Have England lost their mojo?


It was all looking so rosy not that long ago.

In 2017 England were U17 and U20 World and U19 European champions, before the national team reached the FIFA World Cup semi final in Russia 2018.

Some even dared to breath the words 'golden generation' once again.

Now the crop has matured into a U21 side, the magic seems to have petered out.

Last night's England U21 team debuted in the UEFA finals in comical style, conceding two penalties (which France contrived to miss) before two of their most vaunted players screwed up.

Leicester's Hamza Choudhury was shown a straight red for a rash tackle in the box while Crystal Palace's Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Old Trafford-bound, scored an athletic own goal in the 95th minute to hand France a last-gasp victory.

The French U21s outpassed and outshot Aidy Boothroyd's side to boot.

The one bright spot was Manchester City protege Phil Foden dancing through the French defence to score and confirm his young talent.

England's U17 and U20 sides both failed to qualify for their respective World Cups this year. The U19s were eliminated in the first round of last year's UEFA tournament and missed the cut for this year's tournament by losing at home to Greece.

And what of the national team? England were beaten in the UEFA Nations League semi final by the Netherlands, who had failed to reach Russia 2018. A rusty side succumbed 3-1 after defensive howlers from John Stones and Ross Barkley.

Yes Gareth Southgate and the England coaching staff have St George's Park training centre as a base for future tournaments but if there was a golden generation two years ago it seems to have burnt out already.

After all the euphoria, England have fallen back down to earth again.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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