England’s Young Talent Starved of Chances

After the recent under 21 tournament the real debate about the future of young English talent is once again a hot topic of discussion. There was so much promise for the young team as they went into the tournament after an unbeaten qualifying campaign but once again were unable to perform when they reached the finals.

England only managed to win one of their 3 games and that was a narrow 1-0 win against in the end tournament winners Sweden. They lost 1-0 to Portugal and 3-1 against Italy. England were unable to show all of the promise that they had built up in preparation for the Finals. This once again shines a spotlight on the fact that young English talent is way behind the levels of that of other nations.

Harry Kane shows his disappointment as England crash out in the group stages
Harry Kane shows his disappointment as England crash out in the group stages

Why are our young players falling below their potential?

There are a few reasons why our players may not be reaching their full potential with the main one focused around the idea that they are not being given a chance of regular football at their club side.

I personally am a believer that this is the biggest contributor to the down fall of young English talent. The biggest example of this happening has to be Manchester City. They are the main contributors to ruining young English talent by leaving them left stranded on their bench to waste away.

I find it so painful to watch young English players being linked with Manchester City as I know they will not be given an opportunity in the starting team and they should’ve stayed with their current club. As a passionate football fan when I see young English talent make moves to some big premier league teams I worry about how there career will progress.

Players that have had their potential ruined

There have been many players that come to mind when I think of young English players having their potential lowered after bad transfer moves. Scott Sinclair, Jack Rodwell, Wilfried Zaha and Adam Johnson are a few names I can think of. 3 of the 4 players named have come from Manchester City with the other in Zaha being at Manchester United.

Scott Sinclair 

The day Scott Sinclair lost all of his potential and spent his time on the bench
The day Scott Sinclair lost all of his potential and spent his time on the bench

Scott Sinclair joined Manchester city in August 2012. In his 3 years at City after joining from Swansea where his career really took off he played only 13 games which is quite frankly disgusting that Manchester City could treat a player like that.

Sinclair was in the prime of his career at the age of 21 when he joined City and would have grown into a tremendous talent had he been given first team playing opportunities. The problem that Sinclair faced was that Manchester City at this same time had purchased some world class players after becoming a super power club. Sinclair had to fight for his place with the likes of David Silva and Jesus Navas who had much more big game experience than himself.

Sinclair wasted 3 years of his footballing career being a bench warmer at Manchester City and this was a huge disappointment as he has never looked the same player since he left Swansea City.

Sinclair is now trying to resurrect his career after finally leaving Manchester City and joining Aston Villa where he will look to get back to his best form which he hit in 2011. Unfortunately Sinclair’s chance of becoming a full England international have taken a major drop after not playing for such a long time. He had previously played for England from the under 17 to the under 21’s.

My Verdict On The Future of Scott Sinclair 

There is no doubt that Sinclair has some amazing footballing ability as he would not have had the hype that surrounded himself as a youngster otherwise. In my mind with a long run in his new role at Aston Villa there is no reason why he cannot rekindle the form that took him to the heights of interesting the likes of Manchester City. I think that Tim Sherwood will bring the best out of the young English International as Sherwood is a manager who I really respect as he gives young English internationals a chance in his squads (Jack Grealish, Micah Richards, Fabian Delph, Nathan Baker and Tom Cleverley) and this is all helping to benefit the English international team. The fact that Sinclair is surrounded by English players should also help him settle in well and Sherwood is a manager who he will be able to talk to if he needs some support. I think Sinclair will have a good season at Aston Villa this year and show everyone what the premier league was missing whilst he was at Manchester City.

Sinclair has been given a life line at Villa and i'm sure he will grab this opportunity with both hands
Sinclair has been given a life line at Villa and i’m sure he will grab this opportunity with both hands

Jack Rodwell 

Jack Rodwell fell into the same trap as Scott Sinclair

Rodwell was singed at the same time as Scott Sinclair for £12 million in the Summer of 2012 from Everton. There was a lot of interest around the young English midfielder especially from the top 4 clubs imperticular.

Rodwell was at Manchester City for a total of 2 years playing just 16 games and scoring 2 goals which is only just better than Sinclair. Rodwell soon realized that he was not receiving a fair chance at City and soon decided to push through a move to Sunderland. Rodwell has been fortunate enough to play for the full England national side and leaving Manchester City is only going to help increase this number.

Rodwell faced the same problem as Sinclair in the fact that Manchester City had much more experienced and “high class” names who they preferred playing over the young English internationals. The likes of Yaya Toure were always going to be preferred over Jack Rodwell.

The problem that both Rodwell and Sinclair faced at City was that they were being overlooked by foreign talent who had been given a chance to develop in their own country from a young age and therefore are more talented than the young English boys who are being overshadowed by the vast amount of foreign players that are attracted to the premier league. An example is David Silva someone in which Rodwell had to compete for a place against. In Spain where Silva started his career from a young age he was allowed to mature and develop into the world class player he is because his club didn’t overlook him and helped him grow into the player he is now.

My Verdict On The Future of Jack Rodwell 

Rodwell made a very sensible decision to leave Manchester City when he did and start to try to better his career once again after realizing he made a mistake joining Manchester City. It shows me that Rodwell is mature and realised that he had to make the switch or risk ruining his career further.

Although Sunderland was a big step down for Rodwell and this would not have been where people had pictured him to be at this stage of his career he has to build his reputation back up after losing his identity at City. Sunderland are a perfect club for Jack where he can gain valuable first team Premier League experience at a club who he is almost always guaranteed to be playing.

The future for Jack Rodwell in my eyes is bright. If he rediscovers his form that he had at Everton there is no reason why he cannot make his way back up the footballing pecking order. For me his career does not lie at Sunderland long term but this could be the biggest period of his career in deciding whether he reaches his known potential.

Rodwell at happier times with Sunderland
Rodwell at happier times with Sunderland

Wilfried Zaha 

Zaha in one of his few outings for Manchester United

Zaha joined Manchester United in January 2013 before he was immediately sent back out on loan to Crystal Palace for the rest of the season.

Zaha only played twice for Manchester United and was not given a fair chance to prove himself to the Old Trafford faithful. How can a player be judged on 2 appearances for a club?

As a Manchester United fan myself i remember feeling excited that we had secured the singing of Zaha as he was a young skillful player who was showing great potential at Crystal Palace. I really thought that he could be the answer to Manchester United’s struggling wingers as he possessed pure pace, skill and strength. He wasn’t afraid to take on players and this is what made him exciting in my eyes.

Fortunately for Zaha the one positive for him over both Sinclair and Rodwell was that he was sent out on loan during his 2 years at Old Trafford where United obviously hoped he would develop. However this was not the case and once Zaha returned from his loan spell from Palace he was allowed to return back on a free transfer.

You could argue that the damage done to Zaha’s development was less than that of Sinclair and Rodwell but still there were 2 years of Zaha’s career that were wasted. He could’ve carried on his career at Palace a lot longer first and then made a move when he was ready but this was not his fault as he did not know he was going to be treated in this way by Manchester United.

My Verdict On The Future for Wilfried Zaha 

Now Zaha was fortunate to be able to sort out this horrible transfer quickly as he returned back to Palace for last season where he once again showed the form that interested big teams in him in the first place. I think that he is going to have a great season at Palace this year and help the team push on to achieve great things. I am a huge fan of Zaha and always want to see him doing well even though i’m sad its not in a United shirt.

I know one day this boy will be in the England team if he carries on his progression at Crystal Palace. He is still very young and has lots of time to improve and develop. All of the traits of a great all round footballer are already there he just needs to make his performances consistent now and show everyone week in week out how talented he is.

Zaha back at Palace where he fits in so well
Zaha back at Palace where he fits in so well

What does the future hold for England’s as an international prospect 

England currently are unable to compete against the likes of Spain and Germany and if they want to be able to win the big tournaments they enter they will need to do so. The problem lays in the fact that the premier league is the biggest league in the world and as a result attracts the best players from all over the world. Why is this a downfall to England’s national team success you may ask?

The problem is that where the premier league attracts so many of the worlds best talent the young English players who come through the clubs academies are never being given a look in to the first team and as a result do not develop as they should do. In Spain or Germany etc youy will find a lot more of their home nation players in their starting XI.

An example of this is seen in the 2013 Champions League final between Borrusia Dortmund and Bayern Munich in which 18 of the 32 players in the squads were German. Lets compare this to Chelsea vs Manchester United the final in 2008 in Moscow only 10 of the 32 players were English and this is where the problem occurs.

English clubs are unwilling to play their young talent over these more well known European so called “super powers” and this has been the case for some time now. In the La Liga or Bundesliga as a young player you would be given the chance to prove your worth to the team whereas English clubs often send their young players out on loan to lower league clubs where development is halted.

Brazil are also a country that give their young players the best chance of progression by playing them from an early age. Chelsea this year have already signed two young 19 year old Brazilian’s in the form of Nathan and Wallace. This highlights the problems the young English players have. If Chelsea are signing these young Brazilian players where does this leave the likes of the youth that they already have at their disposal.

For England to have any hope of challenging for international honors clubs really do need to change their philosophy or the English FA need to insert a rule before things get out of hand and we are seeing no English players being able to play for a club in their own country.


For England to progress it is important that clubs such as Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Tottenham, West Ham and Leicester continue to play home grown English talent week in week out at the highest level. It is important that teams like Chelsea follow the approach of Tottenham and use the young English talent as their disposal as Spurs proved you can find some real hidden gems in Harry Kane.

Kane is a great example of what impact young English players can make in the premier league if they are given the chance by their clubs rather than being overlooked or sent out on loan. More needs to be done to improve the chances of young English starters in the premier league and it needs to be done quickly before we as a footballing nation are left behind.

Young English Talent given a chance
Young English Talent given a chance

Please give me your opinions on any rules you would like to see implemented in the premier league following on from this idea. Or do you think their are other reasons for England’s poor performances in competitions


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