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England U19's avoiding senior trend

Friday 15th July 2016
It was another disastrous campaign for England at a major tournament. Euro 2016 saw one of the most embarrassing defeats the nation has seen as Roy Hodgson and his men fell to unlikely Iceland. However, in Germany, as you read this the Under-19s championships are under way and England are showing how it's done.
On Friday lunchtime Aidy Boothroyd's young lions snatched a late win over the Netherlands to secure a second group stage win and leave themselves with one foot in the semi-finals. Isaiah Brown scored in stoppage time in a 2-1 win as England came from behind in brilliant fashion, something England fans will be very unfamiliar with when it comes to the senior team.

The team have shown a mental toughness we rarely associate with England and has even been a strong criticism of English players in recent seasons. It really is a breath of fresh air to see a team bearing the three lions crest winning big matches at a major tournament.

If we put this into perspective, the U19s group consists of France, the Netherlands and Croatia. Now picture that group for the senior team. Your instant thought process is that England will struggle to qualify at all, all three nations are of a high prestige with lots of talented players. The youth teams of each side are exactly that, strong nations with strong players and so, in turn, its merit worthy that the u19's have maximum points so far and sit three clear at the top of the group.

Yes, it's a slightly hollow plus point in the grand scheme of things, the U19's success means very little for the senior team right now, none the less what they're achieving cannot be ignored. If anything it should be looked upon and developed further.

There are some talented players within the squad who ply their trade for some top teams, Reece Oxford, Dominic Solanke and the aforementioned Isaiah Brown to name a few. In line with this, even some players at lesser clubs have shown their talents despite not being in the public eye each week, their efforts haven't gone unnoticed. These are high-potential players who will more than likely benefit from international successes in their early development.

After all, winning isn't exactly a habit that England possess, the mentality just isn't there for multiple reasons. If the younger upcoming players have tasted that success early on at both international and even club level then it can only be good for the senior side in the long term.

While we're on the subject of England youth outshining the senior team, the U21's did, of course, win the Toulon tournament recently, all be it not the most prestigious of trophies but England were entered into it and won none the less.

If they were to crash out such as the senior team do it's no doubt the media would wax lyrical on how English football is trapped in a dark era. The team had no different a structure than the U19's who are succeeding now, notable talents playing for top teams with a blend of players who may not be at the biggest club but perform well and have the required ability.

The U19's play their next game on Monday 18th against Croatia and will be fully focused on securing a maximum 9 points to finish off the group stage, and in turn make themselves strong contenders to lift the trophy. Once again this is something we never seem to be able to relate to the senior team, a sad but condemning truth.
Ryan Stewart

23 years old, Sport Journalism graduate living in Salford. Work in web content in Media city and always looking to break in to sports writing. Manchester United season ticket holder.

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