Top 10 England stars of the future
Now we have reached the calendar year of 2016, the European Championships in France are less than six months away. Much has been made of the emergence of young English talent in the Premier League this season with the likes of Ross Barkley and Delle Alli starring for their respective clubs sides. The national side certainly have some exciting talents coming into the squad and we here at FREEbets.org.uk take a look at the top 10 of them that could make an impact on the Euro's and beyond.
10. James Ward-Prowse – 21
England's U-21 captain has been described by Roy Hodgson as a 'big prospect' although he is yet to make an appearance for the senior team. If he were to enjoy a stellar second half of the season, it would not be unthinkable that he may yet have full international honours before the season is at. At the age of just 21 he has already made over 100 Premier League appearances so the young midfielder is actually quite experienced despite his tender years.
A product of Southampton's hugely successful academy, his pinpoint set-peice deliveries have drawn lofty comparisons with David Beckham and if he is to live up to those then England and Southampton will have a very fine player on their hands indeed.
9. Saido Berahino – 22
At 22 years old, Berahino is actually among the older statesman of this list but in no way is that to suggest he will not become a star for his country. Berahino made his breakthrough with West Brom in the 2013/14 season and scored the winning goal in the Baggies 1-2 win over Manchester United. The following season was even more profitable, when he scored 20 goals in all competitions. That saw Tottenham made a bid for the player in the summer which West Brom duly rejected. Berahino was angered by the decision and vowed he would never play for the club again though he later backed down from his threats.
He has struggled to force his way back into Tony Pulis' starting line-up this campaign, something which may damage his international hopes but there is no denying his ability. His movement, pace and finishing ability mean that if he can resolve things with the club he will certainly prove just why they didn't want to let him go. Another who is yet to make the step up to the full national side although he has been named in the squad on two previous occasions and scored 10 goals in 13 games for the U-21's.
8. Eric Dier – 21
Growing up in Portugal, Eric Dier came through the ranks at Sporting Lisbon's famed academy before making the switch to Spurs. He arrived in North London having played primarily at centre back but spent much of his first season at White Hart Lane playing at right back. This season however saw Mauricio Pochettino deploy him as a holding midfielder and Dier has continued to impress.
He has been capped twice by England, featuring in both of the autumn friendlies against Spain and France. He was widely praised for his impressive display Wembley against France and many see him as a real contender to start in front of the England back four this summer. Roy Hodgson certainly seems a fan and Dier looks set for a long career in the England team be it in midfield or defence.
7. Jack Butland – 22
Whilst Joe Hart is unquestionably England's number one at present, his eventual successor will surely be Stoke's Jack Butland. After making the switch to the Britannia Stadium from Birmingham City, Butland has had to remain paitient to get his chance but he has taken it with aplomb this season. After Asmir Begovic left to join Chelsea, the Bristol born 22-year-old took the mantle of the Potters number one jersey whose previous incumbents include England goal keeping legends Gordon Banks and Peter Shilton.
Whilst Butland has a long way to go in emulating that pair, there is no denying his undoubted talent and he has demonstrated that numerous times this season. His performances have seen him widely regarded as amongst the Premier League's best goalkeeper this season alongside David de Gea. He has made two full international appearances and kept a clean sheet on his first competitive appearance against Lithuania.
6. Delle Alli - 19
The past 12 months have somewhat of a whirlwind for Tottenham's Delle Alli. Last season he was playing a starring role for MK Dons as they won promotion from League one and now he is a vital cog in Mauricio Pochettino's high flying Tottenham team. He agreed his transfer with Spurs at the end of the January transfer window last year before remaining with the Dons on loan. Since breaking into the Spurs team he has won many admirers and was particularly impressive in the North London derby earlier this season.
His meteoric rise has already brought international honours this season and made his England debut against Estonia back in October. He made his first start for the Three Lions against France and scored a terrific long range goal against his club teammate Hugo Lloris. Alli now looks as though he may force his way into the England starting line-up as part of a large Spurs contingent amongst Roy Hodgson's squad.
5. Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain – 22
It is quite strange to think that Chamberlain is still only 22 years old, having been around for what seems like an age. Able to play in numerous positions in midfield, the 'Ox' perhaps actually suffers somewhat as a consequence. However his pace, direct running and technical ability mean that he is a threat to opposition defenders no matter where he lines up. He had started this campaign in fine form and scored the only goal in Arsenal's Community Shield win over Chelsea. A series of niggling injury issues have curtailed his progress this season but he still remains a player of huge potential.
With over 20 caps to his name already, he is no novice to the International scene and despite his tender years he can already boast a goal against Brazil at the Maracana to his name.
4. Ross Barkley - 22
Although just shy of his 20th cap for his country, there can be no arguments upon suggesting Ross Barkley will be a big player for club and country. This season has seen the young Scouser become one of the key men at Everton and he has more assists than any other English player in the Premier League this season. Seven assists and six goals demonstrate just how productive he has become in the final third in the pitch and England boss Roy Hodgson has praised his 'excellent technique'.
Barkley has already featured in the World Cup for England, having played the full 90 minutes in the final group game against Costa Rica in 2014. If he continues this season the way in which the first half has gone, he will be guaranteed a place on the plane to France this summer.
3. Luke Shaw - 20
Luke Shaw has already commanded a £30 million fee when making the switch from Southampton to Manchester United and at the start of this season you could see why. The young full back started the season in stunning form and seemed to have finally settled at Old Trafford following his big money switch. His first season at with United was stop start due to a series of niggling injuries and being in and out of the team. However just when things seemed to be going so well this campaign, he suffered a broken leg in a match with PSV Eindhoven. That injury will probably see him out for the majority of the season and also miss Euro 2016.
Shaw's form at the start of the season ensured he looked a shoe-in to be England's first choice left back and although he will have to wait before nailing down his spot in the England side, it is surely one he will have for the considerable future.
2. John Stones - 21
A classy, ball playing central defender, John Stones is somewhat of rarity and it is little wonder why Roberto Martinez was so desperate to keep hold of him this summer. Chelsea had three bids rejected and all credit to Stones he has kept his head down and carried on to produce the performances that have made him one of the most promising young defenders in Europe. His composure on the ball is quite remarkable for someone of his age and they are few defenders that are more at ease with the ball at their feet in Europe, never mind this country.
In the past couple of seasons he has not only forced his way into the reckoning to be in the squad but now looks likely to be England's first choice centre back. Often touted as a future England captain, Stones is sure to be an England regular for years to come however whether he remains at Everton or not remains to be seen.
1. Harry Kane - 22
2015 pretty much belonged to Harry Kane as the Tottenham striker scored a staggering 27 Premier League goals in the calendar year. 2014/15 saw him first of all establish himself as Spurs' number one striker before impressing week in week out to such an extent that many see him as England's first choice striker. Adept at both finishing and linking the play, Kane has all the attributes required to become a top class centre forward not to mention the fact he is a very, very good one already.
His club form inevitably saw international recognition follow and he was able to score just 79 seconds into his England debut. Kane will certainly be at the forefront of Roy Hodgson's plans in the new future and he will surely be an England great in the years to come also.