The future of the England national team could be in the hands of Arsene Wenger. The manager has always been criticised for nurturing foreign talent rather than focusing on homegrown players with a preference to French players. That has changed immensely in recent years with only six players from France and one of them destined to leave in the summer in Sebastian Squillaci. Newcastle United currently have 10 French players in their squad, a higher total than the Gunners while Arsenal have a few English players at the core of their team.
Arsenal top scorer last season Theo Walcott is the most experienced England international in the squad with 32 caps and remains a regular with the set-up. The attacker was picked in England’s 2006 World Cup squad but didn’t’ play and was omitted from the team four years later for the 2010 World Cup. He became the youngster player to score for England U-21s and then in May 2006, became the youngest player to represent England at 17 years and 75 days. Later that year he also became the youngest player to score an England hat trick when he netted thrice against Croatia. His only other goal came in a 3-2 win over Sweden at EURO 2012. His improvement for Arsenal should lead in to the national team and may see Walcott become on of the most important player for England for the next five years.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was the shock inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s EURO 2012 squad and started in the opening game against France. His dynamic displays have kept him in the squad and he has been a regular during the 2014 World Cup qualification scoring goals in each of England’s victories over San Marino. His 11 caps at only 19 show his talent and his pace is sometimes too hot to handle. His partnership with Walcott is incredible down the duo’s pace.
Jack Wilshere is arguably England’s best midfielder. His ‘non-English’ approach makes him such a key figure in the set-up, as his flair and technique are so unique compared to other English players. He made his debut in 2011 but has only made seven appearances since then due to injury. He was kept out of the entire 2011/12 season and therefore ruled out of EURO 2012. He made his return in October 2013 and has been in and out of the team since then. When fully fit, he is a certain starter for the national side and at only 21, is sure to improve in the coming years. He has already been earmarked as a future Arsenal and England captain and will be involved in the team for the next decade.
Despite the trio being picked regularly, Arsenal still have two either highly talented players that continue to get overlooked.
Kieran Gibbs can think himself unfortunate to be playing in the same era as Ashley Cole, England’s best ever full-back, and Leighton Baines, left-back of the 2012/13 season. Gibbs has represented England on two occasions, making his debut on the same night as Jack Wilshere and was recently picked by new England manager Hodgson but after a highly encouraging season for the left-back continues to be down in the pecking order.
Jenkinson’s transfer from Charlton was expected to be “one for the future” but his inclusion in the first team was made quickly due to injury to Bacary Sagna. His extremely impressive performances early in the season caught the eye of the England management and after representing both Finland and England at youth level, the full-back opted for an England career. He made his first and only appearance against Sweden in 2012 but can still change nationalities until he represents a nation competitively. Although options are both full-back are aplenty, both these players have what it takes to make it.