Over the last few years, Premier League managers have looked closer to home in seeking to find solutions to tactical problems. While top-flight clubs in England have long been criticised for showing a lack of faith in their young players, coaching has since become a method of combatting the increasingly inflated prices of the transfer market, alongside building for the future.
As a result, we’re going to analyse how this new-found faith can offer continued progression for the England national team, while also looking at some of the Premier League’s most recent breakthrough stars.
The Foundations for Continued Progression
Aside from benefiting Premier League clubs, placing faith in academy prospects can be central to the future foundations of the England National team. Before their 2-0 victory over MK Dons in the Carabao Cup, Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders stated that the champions of Europe are deliberately operating with a small squad to give youth a chance. During the fixture, the Reds handed first-team and senior debuts to English youngsters Harvey Elliott and Rhian Brewster respectively, while the likes of Mason Greenwood are featuring in European matches for Manchester United.
At present, England are 9/2 with international football betting to win Euro 2020, and with just over 37 per cent of players who featured in the Premier League’s opening day being eligible for selection, Gareth Southgate will have plenty of options at his disposal for the tournament. Although there are concerns that many players will miss out on the opportunity to represent their country, there can be no doubts that the heightened competition for places can provide the catalyst for future national team success.
Although some clubs operate with a philosophy of promoting their young players to the first team, the Premier League has seen an increased number of English players featuring in recent times. On the opening day of the new season, 22 English starters featured for last season’s top six, including two teenage talents in the form of Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson. Following their arrivals in England, Jurgen Klopp, Mauricio Pochettino, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Unai Emery and, more recently, Frank Lampard, have all shown a desire to give first-team opportunities to many academy graduates.
While several breakthrough stars have emerged, few can match the early career successes of Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold. After forcing his way into the starting eleven back in 2016, the 20-year-old became the club’s youngest player to start two consecutive Champions League finals, before being rewarded with a winner’s medal in 2019. Furthermore, and despite working under a transfer ban, Lampard’s decision to field many of Chelsea’s up-and-coming talents has thus far been justified. With Tammy Abraham second in the golden boot race on seven goals, and with Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori delivering consistent performances, the newly-appointed manager is reaping the rewards of having faith in the club’s youth.
Faith and Success Can Become Intertwined
For a vast period of time, faith in youngsters and success have been seen to be mutually exclusive. However, going forward, the foundations for future growth within the national team setup appear dependant on greater competition, improved coaching and increased club opportunities.