Picking a Next-Generation England XI to Compete at World Cup 2022
Greg Dyke has played down expectations of England winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup, instead switching the focus to succeeding in 2020 and 2022, according to the BBC.
With that in mind, we've drafted up a squad full of young talent that could well take on the challenge Dyke sets—of reaching the semifinal of Euro 2020 and winning the World Cup in Qatar.
It's set out in a 4-3-3 formation and many players are unlucky to miss out, signalling a glut of talent coming through the ranks England cannot afford to misuse.
Jack Butland (20), Stoke City
Butland is the best goalkeeping prospect in England right now, it's just a big shame he's stuck behind the brilliant Asmir Begovic in Stoke's pecking order.
With Joe Hart in his mid-30s by the time Qatar rolls around, it's feasible that the former Birmingham shot-stopper could usurp him for the event—perhaps even before.
Jordan Pickford (19), Sunderland
Pickford is the Black Cat's most promising teenage talent and looks set to have a big role for England in the future.
Luke Shaw (18), Southampton
Shaw took over from Danny Fox at left-back for the Saints last season, aged just 17, impressing with his defensive instincts and awareness.
He's opened up a little this year, with Mauricio Pochettino allowing him to roam forward and express himself rather than just focus on marking.
John Stones (19), Everton
Both Wigan Athletic and Everton scrapped for Stones in January, and since joining the latter on the final day of the winter window, he has continued to progress exponentially.
He's a mainstay in the England youth setups and looks absolutely unfazed by the expectation on his shoulders—evidenced by this ridiculous panenka penalty in preseason.
Nathaniel Clyne (22), Southampton
Can play on both sides and boasts incredible speed, but may be overlooked in 2022 given his younger, similarly talented colleagues.
Ezekiel Fryers (20), Tottenham Hotspur
The young left-back made his long-awaited debut for Spurs against Dinamo Tbilisi last week and looked very comfortable in both defence and attack.
Calum Chambers (18), Southampton
Southampton are essentially spilling over with talented full-backs, and Clyne's preseason injury has seen Chambers start three Premier League games so far.
Steven Caulker (21), Cardiff City
Caulker's career is still in its infancy, but he's already got two Premier League seasons under his belt via Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur. He is now set for a third, as the main main, in Cardiff.
He's aerially dominant, incredibly strong and capable in the passing game.
Eric Dier (19), Sporting
Dier is a rare Englishman plying his trade abroad, and he's developed the continental flavour to his game many fans long for.
Portugal want him as one of their own, and it's up to the management to convince him to come home.
Michael Keane (20), Manchester United
The Manchester United academy star may not breach the first team, but will at least provide a valuable competitive element in the squad.
Andre Wisdom (20), Liverpool
Whether Wisdom shapes up to be a centre-back or a right-back is unclear at this stage, but that versatility makes him a must-have.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (17), Chelsea—Anchor
There are high hopes for Loftus-Cheek despite him staying largely out of the public eye up to this point, with Chelsea in particular rather excited about his potential.
Competition for England's future midfield is fierce, and it speaks volumes of his potential that he makes the first XI.
Jack Wilshere (21), Arsenal—Box-to-box threat
Provided he doesn't break down with a career-ending injury, Wilshere will be a mainstay in the England setup due to his incredible natural talent.
He can shuttle up and down, link play and playmake—the all-encompassing midfield option.
James Ward-Prowse (18), Southampton—Playmaker
Ward-Prowse has impressed at every level in his career and looks a Premier League-calibre player at just 18 years of age.
He was a cut above his teammates at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, so expect him to make his senior bow within two years.
Nathaniel Chalobah (18), Chelsea
Was beaten out here by teammate Loftus-Cheek, but Chalobah is a precious, versatile talent nonetheless.
Ross Barkley (19), Everton
Extremely unlucky to miss out on the first XI and could easily walk into a different formation. An amazing prospect.
Dan Crowley (15), Arsenal
Arsenal stole this ridiculous young talent from Aston Villa's academy this summer, and he's already dominating players three or four years older.
Wilfried Zaha (20), Manchester United
Zaha has an exorbitant amount of technical prowess and natural skill, he just needs to learn to use it efficiently in the Premier League.
If United's coaching staff can get it right, he's going to be an "X-factor" in any game.
Raheem Sterling (18), Liverpool
Opposite Zaha is the quick, direct, pacey Reds youngster Sterling, who's already proven he can step up to the plate and shoulder a load.
Brendan Rodgers is going to manage his playing time very carefully to ensure he's not overworked, and England will reap the rewards.
Jordon Ibe (17), Liverpool
The Reds are truly blessed, with prime young wingers seemingly leaking out of Melwood every day.
Jesse Lingard (20), Manchester United
Impressed greatly for the second preseason in a row, and first-team action seems only a matter of time.
Nathan Redmond (19), Norwich City
Chris Hughton pulled off one of the coups of the summer in securing this electric talent.
Chuba Akpom (17), Arsenal
Akpom boasts an excellent goalscoring record at every England youth level he's featured in, and impressed greatly during preseason this year.
He'll face plenty of competition for his spot, but he looks the biggest talent right now.
Saido Berahino (20), West Bromwich Albion
Berahino earned his first start for WBA last week and scored a hat-trick, affirming his great potential.
James Wilson (17), Manchester United
The youngster scored 14 goals in 13 starts last season despite injury issues. He's intelligent in his positioning and a string finisher, though could do with adding some bulk as he progresses.