Top 20 Future England Football Stars

With Fabio Capello at the helm, there is no doubt in my mind that England’s football future is looking bright. Of course being Italian I’m a bit biased, but Don Fabio is a winner and as such, the man usually likes to pick players who are winners themselves. No one will dispute argue that John Terry, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, and Wayne Rooney (just to name a few) are lacking in that department, so the only thing missing from this English golden generation of players are trophies. Fans of the Three Lions can only hope that Capello will fix that problem soon.

But speaking of generations, England’s future is looking bright not only because they have finally found a decent coach to guide them, but also because the young’ns knocking on the national team’s door have a few things to say themselves. From Jose Baxter through Gavin Hoyte, all the way to Danny Welbeck, there’s talent aplenty to pick from, and The Guardian writers have done just that: a selection of the “best of the crop”, 20 England players (aged 18 or under) to keep an eye on, the Three Lions future stars to watch.
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Note: Player information partially from IMScouting.com.

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Jose
Baxter
Age 16 1.79m / 5.9ft.
74kg / 162lbs
Striker .
Everton
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Said to be better than Wayne Rooney at 14. Bootle-born, he left school last summer and joined the Everton first-team squad that toured Switzerland and the US. Made his competitive senior debut with a substitute appearance at home to Blackburn in August, becoming Everton’s youngest first-team player.
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Mark
Beevers
Age 18 1.85m / 6.1ft.
80kg / 176lbs
Defender .
Sheff. Wed
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Last season’s supporters’ player of the year at Hillsborough, the centre-half has signed a contract to keep him at Wednesday until 2012. He stands 6ft 4in tall, is deceptively quick across the turf and strong in the air, and has already attracted interest from Premier League clubs.
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John
Bostock
Age 16 1.79m / 5.9ft.
67kg / 147lbs
Midfielder .
Tottenham
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Crystal Palace’s youngest player when he made his debut at 15 years 287 days last season before his controversial summer move to Spurs for an initial £700,000. Tall, elegant and visionary, the attacking midfielder became Tottenham’s youngest player, at 16 years 295 days, against Dinamo Zagreb.
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Nathan
Delfouneso
Age 17 1.85m / 6.1ft
78kg / 171lbs
Striker .
Aston Villa
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The 6ft 1in Birmingham-born striker made his first-team debut earlier this season in the Uefa Cup against Hafnarfjorour and scored a hat-trick on his first appearance for the England Under-17s in October 2007. A regular in reserve and academy sides, for whom he has been a prolific scorer.
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Fabian
Delph
Age 18 1.74m / 5.7ft.
60kg / 132lbs
Midfielder .
Leeds Utd
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Ken Bates laughed off Newcastle United’s £1m bid for a dynamic talent currently not only making his mark in League One but who has just broken into Stuart Pearce’s England Under-21 squad. Arsenal and Manchester United are also seriously interested, but his value has risen closer to £6m.
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Daniel
Drinkwater
Age 18 n/a Midfielder .
Manchester Utd
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Two-footed and boasting a fine passing range, Drinkwater has been with the club since he was nine. The young Mancunian’s progress was hindered by injury last year, but he remains highly regarded and is an England Under-19 international who looks likely to grace the Premier League.
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Jordan
Henderson
Age 18 1.82m / 6.0ft.
67kg / 147lbs
Midfielder .
Sunderland
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An elusive right-sided midfielder or deep-lying forward, and equally happy in the hole or drifting wide right, the Wearside-born Henderson caught the eye of England’s leading clubs during Sunderland’s run to the FA Youth Cup semi-finals last season. He made his first senior start against Blackburn last night.
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Gavin
Hoyte
Age 18 1.80m / 5.9ft.
71kg / 156lbs
Defender .
Arsenal
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Younger brother of the former Arsenal full-back, Justin, the defender joined the club at nine and has proved quick, athletic and astute both at right-back and centre-half. A regular with the England Under-19s and in Arsène Wenger’s Carling Cup side that enjoyed wins over Sheffield United and Wigan.
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Henri
Lansbury
Age 18 1.83m / 6.0ft.
75kg / 165lbs
Midfielder .
Arsenal
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Strongly built and powerful yet creative on the ball and a goal threat, the England Under-17 midfielder has been at Arsenal since he was nine and has recovered from the glandular fever that frustrated his progress in the second half of last season to feature in the Carling Cup this term.
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Josh
McEachran
Age 15 n/a Midfielder .
Chelsea
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Photo
N/A
A skilful left-footed midfielder whom Chelsea have retained despite persistent interest from Manchester United. He can play on the left or right and has already impressed Luiz Felipe Scolari at Stamford Bridge as he furthers his development in the youth sides. Has been captain of the England Under-16s.
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Jacob
Mellis
Age 17 n/a Midfielder .
Chelsea
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The England Under-19 international signed from Sheffield United in the summer of 2007 and has since been employed everywhere from attacking midfield – scoring twice against Liverpool reserves recently – to full-back and centre-half within the Chelsea academy set-up.
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Victor
Moses
Age 17 1.78m / 5.8ft.
72kg / 158lbs
Forward .
Crystal Palace
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Born in Nigeria but resident in the UK since he was five, the graduate of Palace’s academy broke into the first-team last season and has since signed a four-year professional contract at Selhurst Park. Strong, skilful and quick, he has maintained his progress this term.
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Nile
Ranger
Age 17 n/a Striker .
Newcastle
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The word among Newcastle United’s youth and reserve ranks is “Ranger is the danger”. The prolific striker, spirited north from Southampton’s youth set-up, has sat on the first team bench a few times already this season and is tipped for Shearer-esque scoring feats.
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Jack
Rodwell
Age 17 1.88m / 6.2ft.
72kg / 158lbs
Defender / Midfielder .
Everton
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Senior debut came as a substitute against Alkmaar at the age of 16 years 284 days, making him the youngest ever Everton player to appear in Europe. A current Under-19 international often compared to Rio Ferdinand, he is strong, quick and assured. Has made eight first-team appearances this season.
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Freddie
Sears
Age 18 1.70m / 5.6ft.
67kg / 147lbs
Forward .
West Ham
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A run of 25 goals in 24 matches for the youths and reserves forced him into the first-team set-up last season, and it took the striker just five minutes and 16 seconds to score his first senior goal, the winner against Blackburn in March. He has featured regularly this term under Gianfranco Zola.
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Jonjo
Shelvey
Age 16 n/a Midfielder .
Charlton
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The club’s youngest player, debuting at 16 years 59 days against Barnsley in April, he had made his mark as a goalscoring midfielder in the youth and reserves set-up at the Valley. He captained the England Under-16s in their 2007 Victory Shield campaign, scoring three goals in as many games.
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Danny
Welbeck
Age 18 1.85m / 6.1ft.
73kg / 160lbs
Striker .
Manchester Utd
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Skilful, strong and pacy with a prolific scoring record for the United junior sides. Sir Alex Ferguson likens the slightly unorthodox Welbeck to Portsmouth’s Nwankwo Kanu and has said “Danny has marvellous things about him.” An Under-19 international who has trained with the first team.
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Aidan
White
Age 17 n/a Defender .
Leeds Utd
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The full-back, who boasts a fine left foot and decent pace, made his debut earlier this season in the Carling Cup defeat of Crystal Palace and was given a standing ovation upon being substituted. He is now making regular appearances in the League One club’s first-team set-up.
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Jack
Wilshere
Age 16 1.70m / 5.6ft.
60kg / 132lbs
Midfielder .
Arsenal
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Eye-catching performances in the Carling Cup this season and Arsenal’s youngest league debutant, at 16 years 256 days, when he came on against Blackburn in September. He scored his first senior goal in the 6-0 rout of Sheffield United and had a fine game against Wigan on Tuesday.
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Michael
Woods
Age 18 1.82m / 6.0ft.
79kg / 173lbs
Midfielder .
Chelsea
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Plucked from Leeds United’s academy, much to the Yorkshire club’s frustration, the England Under-18 international made his first-team debut at Chelsea in January 2007 at 16 years 275 days. Scolari called the defensive midfielder up for last night’s Carling Cup tie against Burnley at Stamford Bridge.

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Did we forget anyone? Fire away your suggestions/comments below!

Marco Pantanella is the author & editor of the mCalcio blog

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