Harry Kane has been the player to really break into the big time this season. Scoring freely for Spurs he fully deserved his call up to the senior England squad at the end of March where he capped a memorable debut with a goal against Lithuania to cement the side’s position as favourites to qualify for Euro 2016.
Kane had performed well for the U21 side and has gone on to be a major star this season. But it doesn’t always work out that way – not all promising young players go on to replicate that form for the senior England side.
So who out of the current U21 squad could repeat Kane’s success stepping up to the main stage?
The Southampton midfielder has really impressed during the past two seasons since earning a regular place in his club side. It has only been a fractured foot that has stopped the youngster from registering more appearances and he looks an accomplished player in the middle of the field. His problem may be out of his control, however. Even with the international retirements of Gerrard and Lampard there are some very established players available to play in the middle for England. In a position holding so much responsibility it could be difficult for Roy Hodgson to give a newcomer that much pressure.
Linked with a whole host of clubs during the January transfer window, the Burundi-born striker decided to stay at the Hawthorns – at least until the end of the season. An extremely promising goal scorer, Berahino could well move up to the England senior side but it would probably take a move to a bigger Premier League outfit to achieve that. Fans of smaller clubs have always complained that their players don’t get the international recognition they deserve simply because they are not playing for the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool – and they are probably correct. If Berahino does leave West Brom this summer don’t be surprised if he gets a call up.
Currently on loan at Swansea City, the Spurs midfielder has long been thought of as a huge prospect. The midfielder was being talked of being a future star by Tim Sherwood when he was in charge at Tottenham and the midfielder is able to take control of a match from the centre of the field even at his tender age. But Carroll is currently on loan at his third club in as many seasons and however much he impresses his temporary managers and fans, he really needs to put down roots and deliver consistently to be considered for a long run in the England senior set up. That could mean that he might have to leave White Hart Lane for a club that will give him the responsibility that is required from an England international.
Chelsea saw enough promise in the young striker when they paid Nottingham Forest £1.5 million for him after only two senior appearances and now it looks like their vision is beginning to pay off. After impressing on loan at Derby County last season, Bamford has really come to prominence this term firing Middlesbrough towards the top of the Championship and helping them become a good bet for promotion come the end of the season. If he can repeat that form in the top flight – at Middlesbrough or elsewhere – then Roy Hodgson could do worse than try Bamford out before next summer’s European Championships in France.
There are always a number of players that excel at Under 21 level but never really make it on the international stage. And some players blossom later and work their way into recognition without ever shining in their formative years. But if any of the current crop are to repeat Harry Kane’s success they will know that anything they have achieved up to this point will mean nothing if they don’t strive to constantly improve.