Forward to the Future

Forward to the Future…

Is England about to step into a new golden age of international football? With teams such as Tottenham Hotspur, Man United and Liverpool having philosophies based around promoting young British talent, the future looks bright for the country’s next generation of footballers. England even got to the World Cup semi final! Here, we take a look at some of Britain’s hottest prospects.

Callum Hudson-Odoi is a lightning quick wing player with excellent technical ability and a great eye for goal. He was born in Wandsworth, London on 7th November 2000 and plays as a winger or forward for Chelsea. Hudson-Odoi joined Chelsea in 2007 and made his under-18s debut in August 2016, going on to score eight goals in 25 appearances in his first season for the club, playing a key part in the team’s under-18s FA Youth Cup win. After his impressive first season, Callum was called called up to the under-23s side at the age of 16 and scored four times during Chelsea’s EFL Trophy campaign, including both of Chelsea’s goals in a 2-2 draw with League One’s Plymouth Argyle.

On 20th December 2017, Hudson-Odoi made his debut first-team appearance, staying as an unused substitute in Chelsea’s EFL Cup tie against fellow EPL side Bournemouth. On 28th January 2018, Callum made his first-team debut in an FA Cup tie against Newcastle United. His first Premier League appearance came on 31st January 2018 in a home loss to Bournemouth.

Hudson-Odoi has made sporadic first-team appearances in the 2018/19 season, playing in the Community Shield, Europa League and FA Cup. Odoi’s performances have garnered the attention of German giants Bayern Munich, who reportedly had multiple bids for Callum rejected in the 2019 January transfer window. On 26th January 2019, Odoi placed a formal transfer request to try and force a move to the Bundesliga, but it was later confirmed by Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri that Odoi would remain at the club.

Odoi has played for England at all youth levels and was a part of the England under-17s squad’s 2017 U17 World Cup win, scoring once in seven appearances during the tournament.

Odoi has featured sporadically this season but has put in an impressive performance in every game he has played thus far. With enough game time, whether it be at Chelsea or somewhere else, Hudson-Odoi has the promise to become a bright talent for England in the future.

Sancho is an 18-year-old winger from Camberwell who plays for Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund and the England senior national team. Sancho started his career playing for the Watford and Manchester City youth academies, until he made the decision to move to Germany at just 17 years old and join Dortmund for more playing time. He inherited the number 7 shirt from departing player Ousmane Dembele, who joined Barcelona in the same transfer window for an eye-watering £135.5 million.

Sancho made his debut for Dortmund on 21st October 2017, coming on as a substitute against Eintracht Frankfurt, becoming the first Englishman to ever play for Dortmund in the Bundesliga. Sancho made his first start for the club on 14th January 2017, coming very close to scoring in a 0-0 draw with Wolfsburg. He scored his first goal in a 4-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen on 21st April 2018. He also assisted the other two goals.

In the 2018/19 campaign, Sancho has been a regular starter for Dortmund, making 24 appearances, scoring 8 and assisting 10 in the Bundesliga. Sancho has made 6 appearances in the Champions League this season, scoring once. In a disappointing 3-0 loss away at Tottenham in the first leg of the round of 16 in this season’s Champions League, Sancho was the standout player for Dortmund, coming very close to scoring at the end of a very impressive run through the Tottenham defence.

Sancho has deadly pace and a keen eye for a cross, making him a real threat down both sides of the Dortmund wing.

Sancho had played for England at u16, u17 and u19 levels before being called up for England’s senior team in October 2018. He made his debut in England’s 0-0 draw away against Croatia and has played five competitive games in total.

Sancho is putting in fantastic performances for Dortmund and is currently leading the table in assists in the Bundesliga. Sancho has fantastic potential and is a hot prospect to keep your eye on.

With the amount of time he’s been playing for and the performances he’s been putting in, it’s hard to believe that Dele, as he prefers to be known, is only 22.

Tottenham signed the young lad from hometown team MK Dons for £5 million in January 2015 and was sent back on loan to the team for the rest of the season. Since joining Tottenham, Dele has scored 42 goals in 123 Premier League appearances, placing his goal tally above Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs when they were his age. Dele is a key part of Tottenham’s midfield, forming a deadly duo with Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen, while also providing a key passing link with fellow Englishmen Eric Dier and Harry Kane.

Dele is known for his quick feet and fantastic finishing, particularly from long range. This was exemplified in a fantastic goal against Crystal Palace in the 2015/16 season, where Dele controlled a header just outside the area, kicking the ball over his head and the head of the player marking him with his first touch, turning his man and rifling the ball into the back of the net before it had even hit the ground.

Dele has played for England at all youth levels, but has made over 30 appearances for the senior squad, scoring three goals in that time. Dele is less prolific when playing for England due to the fact that he plays a much deeper role, winning the ball and holding it up while creating chances rather than creating direct assists and scoring goals.

He has been hampered by injuries in the 2018/19 season, which were originally sustained in the group stages of the 2018 World Cup. However, these setbacks did not prevent him from strong performances in the tournament, with Dele scoring in a 2-0 win over Sweden in the quarter-finals.

Dele is a crucial part of a top-four Premier League side and has been since his first season playing for the club. He is an unusually diverse player who is able to play in a defensive, central and attacking midfield role, while also being able to play as a false-9 and a centre-forward. Breaking goal contribution records from the likes of Gerrard and Lampard suggests that Dele could become one of the best English midfielders to grace the game, a premonition that could come true if he knuckles down and works hard on his performances.

TAA has been a regular for Liverpool for the last two seasons now. The 20-year-old right-back from Liverpool has been a standout player for his hometown club this season as they hope to capture a first EPL title.

TAA has made 46 appearances in the EPL for Liverpool since the 2016/17 season (over 50 in call comps), scoring twice and assisting 6 times - excellent statistics for a very young defender. TAA has blistering pace and impressive strength whilst also possessing great timing for his tackling. In terms of attack, his pace and skill on the ball allows him to skip down the wing, and his pinpoint accuracy with his crossing means he can deliver killer balls into the box, which works well when Liverpool play the tall Roberto Firmino up-front.

TAA has played for Liverpool all his career, as he was brought up through their youth academy, and made his professional debut at the age of 16. He has also won Liverpool’s Young Player of the Season Award two years running.

He has played for England at every youth level, and received his first England call-up in 2018, playing in a pre-World Cup friendly against Costa Rica. His first competitive game for England came in a 1-0 loss to Belgium once both teams had already sealed their progression to the knockout stages of the tournament. TAA scored his first goal for England in a 3-0 victory over USA in a friendly organized in honour of Wayne Rooney on 15th November 2018.

TAA is putting in stellar performances for Liverpool and is a key part of a defence that has kept more clean sheets this season than goals conceded. He has a bright future for both club and country ahead of him and will be an exciting prospect to keep an eye on.

Beyond this fab four there are a whole host of excellent young stars. These honorable mentions go to: Kieran Tierney, a Scottish left-back currently playing for Celtic, who has put in solid performances all season; Phil Foden, a Man City prodigy and captain of the u17s World Cup winning side; Jack Grealish, a 23-year-old midfielder ripping up the Championship for Aston Villa; James Maddison, the Leicester midfielder putting in a stellar first season in the EPL; Harry Winks, a pacey 23-year-old midfielder for Tottenham who has fantastic timing with his tackles and has been a key player in the absence of Moussa Dembele. Finally, Kyle Walker-Peters - a hard-working, pacey wing-back for Tottenham who can not only play on both sides of defence, but provide attacking support as well.

Overall, we have seen a huge emergence in British talent over the last two to three seasons, which is getting fans of both the Premier League and England football team excited. Perhaps we could see some of these lads with a 2022 World Cup winners medal! Who knows?