Happy New Year Chaps and Chapesses.
Good, that’s out the way, sick of saying those words round the office today. What we wanted to concentrate on for you was the impressive young English talent that have started the season well and are beginning to blossom as it progresses. Of course, they are not the finished article and are not on the same stage as some of Spain, Brazil or Germany’s youngsters, but they’re our own and we watch them every week so we will always hope they will be the players to push our country back to World greatness. By ‘back to’ we mean ’66 of course. We peaked then. And have since lacked. Long time coming.
Barkley’s progress has not been meteoric we don’t think. We’ve been aware of this strong, athletic midfielder for a few years now and knew he was going to eventually breakthrough and impress. Obviously, we’re very impressed with how he’s gone about his business so far this season. Not just this, but also how Martinez has managed him. He hasn’t started every game this season, but whenever he has been on the pitch, viewers get excited. He brings a positive drive to Everton’s attacking play. He’s a presence, strong on the ball, strong runner and has a great shot. He always looks to create either through dribbling, shooting or laying it on for others. He’s a type of player England have not seen for a number of years. Some are saying since Gazza…
He’s broken onto the England scene this season and what better time to do it. World Cup year! What he does need to continue doing is taking his chances on the pitch. Whether that be performance wise or continuing to notch goals and telling contributions. We’re excited to continue to see his development this season and are sure he will be a fans favourite for whatever club he plays for and a talisman for England.
Lallana is another that seems like he’s been around for a few years, but this season he has added a couple of important things to his game. Consistency and goals. This season he has been a very high consistent performer and this has been rewarded with an England call up. He’s another player that can be considered as ‘creative’ or an attacking midfielder. He does it to very good effect for Southampton, and as club captain is already someone his clubmates look to. Not as young as some of the others on this list, but still full of youth with his best days ahead of him.
The second half of the season is important for both him and Southampton. After a very good start, Southampton’s form has slowed down recently, but this isn’t necessarily down to performances. They have had injuries and very tough fixtures. If form picks up it could be a very successful season for Southampton and if Lallana continues to impress and be an influence on the pitch he could find himself sat on the plane to Brazil.
Sticking with Southampton, Luke Shaw has to be credited with one of England’s most exciting future prospects. At the tender age of 18/19 he possesses an awful lot of quality. Strength, confidence on the ball, pace and very keen and useful as an attacking full back. Long term, he is the ideal replacement for Ashley Cole. Shaw isn’t one of those players you think could be a really good player in a few years time. He is now! Maybe not a banker to go to Brazil, but at such a young age he will definitely be facing the opportunity to fly off to many more International tournaments.
In some ways he’s had a bit of a stop start season with injury, but when found playing a few games in a row he has been extremely impressive. Calm and confident within a defence that conceded the fewest goals for the early part of the season. Stats that couldn’t be argued with and highlighted Shaw’s and Southampton’s rise.
Ravel was tipped to be a bit of a Don. Fergie couldn’t handle him so let him go, then Big Sam tried to tame him by sending him out on loan to Birmingham. This is where I believe he became the player he was supposed to be. We nurtured his talents and played hard when we needed to. Can you tell I’m a Blues fan? He didn’t have an outstanding season, but by the end of it he was showing the difference of a player that could really make it. He will always have the talent, but there were other aspects to his game that needed to be sorted.
West Ham are now starting to reap the rewards of this. Not in the starting team come the start of the season, but now a name they want to ensure is available so he can start or change a game by coming on. He’s already done this a number of times this season. A real creative flair, that can do and see things other players can’t. He’s a joy to watch on the pitch but needs to be aware of not over doing it in certain situations. However, he is a player we as England fans rarely see put on the three lions shirt. We personally want to see him in Brazil. He offers something completely different. We just hope he stays fit and has a strong end to the season.