Greg Dyke shared his findings last week from his England Commission and the way forward for the national side if they wish to succeed. The main criticism the Football Association has been faced with (and rightly so) is the call for a new ‘B’ league, or League 3, in which Premier League teams can have a B team full of young English talent playing against sides from the lower leagues. The argument from Dyke is that we are not producing enough young talent and potential talents that may exist are not being given a chance in the top leagues due to the influx of foreign stars coming over to the Premier League.
But is this really the case?
If you look at the current Premier League season you would notice a host of young English players have been given a chance and many have flourished.
The most obvious example would be at Southampton. This season we have seen academy graduates Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana perform superbly which has resulted in the two receiving England call up’s and in contention for the World Cup. Also at Southampton there are other English players such as James Ward-Prowse, Calum Chambers, Nathaniel Clyne and Sam Gallagher who have all been given games in the Premier League this season and can certainly be regarded as future England players. Another mention should be Jay Rodriguez who if not for injury would be in strong contention for a World Cup place and, at the age of 24, he is another one who can be argued as a young emerging England talent.
Two other clubs that have been key this season in showcasing young English talent have been the two Merseyside clubs, Liverpool and Everton. At Liverpool we have Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Jon Flanagan while at Everton we have witnessed Ross Barkley and Jon Stones. Sturridge, Sterling, Henderson and Barkley all seem certain of a place on the plane to Brazil and you could even argue all should start during the World Cup while Flanagan and Stones will definitely have bright International careers.
At Arsenal we have Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who if passed fit should both be in Roy Hodgson’s squad for Brazil. Wilshere who has been around for a few years now is still only 22 whilst Chamberlain is 20 – both are still very young and have huge international futures.
In his commission’s findings Dyke used a lot of facts, many comparing us to countries such as Spain, Germany and France in the percentage of young players coming through. It would be wrong to say that there isn't a shortage in England compared to other nations and something should be done about it. But perhaps he should not be so negative? Out of all the players mentioned here most of them are shoe-in’s for Brazil and the ones who will miss out will undoubtedly play a major part in the Euro 2018 process.
All in all, England should produce more young talent, but there's enough coming through so drastic action isn't necessary. Roy Hodgson will go into the first game versus Italy with an array of top quality youngsters at his disposal, something that has not been the case at previous tournaments. It’s not all doom and gloom, Mr Dyke!