Meet the next generation of England wonderkids

Meet the next generation of England wonderkids! The future is looking bright after Euro 2020 final heartbreak with a host of starlets hoping to carry the Three Lions to future tournament glory… but who are they and just how good will they be?

  • There are a large number of budding players hoping to impress with England 
  • Despite the Euro 2020 final defeat, the future looks bright for the Three Lions 
  • Gareth Southgate will be handed another selection dilemma for tournaments 
  • The likes of Noni Madueke and Emile Smith-Rowe are highly-rated prospects 
  • Here, Sportsmail takes a look at the group that could win that elusive trophy 
  • Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here

The future is undoubtedly bright for England despite their Euro 2020 final heartbreak at the hands of Italy, with a bright group of young talents desperate to break through the system and work their way into the senior team.

It will be a tough ask for them because the Three Lions have entered an exciting new cycle with a fresh-faced squad, but Gareth Southgate looks as though he will eventually be blessed with a difficult selection dilemma.

With the World Cup in Qatar to come, followed by the next round of the European Championship in 2024, there is plenty of time for these starlets to make their cases for inclusion and continue to shine at club level.

Gareth Southgate looks set to be handed a selection dilemma due to a host of England starlets

Noni Madueke has dazzled for PSV and the Three Lions and will be hopeful of a senior chance

England boasted the second-youngest team of the tournament this summer, but the inexperience at the highest level on behalf of some of the players just didn’t show. 

Instead, they were bold and a class act, on and off the field.

With the same attitude, the next generation simply can’t go wrong – and here, Sportsmail tells you everything you need to know about who to look out for…


Former Tottenham wonderkid Noni Madueke was rated as one of the finest players of his age when he came through at Spurs. 

He has since continued to show off his potential to the world after moving to PSV aged just 16, and he was later handed his first-team debut there at 17. 

Last season, Madueke was one of the most effective attacking players from England, with his goal tally reaching nine in 32 appearances. He also recorded eight assists.

To little surprise Madueke has attracted interest from the likes of Leicester and AC Milan, and he was handed his first cap for the England U21s in March.

Madueke has also featured at U16, U17 and U18s level for the Three Lions, and looks a safe bet to eventually break into Southgate’s senior set-up.  

Madueke has played at a variety of levels for England and is a safe bet to reach the senior team


It has been quite some season for Emile Smith-Rowe at Arsenal. He can perhaps consider himself unfortunate to have missed out on England’s latest squad.

That is also the view of Martin Keown and other experts, and they have a case. Smith-Rowe is laser sharp and exactly the kind of creative spark the Three Lions thrive on. 

Instead, the supremely-gifted 20-year-old appeared content with his U21s call-up, although his sights will surely be aimed even higher in the near future.     

‘I got a message from one of the coaches,’ Smith-Rowe told BT Sport. ‘It’s a really happy moment for me and my family, I can’t wait to get over there and get started.’ 

Handily, that could also be the perfect description of his career. He really is just beginning to make his mark on the Premier League, and time is on his side.

Emile Smith-Rowe can perhaps count himself unfortunate to have not been given his big break


Liverpool have a real gem on their hands in the form of all-action midfielder Curtis Jones, that’s for certain.

Handed the No 17 jersey, which was previously sported by Steven Gerrard and Steve McManaman at Anfield, Jones set about injecting life into the club’s season.

He played 34 games in total last year across all competitions, and stepped up brilliantly when Jurgen Klopp was dealt a hefty injury crisis.

England’s U21s came calling for him for the first time in October 2020, but questions were regularly asked of Aidy Boothroyd over his failure to select Jones often enough.

His fiery nature spilled over with his red card against Croatia in the Euro 2021 quarter-finals, but his stellar credentials will surely see him handed senior caps soon.

All-action midfielder Curtis Jones (left) is another U21 star who will eventually take the step up


Brighton missed the brilliance of Tariq Lamptey down their right-hand side during his lengthy injury lay-off last season. 

His dynamism offered the club so many options, and he holds the potential to go on and become an England regular in the future.

Of course, his route to the senior team will be tough, with the Three Lions enjoying an embarrassment of riches in the position, but Lamptey is highly-rated and capable.

He has been handed caps from U18 to U21 levels, and the former Chelsea man will want to hit the ground running when he returns to impress Southgate.

For now, his next steps will be with the Young Lions, but Lamptey is another burgeoning wonderkid destined to eventually step out at Wembley.

Tariq Lamptey (L) saw his England hopes derailed by injury, but he will look for a breakthrough


Golden Boy nominee Folarin Balogun penned a new long-term deal at Arsenal and has even been compared to club legend Ian Wright.

The US-born England youth international initially looked set to leave the Emirates, but he opted to commit his future there and will look to continue to catch the eye.

Balogun is very highly rated, having scored in two first-team substitute appearances against Molde and Dundalk in the Europa League last season.

He was targeted by clubs overseas including RB Leipzig, AC Milan and Monaco, but will now stay with Arsenal and continue to work his way through England’s ranks. 

So far, he has been capped at U17, U18 and U20 level for the Three Lions, and is another who will have dreamed of making the senior team.  

Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun has been capped at U20 level and will now dream of the senior side


Liverpool prodigy Harvey Elliott penned a new five-year deal at Anfield recently and will be hoping to make a first-team impact next season. 

Elliott, 18, has spent two years at the club so far after joining from Fulham, and is certainly one player Klopp will be monitoring during pre-season.

He impressed during his loan spell at Blackburn in the Championship over the last campaign, having scored seven goals and picked up 11 assists.

His meteoric rise saw him receive his first England U17s call-up in October 2018, and he netted his maiden goal at that level the next month.

With experience at U15 and U16 levels, Elliott is steadily making his way up the ladder – and the pinnacle of the Three Lions’ system beckons. 

Liverpool starlet Harvey Elliott is steadily making his way through the Three Lions’ youth ranks


The route to his first senior England cap and regular Premier League football is clear for young Tottenham sensation Oliver Skipp. 

He spent last season on loan at Norwich and excelled for the Premier League new boys, with his 47 appearances and one goal helping the club flourish.

Skipp has been tipped to become a future England captain, and he is a wise head on a young pair of shoulders. He can play the pivot role to absolute perfection.

However, it remains to be seen what role he will hold under Nuno Espirito Santo next term, although he does have the ability to step up for Spurs.

Provided his upward momentum continues, Skipp will be battling away for Southgate’s Three Lions soon enough. 

The ever-impressive Oliver Skipp has been tipped to become an England captain in the future


Pep Guardiola has already confirmed that Manchester City starlet Liam Delap will be promoted to his first-team squad next season. 

The 18-year-old’s progress was described as ‘incredible’, and Delap has gone from strength to strength after making his senior City debut last year.

He was even linked to Real Madrid, capping off a rise sparked by him netting against Bournemouth and making his Premier League bow against Leicester. 

For England, Delap finished as the top scorer at the 2019 Mercedes-Benz Aegean Tournament for U16 teams in Turkey, and he has gone on to play for the U17s.

Last March, the ace was also handed his U18s debut, and he will hope to keep scoring goals to break into the Three Lions’ senior side.

Liam Delap will be in Manchester City’s first-team as he bids to continue shining with England

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