England U21s promise bright future for Capello

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Photo: Austin Osuide

Photo: Austin Osuide

It’s great to see the progress of England’s under-21 squad under Stuart Pearce. There has been a lot of pessimism surrounding young English talent in recent years, more over the presumed lack of it.

Nowadays the top clubs prefer to scout out potential talent in Europe and even further afield in Southern America and Asia in the pursuit of glory. Yet there still remains some outstanding talent within the British isles.

The under-21’s have proved that England do have a bright future and are still producing stars of tomorrow. They enjoyed a series of impressive victories over Finland and Spain in this summer’s championship, also earning a credible 1-1 draw against Germany.

At the Gamla Ullevi stadium on Friday night, Pearce’s men progressed to the final after coming though on penalties against Sweden. Despite them letting a 3-0 half time lead slip, the under-21s showed unerring metal strength, where the seniors have so often failed.

James Milner, England’s most capped under-21 player, missed his country’s opening penalty. But thereafter England were faultless in their finishing, with Molin eventually missing Sweden’s sixth, paving England’s path to the final.

Germany will provide England’s starlets with a tough task in the final. A rock solid defence, they have only conceded a single goal in the tournament, with Everton’s Jack Rodwell finding the target.

Whatever the outcome the signs are positive. In Joe Hart, England have a reliable goalkeeper, who with time will only improve and gain more experience which proves vital between the sticks.

Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs has had an excellent tournament, and looks likely to succeed ex-Gunner Ashley Cole in the left back role for the senior side. Nedum Onouha is another player who has proved himself on the under-21 scene and has the potential to lead England in the future.

James Milner is a player graced with true flair and creativity. The ability to duck past an opponent, and provide an end product makes him a real threat on either flank.

West Ham’s Mark Noble is another midfield gem, who’s talent is unquestionable. The ability to pick a long range pass, mixed in with a wicked shot and his accuracy from set pieces, pin points him as an ideal successor for Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard in the centre of the park.

Up front Gabriel Abonglahor and Theo Walcott possess the raw pace to out-sprint the quickest of defenders. When introduced in the second half against Spain, Walcott flew past their tired defence, helping to create England’s second in a 2-0 victory over the Spanish.

A victory for England tomorrow would crown them as winners of the Under-21 European Championships for the first time in 25 years. However win or lose, England senior boss, Fabio Capello can take heart from the display of England’s younger crop of players.

It seems only natural some of the stars of the tournament could possibly force their way into the squad for South Africa should England qualify.


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