White Rose in the white shirts as Yorkshiremen take centre stage
By Brad Patefield
Embed from Getty Images
(England’s Under-21 side contained two Yorkshire-grown players v Andorra)
On the day after England’s Under-21s qualified for a seventh straight European Championships, the national football scene may well be dubbed as a current ‘golden’ generation of player representing their country, with an increasing majority hailing from Yorkshire.
“We’re a tough county. We grind and never stop working towards our goals.” quoted Yorkshire England Supporters Group member, James Dennison.
“The amount of lads from Yorkshire reflects this. It’s such a big county with a lot of big Clubs to develop players to hopefully bring us that bit closer to the success which seems so near in the future.”
The City of Leeds’ national production
As national images improve on and off the field, Leeds itself can be particularly proud of its talented production line which has seen the likes of David Batty, James Milner, Alan Smith, Danny Rose and Aaron Lennon amass over 168 Three Lions appearances combined.
Under 23 ‘keeper Will Huffer, left-back Tom Pearce and midfielder Ronaldo Vieira all pulled on that famous jersey as a reward for the commitment to development within United’s on-the-rise academy structure.
One of the most exciting upcoming midfielders in the Country, Lewis Cook, is a Bournemouth regular having graduated through the ranks at Elland Road. Cook has already captained two of the England youth sides, where he firstly led the Under-20’s to World glory in Korea before securing the qualification to the 2019 Under-21 Euros via a tough group.
Leeds United academy graduate Lewis Cook lifts the Under-20 World Cup trophy aloft
Leeds isn’t the only Yorkshire City that can be proud of it’s footballers.
Sheffield, Barnsley and Doncaster boast Premier League and International figures in the shape of John Stones, Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire, Mason Holgate and one of the scorers against Andorra, Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
The summer witnessed a best senior Three Lions World Cup appearance since the triumph of 1966; a fourth placed finish went a long way to righting the wrongs of the dismal Euro 2016 campaign.
The Younger Lions, however, achieved success in the Under-20 World Cup followed by victory in the annual Toulon Tournament held in France at the same age level.
The Under 19’s secured the 2017 European Championship title, whereas the 21s valiantly reached the semi-final stage of the 2017 Euros losing to Germany on penalties- a typically English way to be eliminated.
Everton’s Yorkshireman striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin finds the net in Thursday’s 7-0 qualification-clinching win over Andorra at Chesterfield’s ProAct Stadium
Current Members of England National Squads from the White Rose
Danny ROSE: 25 England senior appearances having started career at Leeds United, currently at Tottenham Hotspur.
Ronaldo VIEIRA: Now of Italian club Sampdoria, Vieira was part of the England Under-20 side that triumphed in the Toulon Tournament.
Tom PEARCE: Left-back earned two Under-21 call-ups as a reward for fine form in the Leeds United First Team.
Will HUFFER: Goalkeeper is a regular in Leeds’ Under-23 side and has represented England Under-20s twice.
Harry MAGUIRE: Remembered for excellent performances in the summer, Sheffield-born Maguire has established himself as a quality defender for both Leicester City and the senior national team.
Dominic CALVERT-LEWIN: The Everton striker has netted 10 times for the Under-20s and 21s since a 2016 arrival from Sheffield United.
John STONES: Left home-town side Barnsley for Everton in 2012 before a big-money move to Manchester City.
Mason HOLGATE: Mirrored Stones’ path with a 2015 move to Everton from Barnsley, and operates in the centre or the right-side of defence for both the Under 20s and 21s.
Kyle WALKER: Steel City full-back Walker was another departure from the region to a bigger Club, Tottenham Hotspur, and made 183 appearances over an 8-year period before leaving to link-up with International team-mate Stones in Manchester.
Lewis COOK: Under-21 captain initiated his increasing reputation at Leeds, breaking into senior football before joining Bournemouth for £7million.
Keeping kids interested in football with the incentive of following in the footsteps of local role models is important to keep the development of the game forthcoming, something that youth football coach Ryan Hargreaves reiterated.
“Building basic football skills is a must when inspiring children to achieve their dreams. Not everyone makes it for sure, but the earlier they start, the more chance they have to develop to the best of their abilities and that’s when the professional Clubs start to play a bigger role. These kids are taken on, trained and given the opportunity to keep on improving to potentially play at the highest level.”