With the old-guard of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and John Terry almost dismissed, who will be around in 8 years’ time filling the void?
1. Jack Butland
The former Birmingham keeper has been tipped for great success in the future. He was the starting goalkeeper for the Great Britain football team, playing four times, and has also been capped with England, starting in the 2-1 victory against Italy after the 2012 European Championships. He has seen his development halted somewhat with his move to Stoke, firstly serving as third-choice behind both Asmir Begović and Thomas Sørensen. But with injuries to the pair, he has since played three times for the Potters, having previously been on loan a Championship side Barnsley before being recalled.
2. Jon Flanagan
2013/14 has been a breakthrough year for young Jon Flanagan, who has quickly endeared himself to the Kop faithful with his old-fashioned, no nonsense tackling being a main strength of his. With injuries to full-backs José Enrique and Glen Johnson, Flanagan has taken his chance, appearing seven times for the Reds, even scoring a goal in the 5-0 demolition of Tottenham back in mid-December. The 21-year old will be hoping for further chances at domestic and international level, being capped three times for the England U21 since 2011.
3. Phil Jones
The versatile Manchester United centre-back has been touted as a future England captain by his former manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. The Three Lions international has been deployed in several positions this season, such as a right-back, a central defensive midfielder, but has yet to make the centre back position his own. Whilst his versatility may come in handy for England for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil, he is most certainly a shoe-in for the 2022 competition in Qatar, already being capped nine times at international level.
4. John Stones
The Everton centre-back has found regular first team opportunities difficult to come by this season. But Stones, 19, has recently found appearances easier to come by, with the injury to Sylvain Distin and the fall of Johnny Heitinga proving profitable for the young centre back, who can also deputise at right back. Having been tipped alongside team-mate Ross Barkley to succeed this season by manager Roberto Martinez, he has gone on to make seven appearances for the U21’s.
5. Luke Shaw
The Southampton left-back has been the subject of intense transfer speculation this window, with Chelsea and Manchester United both reportedly scouting the 18-year old. The young defender has already won many admirers in the Premier League, making 20 appearances for the Saints this season. A modern full-back who likes to dribble, cross and play short passes, he still has plenty of time to gain a taste of international football for the U21’s. However, the forthcoming World Cup will likely come too soon for the young Englishman, with Leighton Baines, Ashley Cole and Kieran Gibbs all above him in the pecking order. He will surely be No. 1 choice come Qatar, with all three of aforementioned players likely to be too old for the world’s greatest stage.
6. Jordan Henderson
Henderson has been heavily criticized in the past, having failed to live up to millions of pounds Liverpool forked out for him back in 2011. However, this season has seen a breakthrough for the former Sunderland midfielder, playing in 23 games for the Reds, scoring a goal against Tottenham. Sir Alex Ferguson’s criticism of him earlier in the season has seemed to motivate the 23-year old, who is now firmly within grasp of a ticket on England’s plane to Brazil later this year, having already made seven international appearances.
7. Ross Barkley
The Evertonian has been creating a lot of buzz this season, breaking onto the scene under manager Roberto Martinez, who has described the attacking midfielder as a mix between Paul Gascoigne and Michael Ballack. Having been widely tipped to bear England’s future hopes in the season, Barkley will be hoping for a strong end to the season to make the World Cup squad. He is already a fully-fledged England international
8. Jack Wilshere
The versatile Arsenal midfielder will be hoping to inspire England in the summer, surely being a shoe-in for the starting XI, let alone the squad. He has already put in a number of memorable performances internationally, most notably the 2-1 victory over Brazil in February last year where he was named man of the match. England fans will be praying the midfielder stays fit for the World Cup this season, being arguably their main hope of besting group competitors Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica. He will surely be playing in Qatar, requiring he stays injury free.
9. Raheem Sterling
The Liverpool star broke onto the Premier League last season, with Brendan Rodgers handing him his opportunity. He has been able to thrive this season, playing alongside the lethal partnership of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, and has scored three times in 16 appearances. With the injury to Theo Walcott, Sterling will be battling it out for a starting place this World Cup alongside the likes of Andros Townsend, Adam Lallana and Adam Johnson amongst others for a starting birth.
10. Saido Berahino
The West Brom striker has burst onto the scene this season, managing four goals in 16 appearances. On 28 September, he scored his first Premier League goal, the winner in a 2–1 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford. He has made four appearances for the U21’s this campaign, bagging six goals in the process. On 2 December 2013, Berahino extended his contract with West Brom which commits him to the club until June 2017. He is an outsider for the coming World Cup, but should at least be in the picture for the Qatar event.
11. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Despite limited opportunities at Arsenal since his £15 million move from Southampton back in 2011, the wingers’ talents are undeniable. The 20-year old has already played 13 games at international level, scoring three times, including a cracking goal against the Brazilians at the official opening of the refurbished Maracanã stadium. He is an outside bet for this World Cup and, despite the injury to Theo Walcott, will surely have to hold down a regular place for Arsenal this season should he want to feature in Brazil this summer. He is however tipped as one of the future stars expected to hold the expectations of English fans for the next ten years.