England's Rising Stars: The Top 10 Most Influential Players in England's Future
Euro 2004, the 2006 World Cup and the 2010 World Cup were regarded as three tournaments that England should thrive in, particularly because of the ability and depths of the squads. However, England failed to make it past the quarter finals in any of these tournaments. They were even soundly beaten by a superb Germany side in the Round of 16 of the latest World Cup in South Africa. This was surprising to say the least, as England entered the World Cup with one of the strongest squads in recent years.
Amidst the chaos that broke out after England's phenomenal flop, there was call for a revamping of the squad and an overhaul of management. However, Capello may just have found his scapegoat, a few young men that may change the face of British football for years to come.
10. Joe Hart
Club: Manchester City
Perhaps he has already risen, but nonetheless, at 23 years of age, Joe Hart should be between the sticks for a long while. Hart bounced around from club to club for a few years as Man City sent him out on loans for experience, and it paid off.
Hart made his return to Manchester City at the beginning of the 2010-2011 season. In the first league match against Spurs, Hart put on a man of the match performance. He has excelled so much throughout the current season, Roberto Mancini has had no choice but to play him over a fantastic goalkeeper, Shay Given (who would start at many other clubs, just like half of City's bench).
Capello called Hart to the World Cup in South Africa, but he didn't see any pitch time, which was left to Robert Green until his infamous blunder allowed David James to step up. Since the World Cup, Capello has chosen to play Hart, and it has been to good effect. Consequently, Hart has cemented himself as the No. 1 choice for England, and will have a heavy influence on the success of the team.
9. Marc Albrighton
Club: Aston Villa
At 21 years of age, Marc Albrighton has become one of Aston Villa's go to men in the midfield. With the departure of Gareth Barry and James Milner, both to player hoarding Manchester City, Villa has had considerable holes in the midfield. Nonetheless, this has given Villa's homegrown youngster the ability to put his skills on show.
In his first season of considerable action for Villa, Albrighton has stood out in the middle of Villa Park. Making 35 appearances this season so far (in all competitions), Albrighton has scored six times and has five assists.
Though he has not received a senior debut, at 21 years old, he is moving in the right direction. A call up to the under 21s last year has provided Albrighton with the pedestal he needs in order to thrust himself into the senior England side.
8. Danny Welbeck
Club: Sunderland (loan from Manchester United)
Having made a few appearances for Manchester United over the years, Danny Welbeck has certainly impressed but not quite hit the form that United is looking for. Therefore a loan out to Sunderland this season was a step in the right direction for Welbeck's career.
Since his arrival at Sunderland this season, Welbeck has made 22 appearances and scored six goals. Welbeck has more or less become the strike partner of Asamoah Gyan at Sunderland, since the departure of club favorite Darren Bent to Aston Villa.
Welbeck made his senior international debut for England recently in a friendly against Ghana. Ironically, Welbeck's strike partner at Sunderland broke English hearts by scoring a late equaliser. After the match Welbeck said that he would consider playing for Ghana (as he is eligible through family), however, it seems if he learns from his Ghanaian partner Gyan, Welbeck could become a great English striker.
7. Kieran Gibbs
Arsenal has been having defensive blunders all over the place recently, with a slip up in the League Cup Final being the most disappointing. Perhaps, it is time for Arsene Wenger to slip Kieran Gibbs somewhere into Arsenal's back four.
There is no doubt that Gibbs has talent, and he has the pace to match that of many top strikers around—it seems he should be getting more starts. Though his appearances have been few and far between this season and last, Gibbs' ability has not been overlooked as he has received call ups from the England under 21s and the senior sides.
With more time and more starts, Gibb's seems like he could grow into a sure replacement for Ashley Cole at left back when the time comes.
6. Nathan Delfouneso
Club: Burnley (loan from Aston Villa)
As with Marc Albrighton, Nathan Delfouneso has been another young stand-out performer for Aston Villa this season. With limited strike options for part of the season, and an early departure for James Milner, Delfouneso found himself included in the starting 11 for Villa.
Delfouneso found success at the England under 19s level, where he earned 25 caps and nine goals. He then carried this success to the under 21s level where he has earned seven caps and two goals. A recent loan from Villa to Burnley had been completed and may help increase this players stock for the England senior side.
5. Jack Rodwell
Recent speculation has surfaced that Manchester United are interested in swooping for Jack Rodwell. When Sir Alex Ferguson thinks about purchasing a player, there is a pretty good chance that there is potential there.
The Everton midfielder has seen much success at the club this season, especially for only being 20 years of age. Rodwell's ability has earned him 14 caps for the England under 21s, where he has scored two goals.
Position wise, Rodwell likes to play in the centre of the park in a similar position to Jack Wilshere. If Rodwell excels at the club level and becomes a promising player, pairing him up with Wilshere in the middle of the park would be a smart move for England in the future.
4. Chris Smalling
Club: Manchester United
With Rio Ferdinand missing a lot of the current season through injury, Chris Smalling has had to step up to the plate as one of Manchester United's starting centre backs. Just three years ago, Smalling was playing in the Isthmian League Premier Division and is now a regular player for Manchester United—a considerable leap from the Isthmian League to the Premier League, and it shows the ability that this young player has.
Sir Alex Ferguson's faith in starting him in the back when needed, proves that Smalling is a player that is worth his weight. With a 6' 4'' frame, Smalling is a dominant defender and has shown that through his performances with United this season. With more nurturing and opportunity, Smalling is a player who can blossom into a great.
With 10 appearances for the England Under 21s, Smalling is crawling his way up through the ranks to a senior debut. When Rio and JT's time has run out, Smalling is a sure candidate for England's next great centre back, and at 21, he has plenty of time to prove himself.
3. Andy Carroll
Liverpool went absolutely rampant in the January transfer window and Andy Carroll was a key purchase. With the selling of misfiring Fernando Torres to Chelsea for around £50 million, Liverpool needed strikers—Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez were their acquisitions. Carroll's £35 million move to Anfield from St. James' Park marked him as the most expensive British footballer in history.
Many say that is a ludicrous sum for a player who only just proved himself in the Premier League this season. Though it may be a lot to pay, Liverpool will have no problem turning this 6' 3'' powerhouse into a world class striker.
Carroll recently made his England debut against Ghana, scoring the England's only goal in a 1-1 draw. A towering aerial threat, dominating presence in the penalty area, and a ferocious strike, Carroll should grow into an impressive striker and England regular.
2. Adam Johnson
Club: Manchester City
Electric pace, dazzling footwork, and a great left peg, Adam Johnson is a player who brings excitement and energy to football matches. Johnson has the ability to change football matches in an instant, and his performances this season have proven that.
At Manchester City, Johnson has played many games (mostly off the bench) and scored many important goals, including the game winner against Blackpool on New Year's Day. Johnson's performances paid dividends, as he got called up to the England squad to play in two Euro 2012 Qualifying matches against Bulgaria and Switzerland. Johnson scored in both matches, as England went on to win.
Unfortunately, Johnson spends a lot of time on the Manchester City bench, along with many fellow Englishman, including Shaun Wright-Phillips, Joleon Lescott, and James Milner. If he is to become an England regular, Johnson will need to continue his form for club and country and cement a spot in City's starting XI.
1. Jack Wilshere
Many are already calling him the next England captain, and the way Jack Wilshere has grown and matured as a player, it is hard disagree. He is quite possibly the best young talent that England has produced in a long while, and it is about time.
An exceptional left foot, great work ethic, and a drive to win, Jack Wilshere has many of the essentials needed to be a successful England player. He has already shown his prowess in the center of midfield at Arsenal with outstanding performances against Barcelona in the Champions League. For a 19-year-old to be on the field with the likes of Xavi, Iniesta, Villa and Messi, and shine the brightest amongst Arsenal's stars speaks volumes of the ability that this kid has.
Four senior caps to his name already, Wilshere is a player that is here to stay. This is a player England cannot afford to screw up, as with Theo Walcott, and a place needs to be made for him in midfield, quickly.