The England national team has been blessed with some world-class strikers over the years, ranging from their current option of Harry Kane to past legends such as Alan Shearer, Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney. However, this is a look towards the future.
England are facing a new golden generation of young talent all over the pitch, however, their attacking talent, in particular, is frightening.
These are the four young strikers who I believe can make a strong case to be in the England squad in the coming years.
Mason Greenwood – Manchester United
I’m sure it comes as no surprise to see Mason Greenwood’s name on this list. The 18-year-old striker has made the adjustment from the youth academy to senior football look ridiculously easy and has taken the Premier League by storm, becoming arguably the most promising teenager in the league.
Greenwood made the jump from the Manchester United U18s to senior football in just one year last season, making his debut in the Champions League round of 16 tie against PSG.
It takes a very special talent to rise so quickly through the ranks, especially at a club as big as Manchester United, yet the Englishman made it look simple.
Last season, Greenwood scored 15 goals in just 12 games for United’s U18s, scoring a further 3 in 6 matches for the U23s, however, this season is where he truly excelled.
The 18-year-old has scored 10 goals in 30 Premier League matches for United, averaging a goal every 123 minutes, and has scored five goals in just seven Europa League games for the Red Devils.
The progress Greenwood has made in such a short space of time is remarkable, nailing down a starting spot at Manchester United, despite playing U18 football just last season. Given his prolific end to the season, an England call up could certainly be on the horizon.
Eddie Nketiah – Arsenal
Despite a frustrating loan spell with Championship side Leeds United for the first half of the 2019/20 season, Eddie Nketiah has shown his quality since he has been back at Arsenal. The 21-year-old has scored 4 times in nine starts for Arsenal this season and has managed to force his way into a rotational starting role with teammate Alexandre Lacazette.
During Nketiah’s time in Arsenal’s youth ranks, the striker was a goal machine. The forward scored nine goals in 10 games for the U23s last season and scored 12 in 13 the season before. At 17 years of age, the striker scored 6 goals in 13 U23 matches and a further 11 goals in 12 for the U18s.
The forward has also impressed on the international stage, scoring eight times for England’s U21 side in only eight appearances for the Three Lions.
Whilst an England call-up may not come as soon as it might for Greenwood, if Nketiah can reproduce the goalscoring form he was in during his youth days, it would be no surprise to see him in the England squad. Given how he has been developing under Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, the potential to do so is certainly there.
Rhian Brewster – Swansea City, on loan from Liverpool
To describe the youngster’s loan to Swansea as a success would probably be an understatement. Despite having played just three senior games in his career, the Championship side took a chance on him, and the forward helped the Swans to a 6th place finish, scoring an impressive 10 goals in 20 games.
Brewster’s adjustment to senior football has been much harder than other youngsters might have experienced, with the 20-year-old picking up an ankle injury which kept him out for almost a season and a half when he was just 17 years of age. However, before the injury, the striker had proven at youth level how talented he was.
Liverpool’s young forward made his U23 debut when he was only 16 years of age, scoring three goals and getting one assist in eight games. The following season, the teenager was crucial to the side before his injury, scoring five and assisting seven in 11 games.
Brewster’s talents stretched to the international stage too, with the forward earning an accolade that very few strikers could, claiming the golden boot at the 2017 U17 World Cup in India, scoring eight times, joining an illustrious list of winners such as Lille striker Victor Osimhen and former World Cup winner Cesc Fabregas.
Similar to Nketiah, an England call-up probably won’t be coming too soon for Brewster. However, with a very good Liverpool system around him and a world-class manager in Jurgen Klopp to develop his talent, the forward could certainly see himself in contention in a few years if he develops as he first promised.
Folarin Balogun – Arsenal
Whilst Balogun is a name that only a few would have heard of, given he hasn’t played a minute of senior football yet, his goal scoring record at youth level for Arsenal means I almost feel obliged to include him in this list, especially as it is about what players will be like in the future.
The 19-year-old has outscored every striker in this list at youth level, even Greenwood, scoring 25 goals in only 19 games for Arsenal’s U18s last season. This season, Balogun was officially promoted to Arsenal’s U23s where his goal-scoring form continued, scoring 10 and assisting four in 15 games, meaning he is the joint-top goalscorer in the league.
Even though these stats are very exciting for Arsenal fans, a report by the Athletic has said that Arsenal have failed to agree a new contract with Balogun and he is set to leave this summer. If proven true, this would be a hard blow to take for the Gunners fans.
An England call-up for Balogun is much more unpredictable than the previous three, mainly because he hasn’t played a minute of first team football and is on this list purely for outperforming the others at youth level. Some players can adjust to playing senior football with ease, such as Greenwood, however, some can take much longer and not even make it at all, despite being amazing at youth level. If Balogun can carry on his form into senior football, then I think he could become an England international at some point in his career.
Whilst the competition will be fierce between these four to eventually replace Harry Kane in the England team, along with any other promising strikers hidden away in England’s youth academies, these are the four that, in my opinion, can breakthrough into the senior England squad in the years to come.