 then- Man City, Trent Alexander-Arnold – now 18, 23 then – Liverpool
In Midfield – Ruben Loftus-Cheek – now 21, 26 then – Chelsea, Eric Dier – now 23, 27 then – Spurs, Dele Alli – 20 now, 26 then – Spurs.
In Attack – Raheem Sterling – now 22, 27 then – Man City, Harry Kane – 23 now, 27/28* then – Spurs, Marcus Rashford- 19 now, 24 then – Man Utd
*dependant on what time in June the World cup is played.
To summarise, England has some of the hottest young prospects in world football, and we all know that England can win the world cup, it’s just a matter of will they.