Gone are the days of Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, John Terry, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. Gone are the days of perennial underachievers.
English football is on the rise in international football and English clubs have again begun to dominate European football. There have been tournaments in the past where England started out having one of the strongest teams on paper, but each time they failed miserably.
But with the influx of foreign coaches such as Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino, English football has begun to reap rewards. Now, the youth systems are given added importance with many raw young talents coming through.
Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, Rhian Brewster and Morgan Gibbs-White sparkled in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2017, which was held in India. They guided England to their very first Under-17 title.
That same year, in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in South Korea, England reigned supreme yet again. Players such as Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Kyle Walker-Peters and Dominic Solanke carried the team on their shoulders.
All these players have gone onto play first-team football for their respective clubs. This proves that the future is indeed bright for English football.
At the FIFA World Cup 2018 staged in Russia, England went into the tournament with a young squad. Not much was expected from ‘The Three Lions’ despite them being unbeaten across the entire qualification process for the tournament. They lost against Belgium in the group stage but had already secured their progress to the next round before the loss.
Knockout victories over Colombia and Sweden followed before they bowed out to Croatia in the semis, having valiantly taken the match to extra-time. It was a successful campaign for the former World Cup winners with players such as Harry Kane, Harry Maguire, Dele Alli, Marcus Rashford, Kieran Trippier, all rising to the big occasion.
England headed back home with their heads held high. Something which had not happened for many, many years. After a couple of months, they started preparing for the inaugural UEFA Nations League. Not many gave them a chance, having been clubbed in a group comprising of Croatia and Spain.
But Gareth Southgate and co. again proved everyone wrong with their performances, topping the group and progressing to the semi-finals. The team will face the Netherlands in the last four on June 6.
At club level, Pep Guardiola changed the way Manchester City played and after a season of stabilising the team, City has won back-to-back Premier League titles. The latest came this season with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool falling short by a point.
Reaching back-to-back Champions League finals reflects that Klopp’s strategy has completely changed the team. They managed to achieve the feat after a historic tie against Barcelona, when they lost 3-0 away from home, only to bite back and win 4-0 at Anfield. Klopp with his heavy metal football has revitalised the Reds as they have become one of the major contenders not only in domestic football but all of Europe.
Young English talent, Trent Alexander-Arnold was given his big break by the German, and he has now cemented his place in the starting line-up. His crossing abilities have proved to be lethal and deserve a special mention.
Tottenham, under their reliable manager Mauricio Pochettino, is suddenly dreaming of European glory. The Argentine has assembled a squad full of superstars. Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Kieran Trippier, Hugo Lloris, and Lucas Moura, among others, have repaid the faith shown by their manager.
The team has been on an incredible European run, managing to reach the summit clash of the greatest match in European club football. The Spurs will be locking horns against Liverpool for the Champions League title on June 1 at Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano.
Arsenal’s Spanish manager, Unai Emery has been entrusted to bring stability after the departure of the team’s greatest ever manager, Arsene Wenger. Those shoes are not easy to fill in. The Spaniard knows it well and he has managed to guide the Gunners to the Europa League final in his very first season.
Italian Maurizio Sarri has at times found it tough at Chelsea. However, his persistence has paid off, eventually helping the Blues to a top-four finish and a place in the Europa League final against Arsenal in Baku.
Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea have reached both the European finals. For the first time, all the clubs from the same country has managed to do this. Madrid and Baku will now brace themselves for the big occasion. The English storm has arrived, and it’s hitting everyone hard.
(Featured Image: Twitter/England)
About the Author
Studied at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi. Lives and breathes Football, the beautiful game.