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 Thursday, 9 January, 2003, 10:36 GMT
England's future stars?
Sheffield United's Michael Tonge
Michael Tonge and Neil Mellor join the growing ranks of young English stars with goals in Wednesday's Worthington Cup game.

Which other young players could make future England teams?


This season has seen the emergence of several bright talents in the Premiership.

Wayne Rooney was the first to explode onto the scene at Everton before being joined shortly after by Leeds United's James Milner.

Wednesday's Worthington Cup semi-final saw starring roles played by Sheffield United's Michael Tonge and Liverpool's Neil Mellor.

Future England teams could also include Chelsea's Carlton Cole or Nottingham Forest's Michael Dawson.

Who at your club looks like a future England prospect?


This debate is now closed. See below for a selection of your e-mails.



David Bentley of Arsenal is one to watch. A brilliant all-round player and an entertainer as well. A long term replacement for Bergkamp and a future England regular. Watch this space!
Matthew Armitage, England

How about some of the young English talent that never was in recent years:

Steve Simonsen (Everton), Phil Neville (Man Utd), Matthew Upson, (Arsenal), Lee Hendrie (Aston Villa), Danny Cadamarteri (Everton), Ritchie Humphreys (Sheff Wed), Carl Cort (Newcastle), Kevin Davies (Southampton).

However, two to look out for - Cherno Samba and Paul Iffil of Millwall.
Daniel Kemp, UK

Keep it quiet but there's an excellent goal keeper at Chesterfield only 16, and already playing for the under 19's - Keith Matthews. Very highly regarded. Expected to make England under 19's by this time next year.
Stuart Stretch, England

Keep an eye on young Stuart Parnaby at Middlesbrough. He has made the right-back slot his own this season in one of the meanest defences in the Premier League. His confidence and proficiency going forward is also increasing with every game.
JC, England

Well there are the two that everyone has been talking about, the first one obviously being Wayne Rooney - who scored a great goal against us to end our unbeaten run. The other is James Milner of Leeds, who clearly possesses an unbelievable talent.

I would also like to mention Arsenal's Jermaine Pennant, who is currently out on loan, and will be one to watch for the future. Although he is experienced, Joe Cole is still young so can be mentioned in this category of young stars.
Joseph Verney, United Kingdom

John Welsh is a great prospect in defence or midfield

Wedge, England

Michael Tonge is the best talent in England. His price tag should be doubled. Neil Mellor has no talent and Sheff Utd wouldn't have him.
Spaniad, England

I agree with Paul Gregory - Robert Green at Norwich has been the best keeper in the First Division this season.
Andrew, UK

Watch out for the two stars of Bharuch United Rayhaan Atcha and Mohammed Rokad. They both are 16 years old and currently are internationals for the national team.
Poonam, India

Michael Dawson and John Terry need experience at international level. John Welsh is a great prospect in defence or midfield. Liverpool are in such crisis when it could be fixed simply by recalling Richie Partridge on either wing, why sign a wide man when he is already at the club. Defoe for England.
Wedge, England

This is ridiculous!! Neil Mellor has played less than 10 games for Liverpool and some correspondents are touting him for the England squad! He's hardly set the world alight has he?

And before picking your squads for the 2006 World Cup, make sure you qualify for the tournament.
Martin, Wales

How about this for the next World Cup. Kirkland, Carragher, Ferdinand, Woodgate, Cole, Beckham, Gerrard, Dunn, Murphy. Dyer, Owen. Subs: J. Cole, Mellor, King, Robinson, Rooney. How about that!!
Jake, Southport

But another good Sheffield prospect is Tony Crane

Michael, England

I think Andy Kirk is a great prospect. He is 23, Northern Irish international striker and scoring regularly for Hearts. Watch out England in future games.
Kenneth Rae, Scotland

Maybe there are many good young players but I don't know how any of you can say 'stop talking about Wayne Rooney' all the time. The lad will be a world-class talent and England's greatest forward without a doubt.

If you saw his performance against Bolton then you would agree. He left Ivan Campo for dead every time he ran at him and there are not many forwards who can do that except Henry. He is the best young player in England.
Dean, England

As a Sheffield Wednesday fan I regret to say that Michael Tonge is a very good player, he only came onto the scene last year. But another good Sheffield prospect is Tony Crane (Sheffield Wednesday). He is a midfielder but because of a shortage of defenders he is restricted to the defence. Look out for him in the future.
Michael, England

I'm a Gunners fan and even I think that Rooney's goal was ace! Goalkeepers: Kirland, Hoult. Defenders: Terry, Dawson, King, Brown, Bridge. Midfielders: Wright-Phillips, Dyer, Cole. Forwards: Jeffers, Rooney, Smith, Beattie. I've seen them all, I love football!
Amy Hobson age 11, England)

We are all getting very excited about Rooney and Milner. But do you remember Danny Cadamateri, Richie Humphreys and Mark Burchill? They are all mediocre players now.
Ste, UK

I believe both Carlton Cole and John Terry should be in your list. They both look very impressive.
Kelvin Lyons, England

Newcastle has a couple of outstanding young players in Michael Chopra and Richard Offiong

Sean, England
I can't begin to believe you didn't include Wes Brown. Arguably one of biggest defensive talents around at the moment. Rio and Wes will form a solid defence for Man Utd and England for years to come.
Simon, England

One of the best prospects I've seen in recent years is none other than Luke Rodgers of Shrewsbury Town. Everyone saw him rip apart Everton last weekend, but not everyone will know he does that almost every single week. If he can secure a move to a big club, then there's no reason why he can't be an integral part of any future England setup.
Jim, England

There are good young players outside the Premiership as well. Marlon King of Gillingham is a good example. We'll have to see how he plays against Woodgate in the FA Cup. Watch this space!
Neil, England

Newcastle has a couple of outstanding young players in Michael Chopra and Richard Offiong. The future is bright on the Tyne!
Sean, England

Tony Hibbert will undoubtedly be in the England line up in the next two years. This season he has been Mr. Reliable at right back and for a 21-year-old he has shown remarkable maturity and will be a credit to the England set up.
Robbie G, Everton, UK

Sean Davis deserves a mention in this list as a future England captain. He is the sole reason Fulham aren't bottom, and he gave Gerrard a masterclass at Loftus Road in November. Also, Alan Smith will be our best forward at the next World Cup.
James, England

I have noticed some of the players you have mentioned have only had a few good months. You can't say that someone can play internationally against the likes of Nesta and Cannavaro, if they have only had a good few months against the likes of the Liverpool, West Brom and West Ham's defences. I think clubs need to play their players for a lot more experience and the real ones will come through. Some of those listed above won't last the pace.

One last note, keep an eye on a young player for Blackburn Rovers called Ciaran Donnelly. He will be one of the best players ever if he is brought up properly by Blackburn.
Neil, Belgium

Wayne Routledge of Crystal Palace is one to watch. He has fantastic control of the ball, wonderful to watch when running at defenders.
Ben, England

Many people probably haven't heard of him but there is a 15-year-old on Bradford's books called Tony Lane who is one to watch out for in the future.
Kev, UK

At the villa we are being severely overlooked as the front runner of young talent, strange as we are the holders of the FA Youth Cup. The Moore brothers are fantastic prospects with the elder scoring on his debut and performing well leading the line against Man Utd.
Peter Nash, England

John Welsh at Liverpool is a cert in a couple of years

Malcolm, England

The future for English football is bright. The problem is players are over exposed to early and burn out. At a young age they need more time to develop both as players, professionals and individuals.

But with a new crop of kids coming through at Man Utd and young Brits breaking through at all the other clubs everything looks rosy in the garden.
Matt, England

I think I still have time. I'm 24 now and not particularly amazing, but you never know. Let's just hope Sven comes down and watches the pub teams of this country occasionally.
Alan Nettleton, England

John Welsh at Liverpool is a cert in a couple of years - midfield or defence. Also expect Malcolm Christie and John Terry to become regulars soon.
Malcolm, England

Michael Tonge is one of three good young players at Bramall Lane, Phil Jagielk is one and Harley is the other. He should get his chance for England whether it is senior or Under-21 level. Maybe next season as this season he is just finding his feet.
Chris Edwards, England

Portugal has many good young players and England has many also such as Rooney and Milner - Euro 2004 Final, England V Portugal (sorry but Portugal will win!!).
Carlos Manuel, Portugal

Ledley King and Matty Etherington come to mind at Spurs

Moggy, UK

As an avid Evertonian, I need not tell you about the obvious talents of Wayne Rooney. He will play for England within the year! But a word of praise & future recognition must also go to the hard- working Tony Hibbert. A future England right-back if ever there was one!
Stewart L MacLaren, Spain

I am a Birmingham City fan, but despite this I think Aston Villa's Darius Vassell is a great player, also Lee Hendrie should be given a chance, possibly alongside Leeds new star James Milner.
Luke Davies, England

Ledley King and Matty Etherington come to mind at Spurs. Etherington a left-sided winger, is that not what England are crying out for? Hoddle needs to pull his finger out and play him... the future is very bright with the youngsters like Rooney and Milner playing regularly at their respected clubs!

There's also Wes Brown, Kirkland, Robinson, Bridge, Joe Cole and Jermaine Defoe and not to forget Beattie.... Erickson hurry up and play these kids. They can't do much worse than the team put out against Macedonia.
Moggy, UK

As a Portsmouth season ticket holder I have had the pleasure of seeing Matthew Taylor in action. Great left foot, awesome pace and the tireless enthusiasm of a marathon runner! Destined for greatness and a sure bet to be in the World Cup 2006 squad.
Simon Burchell, England

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned Jermaine Jenas

Graeme, UK

It's true that England have promising youngsters but we can't keep concentrating on forwards like Rooney. The boy McEveley at Blackburn looks very promising as does Lescott at Wolves.

As an Arsenal fan, I urge Mr Wenger to pick Pennant and Steven Sidwell (on loan at Brighton) more and also David Bentley who made a superb cameo in the FA Cup recently. Watch out for these three!
David, England

Nobody has mentioned Jonathan Woodgate or Alan Smith in these lists, they may have been around for a while but they are both still young.

Wes Brown isn't fit to lace Woodgate's boots!
Stuart Bamforth, England

There is one player that all seem to have forgotten about - Wayne Bridge of Southampton.
HP, UK

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned Jermaine Jenas.

I'm sure that everybody who saw his performance in the San Siro, will agree that the lad is special and will be a lynchpin to future England teams.
Graeme, UK

Having watched England U-19s and 20s play a few times; I've got to say I've been really impressed with Dean Ashton of Crewe.

He's big, strong, and good in the air, has a shot like a mule and takes a good penalty. What's more, he's getting good experience playing in Crewe's first team and if he keeps on developing will become the natural successor to Alan Shearer.
Kristian Dixon, United Kingdom

Wayne Rooney has been a star at Everton this year but Tony Hibbert also deserves a mention

Rob, England

Everyone seems to be getting rather carried away with the claimed emergence of these new young stars. They are all clearly talented, but at least some semblance of consistent achievement at Premiership level is needed before we can start talking about international recognition. Let's face it, 24 hours ago virtually no-one outside Sheffield had heard of Michael Tonge, and now some of your correspondents have him playing for England in Germany 2006.

Also, not everyone is as level-headed as Michael Owen, or as good at protecting young players from the media as Sir Alex Ferguson. After less than 20 matches in the premiership, Wayne Rooney is already starting to believe in his own publicity - arrogant on the field, sent off once already, and a disgrace on the Sports Personality of the Year awards.
Nimrod, UK

West Ham defender Glen Johnson has captained England at all the youth levels and went on loan to Millwall for a couple of months where he coped admirably with Division One football.

Glenn Roeder should get him in the West Ham side ASAP- the kid's got the potential to be a better defender than Rio Ferdinand.
Dom Bowers, England

Wayne Rooney has been a star at Everton this year but Tony Hibbert also deserves a mention, he made himself first choice right back at Goodison and was in fine form until he picked up an injury over Christmas.

Other Everton kids to watch out for in the next few years are Paul Hopkins, Scott Brown, Stephen Schumacher and Anthony Gerrard - Steven's cousin.
Rob, England

Robert Green will be the eventual long-term replacement for David Seaman. His form for Norwich since the beginning of last year has been consistently outstanding.
Paul Gregory, UK

If England wishes to win big trophies then they will need to start selecting young guns like Rooney

Anand, Surrey, UK

Aston Villa have a whole host of bright young stars, Luke and Stefan Moore are just a couple to name, so watch this space and watch the Villa players of young become world class England internationals!
Paul Charity, England

As a season ticket holder at Blackburn Rovers, I have seen the emergence of a bright young talent in defender Jay McEvely. At just 17 he gave David Beckham one of the hardest tests he will get all season on Tuesday night.

If he keeps his feet on the ground he could go very far. Berti Vogts has already tried to tie him down to Scotland, but much to England's benefit he has turned him down saying he wishes to play for England.
Damo, Blackburn

Daniel Porter who plays for Papworth Everad XI in goal and is a talent! And he's only 15-years-old!
Matt, Bangladesh

If England wishes to win big trophies then they will need to start selecting young guns like Rooney, Jeffers, Kirkland, Defoe, Beatie, etc.

At present England are lacking players who can break through defences and score more goals. Their football is becoming very defensive. England also have the habit of sticking on to players who have big past reputations and do not blood in youngsters based on current form.
Anand, Surrey, UK

Shaun Wright-Phillips of Man City is a superb prospect

Darren, Manchester, England
How about this for a sure England XI (in five years time):

Kirkland, Brown, Ferdinand, Dawson, King, Carrick, Gerrard, Dyer, Tonge, Rooney, and Owen.
RB, UK

Michael Tonge is a great player. He has two excellent feet and has plenty of energy. His movement is superb. Sheffield United fans must be pleased to have such talent. Credit must go to Neil Warnock. Not forgetting, they have Brown and Phil Jagielka. Good luck to the Blades in keeping hold of precious talent.
Zaid, UK

I think Shaun Wright-Phillips of Man City is a superb prospect we always seem to hear about Joe Cole and now Milner - the kid has scored a couple of goals for God's sake, it's this kind of pressure that causes them to crack.

Look at Danny Cadamarteri former Everton striker, he was put under pressure at a young age and could not handle it. There is no rush for Rooney & co to play for England, we should nurture them and make them even better players before throwing them into the England squad.
Darren, Manchester, England

England have masses of promising players, like:

Goalkeepers - Paul Robinson, Chris Kirkland, Robert Green, Richard Wright.

Defenders - Michael Dawson, Rio Ferdinand, Wes Brown, Martin Taylor, Tony Hibbert, James McEvely, Matthew Taylor, Darren Kenton.

Midfielders - Michael Tonge, James Milner, Gareth Barry, David Dunn, Jermaine Pennant, Joe Cole, Matthew Etherington.

Strikers - Neil Mellor, Carlton Cole, Wayne Rooney, Jermaine Defoe, Francis Jeffers.

A squad of these players at 2006 would be in with a chance.
William, England


Talent of tomorrow

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