Manchester United's Mason Greenwood celebrates after scoring a goal against Bournemouth at Old Trafford. Picture: Peter Powell/Pool via AP
Manchester United's Mason Greenwood celebrates after scoring a goal against Bournemouth at Old Trafford. Picture: Peter Powell/Pool via AP

OPINION: Young England side not ready to win just yet

By Minenhle Mkhize Time of article published Jul 7, 2020

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THE rise of young English footballers has corresponded with the resurgence of the England national team but I guess it is too premature to start talking about them winning major international tournaments.

Come on guys, we’ve been there before. We know this plot line. We’ve seen it before with the likes of David Beckham, Michael Owen, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard.

Yes, there’s no denying that the future is looking bright for England, but for the Three Lions to start dreaming about winning major international tournaments, I think that is a bridge too far.

Instead, unnecessary pressure will be placed on this good crop of future English stars.

There’s no need to over-hype these aspiring stars. Winning an international football tournament is not child’s play.

You need experience, consistent footballers and cohesion in the team in order to reach those heights.

You don’t just wake up and expect to win major tournaments. Yes, the potential is there, but can this generation of English footballers stay consistent? How long can they do that?

Those are important questions that we should be asking ourselves.

England should be grateful that they have something to build on after reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.

That was massive for the country that was bundled out in the group stage in Brazil back in 2014.

That was a huge step for the country that last won their only World Cup back in 1966.

At least they’ve got something to build on after that massive effort in Russia.

The Three Lions should be focussing on building for the future, not about dreaming of winning major tournaments.

It is still too early to start dreaming about winning major titles. Obviously every country has a dream to do so.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is already a serial winner at the age of 21. He has already won the Fifa Club World Cup, Uefa Champions League and Premier League with Liverpool. That is great for England.

Rahim Sterling is already experienced at the age of 25. Harry Kane has a World Cup Golden Boot gong to his name. And then you have the likes of Mason Greenwood, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Julian Jones, Phil Forden and Jadon Sancho.

These are all exciting prospects but they have not proven anything at international level.

They still have to be tested. As I said earlier, the future looks bright but the next European Championship will tell us more.

The next 12 months will also give us more reports about the potential of these young, emerging players. Consistency will be key.

Remember, France are not yet done.

They have a golden generation in Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Aymeric Laporte, Raphael Verane, Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Benjamin Pavard, Thomas Lemar and Samuel Umtiti.

They will be even stronger at the next European Championship.

England are not the only country developing good, talented players. Other countries are also working diligently to reach the pinnacle of world football.

England will flourish and blossom if they take time and focus on laying a strong foundation without putting too much pressure on their shoulders.


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