The next big things and the players to look for
The debate around the development of English midfielders attracts a whole host of varying opinions, but while many question what needs to be done to develop a generation of highly-skilled, attack-minded flair players, the production line of defensive midfielders appears to be running smoothly.
The likes of Jack Rodwell, Fabrice Muamba and Jay Spearing are all hoping to graduate from the Under 21's to challenge Gareth Barry and Scott Parker for places in the senior England setup. That core of solid players continues further down the chain, with Everton's John Lundstram the latest to show huge promise.
Lundstram is a powerful, aggressive and all-action box-to-box midfielder, who also boasts an impressive range of passing. His combative displays have earned many plaudits, despite playing in what some consider an 'unfashionable' position.
Lundstram is honing his skills at Everton's famous Finch Farm academy, where youngsters are taught the importance of basic qualities such as hard work and determination, as well as developing on a technical level. Already, John's excellent ability on the ball and elegant left-footed style adds a real balance in the middle of the park.
It was this diverse range of strengths which earned him a place in UEFA's 'top talents' list for this month's Under 17 European Championships in Serbia (although they also describe the youngster as having a 'whiff' of Steven Gerrard about him...). He was picked for every one of England's four matches, showing a cool head and good leadership in what proved to be a rocky road to qualification for the knock-out phases.
England were ultimately eliminated at the semi-final stage, losing 1-0 to eventual winners Holland. It was a big disappointment, but John Peacock's side will get another chance to show their quality at next months Under 17 World Cup. Lundstram will certainly be one to watch.
Everton have historically promoted a steady of flow of youngsters into their first-team, and with a little refinery, John Lundstram has a good chance of joining that growing list in the future.
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