England’s future looking bright
Which U20 star can follow Rashford’s example?
England won the under-20 World Cup in South Korea on Sunday, edging out opponents Venezuela to get fans believing in the future. The lion cubs gave the nation their first piece of real silverware since winning the World Cup proper back in 1966.
In an instant, the colts caught the imagination of a nation, with fans believing the glory days will be returning to the home of football. But what next for the stars? They have plenty of developing still to do if they are to step up to senior football. We pick through the eyecatchers.
Freddie Woodman – goalkeeper
What a time to be an England goalkeeper, with Joe Hart dropped for the trip to France and the long-term future of the number one slot seemingly up for grabs. It’s too early for 20-year-old shot-stopper Woodman, of course, but he’s certainly on the right track to make the jersey his own in future. What he needs now is game time at a decent level of football, but the man who shone at the World Cup will not be short of offers. Parent club Newcastle are aware of his talents, but are likely to farm him out to the Championship to pick up vital experience.
Jonjoe Kenny – defender
Played every minute of the World Cup campaign, and boasts a confidence and experience well beyond his years. The 20-year-old is currently signed on at Everton, and there’s few better sides in the Premier League for developing young talent. He need only look at the first team for examples of just how good the Goodison Park nursery can be, if you’re patient. Kenny captained the U23 side that won the Premier League last season, and is sure to be given a shot at cracking into the first team this term. At The Toffees, if you’re good enough, you’re old enough, and we’ll see plenty more of Jonjoe Kenny.
Lewis Cook – midfielder
Captain of the ship, and he looks the most likely to play a big part at club level this year. The hard-working midfielder was a tad unlucky at Bournemouth last season, picking up an injury that cost him his place for a while, and then it was difficult for Eddie Howe to fit him back into the side. Cook did get a start against Man Utd, and played a big part in the closing month of the campaign. With a good pre-season under his belt, we’re sure he’ll be a regular on the teamsheet at Dean Court.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – forward
Another star to pop off the Everton conveyor belt, and it really is impressive how The Toffees keep producing these talented players. He scored the winning goal that gave England the World Cup, and there’s not many players can say that, especially at 20. The future of The Toffees attack looks undecided, and Calvert-Lewin could force his way into the picture. Got his appearances into double figures last season, and Koeman is sure to step that up a notch this term. He’ll be scoring goals at a stadium near you soon enough.