The Spoiler’s England “Mostly Teenagers” XI
Including at least three of these dudes
As reported in today’s Mirror, Bolton boss Owen Coyle said this about Jack Wilshere:
“I am biased because I work with Jack on a daily basis, but I would take him with England.”
“He is such a talented young English player, he has got an unbelievably rosy future. It is up to him how far he goes but he is getting better by the game.”
Which was enough to persuade The Spoiler to compile an England team from days gone by, comprising mostly players who were capped when they were teenagers. You can see who made it after the jump…
Goalkeeper, Peter Shilton, 21 years old (1970)
When Shilts pulled on an England shirt back in 1970, he was just 21 – in goalkeeping terms, that made him a toddler. He then went on to win millions of caps, most of them whilst sporting a hilarious afro wig, and he famously allowed Maradona to humiliate him in 1986. Twice.
Right Back, Micah Richards, 18 years old (2006)
Just a few short years ago Micah Richards was the burly teen sensation charging up and down the right hand side for England, totally blowing people’s minds. Everyone honestly thought he was the new Jesus Christ. Or, at least, they thought that there would no longer be any call for Gary Neville. Now – not so much.
Centre Back, Jonathan Woodgate, 19 years old (1999)
Just before he decided to dip a toe into the murky waters of racial tension, Woodgate looked set to be a shoo-in for England for years to come. But it wasn’t to be. After some trouble with the law, he left for Real Madrid to concentrate on growing his hair, and he now spends most of his time ordering beautiful Tottenham nurses to rub Deep Heat/yoghurt into his thighs. Presumably.
Centre Back, Rio Ferdinand, 19 years old (1997)
Time was when Rio Ferdinand was just a strange shaven-headed boy from West Ham attempting to make friends with Sol Campbell – which is a rather tough gig. But the good news is that he’s since gone on to eclipse his former defensive partner, both on the pitch, and when it comes to hilariously merking people. Good for Rio.
Left Back, Gareth Barry, 19 years old (2000)
It’s easy to forget that before he became the sturdy oak in midfield, Gareth Barry was a zippy left back with a decent cross, and a strange Edvard Munch face. It was little Kevin Keegs who gave him his first run out in the year 2000.
Right Midfield, Theo Walcott, 17 years old (2006)
Of course, everyone went bananas when Walcott kept Defoe out of the 2006 World Cup squad – children wept, old women punch one another in the face, cats were seen contemplating suicide. Now shifted out to the right wing for the sake of his football education, he still has the face of a confused 7-year-old French exchange student when he plays for England.
Centre Midfield, Joe Cole, 19 years old (2001)
For much of the late 1990s, little Joe Cole was the hailed as the New Gazza, with his zany box of tricks and flicks, and his cheeky little face. But then, as it happens, becoming the New Gazza got less and less appealing, so he’s now attempting to be the Old Wayne Rooney – Step One of which appears to involve going a bit bald on top.
Centre Midfield, Steven Gerrard, 20 years old (2000)
The wise old owl of the team, Stevie G made his England debut one whole day after his 20th birthday. And so the tale goes that he has since gone on to replace Robbie Fowler as the closest thing Liverpool has to the lord God him/herself, and he will forever be one half of the “Gerrard or Lampsie?” debate that no one has ever quite got to the bottom of.
Left Midfield, Aaron Lennon, 19 years old (2006)
As a 19-year-old, Aaron Lennon could be found zooming down the England wing like a mouse on a motorbike. He was absolutely brilliant. And the good news is that he might yet make the 2010 World Cup. The bad news is that he still seemingly spends an awfully long time applying completely pointless go-faster stripes to his eyebrows. They don’t actually work, Aaron. Seriously.
Centre Forward, Wayne Rooney, 17 years old (2003)
Now a rather eloquent young man, Rooney was once a terrifying teenager, with a furious temper, and a bizarre lust for elderly prostitutes. After a magnificent Euro 2004, he has gone on to become even better than anyone imagined, and is now probably the second best player on the planet. Without him, England would be shoulders deep in metaphorical turds.
Centre Forward, Michael Owen, 18 years old (1998)
How strange that Michael Owen once lit up the entire planet with his electrifying football, and spectacular goals. But he did. He was a breath of fresh air for a time, which now seems odd from a man who speaks like he’s even boring himself.