Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

A WORLD OF HOPE! ; despite Their Flop in Brazil England Can Build a Successful New Era If They Stick with Their Batch of Talented Youngsters

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

A WORLD OF HOPE! ; despite Their Flop in Brazil England Can Build a Successful New Era If They Stick with Their Batch of Talented Youngsters

Article excerpt

IT feels like England are back to square one, waiting for a new socalled golden generation to mature and deliver on the big stage.

As Glenn Hoddle's 1998 World Cup squad ew home from their base in France 16 years ago after the last-16 defeat against Argentina there was a positive feeling for the future of the English game.

fe free Lions had gone out in the usual excruciating manner of a penalty shoot-out.

Meanwhile, David Beckham took the ak for the KO against the Argentines after his red card in St Etienne.

Generally though there wasn't too much damage to the feelgood factor surrounding Hoddle's squad. He had tapped into United's success with kids in the mid-90s to use Sir Alex Ferguson's Class of '92 as the core of his England set-up.

At 23 Beckham - despite the outcry over his part in his dismissal - was a talent you couldn't ignore. Gary Neville (23) was installed as a reliable right back, Paul Scholes (24) was on top of his game.

Away from Old Trasord Liverpool's Michael Owen had had a sensational time at the World Cup with the 18-year-old scoring a memorable solo goal against Argentina. West Ham's Rio Ferdinand was then an up-and-coming 19-year-old in Hoddle's 23-man selection backing up talents such as Sol Campbell who was 24 at the time.

fere was a young heart to Hoddle's squad that had an average age of just short of 22.

fe England coach didn't make it to Euro 2000 after he was given the boot over controversial comments made in a newspaper article and Kevin Keegan took the group on, adding Steven Gerrard (20) and Gareth Barry (19) to his Euro 2000 squad.

By the time the 2002 World Cup in Japan came around Sven Goran Eriksson was in charge, the golden generation were in their prime and youngsters like Ashley Cole, Owen Hargreaves, Wes Brown and Joe Cole had joined them.

Again England failed. But because the seeds of 1998 failed to blossom doesn't mean the current blueprint designed by Roy Hodgson should be ripped up by the FA.

fe group of young players he has refreshingly promoted is slightly younger than the average from '98 by a few months.

fe golden generation Mark II is in its infancy and must be allowed to prosper. …

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