With the 2010 World Cup now thankfully a long-forgotten memory for the majority of disappointed England supporters, this week Liquid Football hopes to shed some light on the very future of English football and ponders the likely candidates we’ll expect to see representing the Three Lions at the next World Cup in 2014 (assuming we get there of course).
In South Africa last year we saw just how far England had fallen behind in the footballing world as our European rivals Germany, Spain and Holland outshone Fabio Capello’s men at the World Cup in just about every way.
Germany looked vibrant and full of energy, Spain wore down opponents with their immaculate passing game and England meanwhile were lacklustre, slow and seemed to lack any creative ideas going forward.
Before we could quite easily blame our failings at national tournaments on our inaptness at penalties, poor refereeing decisions and that pure moment of madness from our very own national hero David Beckham. This time however, there were no phony excuses to hide behind and it was clear for all to see that we just weren’t good enough.
English football has had to take a severe reality check following the disaster of 2010 and with pressure mounting over English boss Fabio Capello, there’s only one thing to do and that’s forget the doom and gloom and look forward to what the following years will have in store for our three lions and their quest for success on the international stage.
Brazil is the next chance for England to reclaim their glory days of 1966 but who are the likely candidates to help football home to England? Liquid Football makes a bold prediction.
Joe Hart – Already an England and Manchester City regular at 23 and no doubt bound to improve furthermore between now and 2014.
Micah Richards – Already staking a good claim for a regular place in the mega-bucks Man City squad and his pace and physical attributes will serve him well as an England right-back.
Chris Smalling – Looked impeccable in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Man City and kept Carlos Tevez reasonably quiet for the majority of the game. Given another three years under Sir Alex Ferguson, Smalling will be more than ready by the time 2014 rolls around.
Gary Cahill – Despite being fobbed off to the Championship by Aston Villa early on in his career, Cahill has since proven his critics wrong and plays a vital role in Owen Coyle’s Bolton despite his relatively young age.
Leighton Baines – Has arguably been the most consistent full-back in the Premier League so far this season and his killer final ball makes him an ideal replacement for Ashley Cole when he hangs up his international boots.
James Milner – One of the few to come out with any credit from the 2010 World Cup debacle and given three more years of domestic experience will prove to be a vital player in England’s 2014 campaign.
Jack Wilshere – Despite being just 19 this midfielder is earning all the plaudits for his performances in an Arsenal shirt and should be a shoe-in for 2014 if he progresses at the same rate.
Aaron Lennon – Would be the complete winger if it wasn’t for his inconsistent final ball that has let him down so many times in the past. Three more years and hopefully England will have the making of a top-class player.
Theo Walcott – Despite receiving criticism for not possessing a ‘footballing brain’, Walcott has shown significant improvement domestically this season and his blistering pace will be nothing but vital to England’s World Cup hopes.
Wayne Rooney – It’s not been a good year for Wayne Rooney. Along with the scandal involving his personal life, his performances on the pitch have suffered too but there’s still no denying how good the 24 year-old can be for club and country. After his spectacular over-head kick in his sides 2-1 win on Saturday, the signs are there that a return to form for Rooney is just around the corner.
Andy Carroll – The £35 million rated striker has had a tremendous first season in the Premier League scoring eleven goals already this campaign and his big money switch to Anfield certainly backs up his striking pedigree.