Football: The next big wave

Football: The next big wave

David Beckham and gang were tipped to be a force at Euro 2004, and hit their peak at the 2006 World Cup.

But they flopped on both counts.

With the international retirement of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, the curtain fell on a group of Englishmen who were supposed to return the nation to football's mountain-top.

Today, experts worry that the lack of playing opportunities for young English footballers in the Premier League will keep the national team in the doldrums.

A recent BBC survey showed that English players accounted for just 32.26 per cent of playing time last season. In 1994, it was 69 per cent.

Is the future of the Three Lions so bleak?

Maybe not.

From out of nowhere, young Harry Kane has burst onto the scene to become Tottenham Hotspur's key player in their push for a top-four place.

Liverpool's Raheem Sterling is showing no signs of slowing down following his breakthrough season in the 2013/14 campaign.

At Everton, Ross Barkley is starting to prove that he could be England's most exciting midfield talent since Paul Gascoigne.

And there's also Arsenal's Jack Wilshere who turned 23 only two months ago.

Is this England's next Golden Generation?

Can they peak by the pan-continental Euro 2020 Finals, when Wembley will host the semi-finals and final? Or thrive at the 2022 World Cup Finals in Qatar?

Fasten your seat belts, England fans

garylim@sph.com.sg

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