England's Youth Are Ready
With the plane tickets booked, new hotel reservations cleared and the bags packed for next summer, England are able to breath a big sigh of relief and say they are going to next summer's World Cup.
While the beaches of Brazil await for the England squad, the 25 men who will travel with Roy Hodgson and his staff to the home of samba football is very much unknown.
The final international break of 2013 may mean more to those playing in playoff qualifiers than those participating in international friendlies, but for England's squad, the coming two games could make or break the international futures of some of the countries brightest talents.
Both Chile and Germany will provide though tests, with either nation able to strike fiercely on the counter attack with fast flowing, attacking football. Frank Lampard has shown this season that he can't last a full 90 minutes in the fast pace of the Premier League, while Steven Gerrard, although still a pivotal piece in the heart of Liverpool's midfield, has started the season playing leisurely, down beat football.
A fast paced England midfield has been something that has eluded the national side for a number of years, but with Gerrard struggling with a hip problem and Lampard unable to last a high tempo game of football, Hodgson has the excuse to look elsewhere for a midfield duo. One that works.
With Michael Carrick also lacking match fitness, The England manager has the chance to see what a young, energetic midfield looks like against two of their World Cup rivals. Jack Wilshere and Tom Cleverly are the future of the country's midfield, while the finally recognised Adam Lallana and the exuberant, but not yet polished, Andros Townsend both have the pace and ability to take attacks to the by-line rather than resorting to crossing from deep.
With Wayne Rooney, hopefully, continuing the devastating form and leadership that he's shown in a United shirt this season England's midfield could look less like the dwindling 'Golden Generation' and more like a young vibrant side of in form players.
If the last two outings have taught England anyone, it's that players like Townsend, who may not possess the quality to be called 'World class', can compensate for their lack of experience and skill that with hard work, energetic play and determination to prove themselves.
Lallana, Wilshere, Cleverly, Jay Rodriguez and others are all waiting for their moment like Townsend was. This international break, the opportunity is there to give the youth the break England need.
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