2014 World Cup: 5 English Youngsters Key To Future Success

Clayton MarshContributor IJanuary 26, 2011

2014 World Cup: 5 English Youngsters Key To Future Success

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03:  The teams line up for the national anthems before the UEFA EURO 2012 Group G Qualifying match between England and Bulgaria at Wembley Stadium on September 3, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
    Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

    Before every World Cup, England goes in with hyped up and over-the-top expectations set by their fans and the overly-critical British media.

    They haven't been crowned champions since 1966, and this year was no different. Shock draws to Algeria and USA in the group stage, and an early and premature exit in the round of 16 to Germany after being embarrassed in a brutal 4-1 loss.

    Germany showed that youth is the answer, with Mezut Ozil (age 22) and Thomas Muller (age 21) being the stars of the show. They dominated the game, and ran England out of steam.

    If England want to meet these expectations, the following five youngsters must step up, reach their potential, and make England world champions once again.

5. Theo Walcott

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    Walcott celebrates a goal.
    Walcott celebrates a goal.Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    At age 21, Walcott currently plays for Arsenal FC, and is primarily a right winger but can also play striker.

    In 2006, he was a shock addition to Sven Goran-Erickson's World Cup squad, and from there was destined for the spotlight. Since then, he has failed to reach his full potential, but along the road has showed flashes of brilliance.

    Walcott is blessed with breath-taking speed, and has the ability to be a complete game-changer. England has not had the luxury of a star right midfielder since David Beckham retired, and a variety of different players have featured in the position.

    Now is Walcott's chance to solidify his spot in the England team for years to come.

    Note: While being in the 2006 World Cup squad, Walcott was left out of the 2010 squad.

4. Jack Rodwell

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    Jack Rodwell (in white) battling for possession.
    Jack Rodwell (in white) battling for possession.Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Jack Rodwell currently deploys as a defensive midfielder for Everton FC, featuring at the U-21 level for England multiple times.

    Rodwell is hotly tipped as the future heart of the midfield for England. He is a big, strong player who can make game-saving and crunching tackles as well as execute a clinical pass to split the defence.

    He is emerging into a regular at Everton, and his game has been rapidly developing over the past few years.

    If you look at previous World Cup champions, all of them have had an enforcing, defensive minded presence in the center of the midfield.

    Spain had Busquets. Italy had Gattuso. Now England has Rodwell.

3. Adam Johnson

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    Johnson dribbles down the flank for Manchester City.
    Johnson dribbles down the flank for Manchester City.Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

    Johnson is a left and right winger for Manchester City, after completing his move from Middlesborough in 2010.

    He was narrowly omitted from the 2010 World Cup squad, but has become an England regular since then. In previous years, England have been forced to use Steven Gerrard, an attacking central midfielder on the left due to the shortage of quality left wingers.

    Now they have Adam Johnson.

    From the left flank, he uses his exceptional package of skills to blow by defenders with ease, and from the right, he cuts inside effortlessly.

    His combined skills of agility, pace, and technique have made him a great success in the Premier League.

2. Jack Wilshere

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05:  Jack Wilshere of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium on January 5, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    19-year-old Jack Wilshere is a center midfielder playing for Arsenal FC.

    He has an attacking mentality, and has had a breakout season this year, becoming a regular in the center of midfield. He made his England debut in September 2010.

    Wilshire consistently showcases his ability to weave through enemy defenses and clinically play the final ball through his exceptional combination of dribbling and passing, along with his superb vision.

    The attacking midfield position has been revolutionized and become much more common in the modern game. Look at the last World Cup: Spain had Xavi, Holland had Sneijder, Brazil had Kaka.

    Now, for years and years to come, England has Wilshere.

1. Joe Hart

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    LEICESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 09:  Joe Hart the Manchester City goalkeeper is seen during the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON 3rd Round match between between Leicester City and Manchester City at Walkers Stadium on January 9, 2011 in Leicester, England.  (
    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Since the retirement of David Seaman, England have cycled through an abundance of keepers, none of whom have been able to make the position their own.

    Scott Carson had his howler against Croatia to deny England a spot at Euro 2008, and Robert Green has his infamous attempted save against USA's Clint Dempsey.

    Since the World Cup, Joe Hart has become the England goalkeeper. He, like Wilshere, has had a breakout season, and has overtaken Shay Given as Manchester City's starting goalkeeper.

    At Manchester City, he has the opportunity to play in Europe, and the best league in the world, alongside some of the greatest players in the world.

    Hart is eccentric, can command the defense, and make the most acrobatic of saves.

     Joe Hart is the future.