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Stowe’s Football E-magazine

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For anyone who has paid the slightest bit of attention to our national sides performances and tournament results in recent times it is as clear as Frank Lampard’s ‘goal’ vs. Germany that the old guard of the ‘golden generation’ has finally past it’s sell by date and that Roy Hodgson must now look for a new breed of Three Lions if he wishes to compete in Brazil 2014. We don’t quite have that so called production line of youngster like the Spanish possess, but there is a chance, a glimmer that we and Hodgson have an upgraded, exciting and talented bunch of youngsters. I take a look at a couple of future fruits of English football.


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Known by many as a now Manchester United regular, who after working hard during the Olympics is now part of a more dynamic looking England. But it hasn’t always been smooth riding for Thomas Cleverley, who has had to work hard to reach the next steps in his quest to achieve his dreams.

Born in Basingstoke, he is a real gem of the Manchester United youth academy after being spotted at a young age whilst at Bradford. As Cleverley, a lifelong United fan progressed the ranks and age groups at Old Trafford before making his uncompetitive debut in a pre-season tour as part of the senior squad in South Africa 2007, scoring his first goal vs. Kaiser Chiefs. Cleverley was forced eventually though to move away from the straight road at United and to gather game time he was sent on loan. After spells at Leicester, Watford and most notably Wigan he matured into a player that Sir Alex Ferguson could finally put into his first team plans at United. Cleverley couldn’t have a made a stronger impact on his debut. He showcased his talents at full throttle – half time at Wembley in the 2011 Community Shield, and United were 2-0 down to rivals City. But in typical United fashion Sir Alex brought on two youngster to help turn around the Manchester derby in terrific style. Cleverley and one of his best friends, Danny Welbeck who have really grown together in the United family made their mark and intentions in their team clear that day, with Cleverley linking up in a display of his pure talent with the ball, positive playmaking is his way and his ability that afternoon at Wembley was flawless. Cleverley was seen as a replacement for Scholes early last season but was hit by a string of injuries that led to long setbacks. Fortunately, they were impact injuries from reckless tackles which otherwise would be a worry about his long term fitness. His bad luck continued with the London riots denying him a debut for England vs. Holland. His season was stunted and there is little doubt that had his season continued with the form he started with he’d have been in Hodgson England squad come May 2012. Instead Cleverley has had to take a deep breath and re-build his reputation and form.

England’s New Hope / 2


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The Olympics came as a massive help in doing so; “The whole experience was just incredible and there was great atmosphere throughout the two weeks. To have been a part of the home Olympics that was so memorable for so many people made it extra special and it’s something that will stay with me forever”. London 2012 helped give Cleverley a head start in terms of fitness for the new season and allowed Roy Hodgson to call upon him for his debut in an August friendly vs. Italy. But, the most vital impact from the games for Cleverley was that his club boss, Sir Alex, took note of his form on the world stage and saw his maturity meant he could be placed in the heart of a United side from day one.

Cleverley has gone on to score his first competitive United goal vs. Newcastle in The Capital One Cup, another wonder strike from range vs Newcastle in the League and in a season which is quite simply make or break is beginning to show he has what it takes to be a real star for club and country. Hodgson has picked Cleverley for all the World Cup qualifiers and it’s the match winning ability that is starting to set the 23 year old apart from others; with assists for England and a superb cross for Manchester United in the Champions League which Hernandez converted, giving United a vital 3-2 over Braga. It was a cross similar to those from his hero David Beckham. Cleverley is another upcoming England star who appears to have a positive sense of maturity and professionalism about him. He uses Twitter and his own site that he created during his time off with injury, in a sensible way to simply interact with fans, rather than prove points or cause trouble. He has a respect for his fans that is admirable, running competitions and giving away merchandise. Go into Cleverley’s house though and it won’t take you long before you see his own collection of shirts and boots he has kept through his young career; from Beckham’s LA Galaxy shirt, to a Giggs’ Team GB shirt, he’s a lover of football. He has the ability to truly become something special, and Hodgson clearly has him in his Three Lions plans. Manchester United’s array and depth in their squad provides Cleverley with strong competition to push him to greatness. Stay clear of injury, keep on the right side of Sir Alex and Cleverley could be on course for a fine season that will be vital in his development. Club

Appearances & (Goals)

Leicester City

15 (2)

Watford

35 (11)

Wigan

25 (4) England’s New Hope / 3


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Sterling, already a father of three, has said though that the big names and faces around both club and national squads haven’t ever put him off. “You soon realise they are just like you – top players yes, but guys who want to help the younger lads... That’s inspiring, not intimidating.” Reds fans are hopeful and impressed. Much like the England squad, who were impressed by his calmness whilst spending time in the England camp.

Possibly one of the key events to happen in his career could be the move of Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool. His new club boss has ignited a fuse earlier than those away from Anfield could have ever of expected, giving the 17 year old, Jamaicanborn winger a start to his professional career almost as rapid as his pace. Having impressed early on in the Europa League vs. Hearts, Sterling has shown he can mix it with the big boys putting in promising displays vs. Arsenal, Man City and now becoming a regular face in the Liverpool line-up. The latest star from the newly invested Liverpool academy caught the eye of England boss Hodgson and earned himself a place in the senior squad in the 2-2 draw with Ukraine at Wembley. In a selection that may have surprised a few, those who have followed Sterling before his debut under Dalglish know the potential he possesses – likening him to Liverpool legend, John Barnes.

Sterling, who can play on either flank recently showed his fighting spirit in the 2-2 Merseyside derby away at Goodison Park and manager Rodgers has said “that’s good, he’s a fighter”. But it’s no secret that Rodgers wanted Sterling to buck his ideas up during the summer, and evidence suggest he has done just that. With youth comes naivety and inexperience though; which was shown through his poor decision making whilst 2 on 1 with team mate Suarez vs. Everton – Sterling had the chance to play Suarez in but instead wasted a great opportunity. However, that will iron out and Sterling seems to have a technical ability and attitude that will hopefully only flourish. A pacey, determined, tricky winger could be a vital piece in Hodgson future puzzle. The race is on though, his birth country, Jamaica are after him. England give him a debut and he’s keeps though. All signs seems to say that won’t change.

England’s New Hope / 4


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In September this year, Everton decided to give Barkley an opportunity of frequent first team football with Championship side, Sheffield Wednesday, on a one month deal. But after scoring 4 goals in just 10 games, an impressive ratio for a midfielder, the loan has been extended. Barkley is beginning to shine at a competitive level. It is easy to think that because he is playing at a championship level he can’t be that great. But it’s rare to see the burst of youth that we have seen in the likes of Wayne Rooney, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott. A scouser who could finally live up to the excitement that was lost when Wayne Rooney left the blue side of Liverpool in 2004. Currently on loan at Sheffield Wednesday, the attacking midfield is being tipped by many in the game as possibly one of the greatest England players of the next generation. Having represented England at all levels since U16 the next step for David Moyes’ bright new prospect is to break into a solid and impressive Everton side. Barkley had made a great impression during his early days as a professional but suffered a leg break a few days before his expected Everton debut - in an England U19 ‘friendly’. But, Moyes didn’t forget the talent the 6ft 2in Ev ertonian possess and on the opening day of 2011-12 gave Barkley his debut vs QPR, he went on to win the sponsor Man of the Match award. He has a blend of technical flare that we’re all hoping for in future English stars with the passion and strength that the competitive nature of British football expects. Martin Keown has described him as “one of the best players this country will ever see”. High praise at such a young age, but with the experience and wise headed David Moyes keeping his feet on the floor it’d be no surprise if such a prediction did happen to be true.

At an England level he may be a season or two off a senior squad place, but evidence from Hodgson’s early days that he isn’t afraid to call up the young and exciting prospects, having already given places in his squads to Jack Butland, Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Barkley already had some international success under his belt. Being part of the team that won the U17 UEFA European Championships in 2010 with two goals in earlier rounds before beating the elusive Spanish side in August 2011. He’s made 4 U21 appearances, showing that with some Premier League games under his belt a senior call up could be closer than expected. Also eligible for Nigeria, The FA may have to expect some competition, but all suggestions are that Barkley is England through and through. England’s New Hope / 5


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At Old Trafford during the early part of the summer, two new signings came in. At long last Manchester United fans heard the news that they had a new attacking midfielder among their ranks. But Sir Alex was not for a minute going to make it easy to see at first glance which of those signings was on paper the bigger. As Bundesliga’s player of the season Shinji Kagawa sat in a press conference at Carrington with new boss Sir Alex, a young possible England prodigy sat looking slightly overwhelmed but excited by what was in front of him. For with Manchester United Nick Powell has the world at his feet.

Moving for £6million from Crewe Alexandre he helped the side who had nurtured him through their academy to get promoted to League 1. With stunning strikes versus Gillingham, a dazzling run vs. Macclesfield, lightening headers and cheeky chips throughout the campaign the Premier League big sides took note as Powell lit up League 2. But Manchester United made a clever move and decided to begin talks before the playoff final at Wembley. There were hints flying about, but no one knew for sure and later that week Powell ended the season and Cheltenham Town’s promotion hopes with a quite simply sublime effort from outside the box. On the turn and out of the blue, Powell sent a bullet volley with his left boot straight into the top corner past one of League 2’s best keepers, Scott Brown. That’s when the likes of Everton and Arsenal took a real interest but it was too late. Sir Alex and his famous scouting team had kept close watch, and knew they had their hands on a real talent. England’s New Hope / 6


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The League 2 apprentice of the year has as expected had limited first team opportunities in his early days in Manchester but when he has, he has taken them. In his competitive debut for the club at home to Wigan Powell gave Old Trafford a glimpse of what’s to come – firing a rocket shot past Ali Al Habsi from outside the box after a neat drop of the shoulder to fool his marker. Since then Powell has scored and shone in U21 games for United and after coming on at Stamford Bridge in the Capital One Cup gave Petr Cech plenty to think about from range; proving he has what it takes to mix it with the very best.

Powell who has it all in terms of ability can play in midfield or as a forward; although Sir Alex stated early on that he will play as a central midfielder – replacement for Scholes, is becoming more than a maybe. But one talking point is Powell’s temperament. Having been sent off for a lunge in League 2 and struggling to control himself when things had gone wrong it led to Crewe manager Steve Davis replying “He can go right to the top, if he keeps his feet on the ground”. However, Powell takes his football seriously. He put time to thinking through his move to the 19 times league champions, not wanting to damage his talent. But for England fans and critics, those who have watched Powell can only suggest you do the same. Having played for his country at U16, U17, U18 and U19 he could really become a world star, if he can keep his feet on the ground. But what manager is better to help him do so, than Sir Alex Ferguson? It may be a season or so before we see Powell become a United regular but he’s certainly one for Hodgson to keep an eye on.

England’s New Hope / 7


Stowe’s Football E-magazine

It’s not unfair to say that the majority of the country raised a few eyebrows and questioned Roy Hodgson when young Jack Butland was included in the England squad for the Euros during the summer. Having spent the majority of his first season in Professional football on loan, in two spells, at League 2 side Cheltenham Town,

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it’s easy to understand why those questions were raised. But for those had the ability to see him every week at Whaddon Road, they knew he was a star in the making. Oozing with confidence and a sense of professionalism that some footballers closer to 30 lack, Butland set the tone that he didn’t want to be messing about with his career.

After becoming a loved man in Gloucestershire, Butland’s call up to England gave the rest of the nation a chance to see what he was made of. With Birmingham’s goalkeeping coach also part of the England set up, Butland settled in quickly, working with Joe Hart; and even threatening his future as England No.1 – Butland stated during the Euros he wished to compete with the City keeper for the place in the England side in the near future, and come late August Butland had taken a big step in his career, making his England debut in a friendly against Italy. But there is no doubt for the bulky Bristol born keeper that the Olympics may have really fuelled the early parts of his footballing journey. When Stuart Pearce gave Butland the Team GB No. 1 spot for London 2012 he seriously turned some heads. With brilliant performances throughout, notably against silver medallists Brazil in a warm-up game he had shown the nation and football fans what he is all about. Clubs from Arsenal to Southampton began taking interest but as the transfer window closed no fee was agreed, and instead Butland remains with championship side Birmingham. New manager Lee Clarke has given Butland his first team goalkeeping duties for the minute though, which will only develop his talents. England’s New Hope / 8


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However, Butland’s inexperience (albeit he has gathered quite a bit during his first two seasons!) was shown when he dropped a cross and inevitably conceded whilst on guard for the blues. It reminded some of his few mistakes whilst in League 2, failing to keep his hands on a low cross away at Shrewsbury, though it’s well known that he has a strong ability to use his confidence to bounce back. Hodgson, who has praised Butland throughout his short career didn’t call on him following the Birmingham mistake for England’s more recent fixtures, which will only push the 18 year old further. For that is one of the strongest things about Jack Butland, he clearly wants to take his career very seriously. Early in 2012, he declared his Twitter account inactive tweeting, “time to do the talking on the pitch”.

Club

Appearances

Cheltenham

24

Birmingham

0

Team GB

5

England

1

Wherever Butland goes in his career he is likely to look back on 2011-12 and describe how important it was. He has praised the chance he was given under Mark Yates at Cheltenham, and thanked him with tickets to an England game during the Euros and is likely to also pay respect to the Olympics in the future. Much like Tom Cleverley, it has really built a foundation for the following seasons, giving both a key role in their respective clubs. Butland clearly has a lot of development to go, and will need to make a move to the Premier League if Birmingham fail to do so. But, remember that goalkeepers can develop long into their 30s. The 18 year old seems to have hype and mentality about him that could help him become an England great, rather than a ‘could have been’, such as Carson, Foster, Fielding, Kirkland (sorry lads.)

England’s New Hope / 9


Stowe’s Football E-magazine

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St George’s Park is no

It’s not only Hodgson’s England base but also the new home of the League Managers Association (LMA) and the Professional Footballs Association (PFA).

ordinary collection of Sports hall and football pitches. At last England has a state of the art centre to develop football excellence. Originally thought up in 2001, costing £100m The FA have after 11 years finally set up a base for training, coaching, fitness and everything England football on one location in Burton. The 330 acre site should really have been been priority over Wembley, but it’s here at last and quietly, but effectively could change the English game as we know it by as soon as 2020.

The complex includes 12 full-size pitches including a replica Wembley surface for the first team, as well as an indoor version. Five pitches have floodlights and undersoil heating. Suites and rooms have been dedicated to England legends from Gazza to Moore.

Every single England squad from the kids to the seniors will train here and benefit from the facilities. The players and staff will see frequent messages of inspiration from past heroes, “Practice makes Permanent” – Bobby Robson. “A lifetime of training for just 10 seconds” – Jesse Owens. England’s New Hope /10


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Opened in October, 4 years after the planning begun we’ve been told – “A long term view for the development of coaches to bring national team success onwards from 2020.” The site includes indoor pools and facilities that will help players recover from injury whilst still training.. And keep the future Ashley Cole types happy. There is labs, multiple gyms and even an altitude chamber.

“We have to focus on the 1st two age groups & produce quality English players who can break into a 1st team at 18 or 19.” - Sir Trevor Brooking

It’s been designed however with the idea of world class coaches in mind. In previous years The FA has been forced to send upcoming coaches to training courses at a hotel in Reading. But now they’ll get taught in a tailored environment.

A Hilton hotel is on site, specially built for all Men’s and Women’s teams – and to keep them entertained, games rooms etc are fitted; no more Capello boredom.

England’s New Hope /11


Stowe’s Football E-magazine

Similarities to David Beckham were noted early on, but from being once described as one of Arsenal’s best youth pulls, Bentley ended up joining Spurs after a period Blackburn, and after refusing to play for England U21s his big ego resulted in his England chances being nout. Now playing in Russia with FC Rostov

After a dramatic entrance for Liverpool vs. Juventus in 2005, Carson’s career was promising – that was until Steve McLaren decided his England debut should be in the must win Euro 2008 qualifier at home to Croatia. With the high pressure, soaked Wembley pitch and some fine Croatian shooting he spilled one shot into his own net and that is as far as Carson’s England career really got.. Now rebuilding his career with Turkish side, Bursaspor.

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After Sir Alex believed he wasn’t quite good enough for Man United, Foster has done better than well with West Brom, but said he’d “stop playing for England”... for a bit. Good luck on getting back in Ben.

So what happened to some of those previous new hopes that never quite made it in an England shirt?

A youngster at the 2004 Euros, Sven has loved him. The once very quick and exciting Vassell missed in the 2004 penalty shootout to Portugal and we didn’t really hear about him again. That until Sven started picking him during his reign at Man City; he had gained a few pounds..

Included in many squads down the years but injuries meant he never really got anyone in an England shirt. Debut vs. Australia in 2003, now playing in the Championship with his 1st club Notts Forrest after an injury hit time at Spurs and Aston Villa in recent years. Unfortunate.

Was on fire with Championship side Preston North End during Steve McLaren’s England reign and was rewarded with an England call up. Ended up scrambling a vital goal in a dismal game away vs. Andorra on his debut. Joined Pompey under Redknapp in 2007, never found his form again. Now playing in the Championship for Lecesister.

Maybe you thought Theo. If you did, well in true Ian Holloway style I must tell you that “you’re wrong!”. Although it seems he’s been around for ages, he’s still only 23. This for some is the age that most begin to take the stage. Still got a lot to prove and develop but don’t rule off Walcott’s England career just yet. 6 years since Sven’s wasteful call up for him to the 2006 World Cup squad!

England’s New Hope / 12


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England's New Hope  

@stowegregory 's 1st issue of a short Football E-Magazine. I take a look at the future of English football as well as some of the dissapoint...

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