Why Manchester City Holds the Key to English National Team's Future
Manchester City’s spending spree during the first transfer window is no secret. The club’s owner Sheikh Mansour has made no attempt to keep it a mystery.
After dropping over £120 million on new players, there is no questioning City’s talent pool from top to bottom, but finishing the season anywhere except in the top three would be considered a failure.
Internationals like Italian Mario Balotelli, Argentine Carlos Tevez, Togolesian Emmanuel Adebayor, Spaniard David Silva or Ivorians Yaya, and Kolo Touré are among a plethora of foreign players to come to Eastlands over the past two seasons. Manager Roberto Mancini also has a handful of great young English players up for selection.
These domestic footballers hold crucial spots for England’s national team in the future. Midfielders like Adam Johnson and James Milner, defenseman Micah Richards, and keeper Joe Hart are all under 25 and look to be in their primes for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Milner, Richards, and Hart already hold regular first-11 selections for their club, with Johnson having to battle his international counterparts for a spot on the pitch.
For an organization that has received some criticism for composing a largely international squad, Man City has quite a few Englishmen of worth for international competitions.
Gareth Barry, Wayne Bridge, Joleon Lescott, and Shaun Wright-Phillips are players who see the pitch in City colors with some consistency, but they may be on the outside looking in come time for England’s next selection.
As of right now, England’s current national team has four of City’s players: Hart, Barry, Milner, and Wright-Phillips.
All of these players combine to mold into a solid English core for Manchester City, a group that could yield plenty of call-ups for the national selection.
For the 2010 World Cup, Johnson was on the cusp of a selection, but manager Fabio Capello left him off the roster. He surely looks to be a factor in four years, unless his career takes a turn for the worse.
Bridge should have been included on the latest World Cup squad, but he decided against it. He’s subsequently been pushed out of a starting job for City due to more notable incoming transfers, so his future for England may be in limbo unless he finds another club.
Lescott is behind far too many English center backs to garner serious consideration. While his grit and strength in the final third are critical for club, there are better options for country. But don’t discount his chances should injuries get the best of the rest.
Looking ahead to 2014, current City players that surely will get multiple looks for national representation are Hart, Milner, Richards, and Johnson. Some borderline possibilities, mostly due to age, are Barry, Lescott, and Wright-Phillips.
This isn’t to say this small core will bring back the glory to England, but they no doubt will command a huge influence on the team’s performance for years to come. Not only does City have them in numbers, but they have age on their side as well.
For now, at least seven of City’s players are in line for some sort of national team consideration. Only time will tell if that number goes up or down.
English players currently on Manchester City’s roster:
GK Joe Hart, 23
GK Stuart Taylor, 29
DF Javan Vidal, 21
DF Joleon Lescott, 28
DF Wayne Bridge, 30
DF Shaleum Logan, 22
DF Nedum Onuoha, 23 (on loan to Sunderland)
DF Micah Richards, 22
MF Adam Johnson, 23
MF Gareth Barry, 29
MF James Milner, 24
MF Michael Johnson, 22
MF Shaun Wright-Phillips, 28
FW Alex Tchuimeni-Nimely, 19
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