With England’s Under 21s set to face off against Germany in the European Under-21 Championship Final, English fans could be forgiven for hoping that the future is bright for the national side. After the heartbreak of missing out on Euro 2008, England have bounced back, inspired by Fabio Capello and Stuart Pearce and are in the middle of a far more successful 2009. The question is though, regardless of the result in the final, can England’s talented crop of youngsters fulfill their potential and give England success at senior level?
Their success in this tournament is no one-off either, after they lost at the semi-final stage on penalties to eventual winners and hosts the Netherlands two years ago, and indeed that is their only defeat in seventeen matches since Pearce has been in charge. However, even with such potential evident in England’s younger players, we must acknowledge that success in the youth grades is no guarantee that the senior side will follow suit in the near future, after all the ‘golden generation’ failed to deliver entirely on the big stage.