Are England the only Nation to rush through Young Players?

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With Saido Berahino being called up for the upcoming Slovenia qualifying game, after only a handful of good games for WBA, it got me thinking – are England the only nation that calls up a player after a few good games? We look at England, as well as Spain, Germany, Holland, Italy and France. We have looked at players recently called up/made their debut (it does include players that did not make their debuts too):

England

Saido Berahino (21) – 42 Apps / Calum Chambers (19) – 30 Apps / Luke Shaw (19) – 60 Apps / Nathaniel Clyne (23) – 68 Apps / Raheem Sterling (17) – 25 Apps / Ross Barkley (19) – 34 Apps / Andros Townsend (22) – 37 Apps / Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (19) – 20 Apps / John Flanagan (21) – 30 Apps / Jay Rodriguez (24) – 35 Apps / Jon Stones (20) – 26 Apps / Fraser Forster (25) – 100 Apps / Jack Colback (24) – 125 Apps / Fabian Delph (24) – 80 / Adam Lallana (25) – 68 Apps

As you can see – most, if not all, had barely played 50 club games in the Premier League before being thrown in. If you look a little deeper, most (bar the likes of Berahino and Delph) have only played for a couple of England Youth Teams, making a handful of appearances for say the U19’s and 21’s. It seems they do not get picked up, explode on to the stage, get given a few Under 21 games and are thrown straight into the England National Team

Germany

Marc Andre-Ter Stegen (20) – 74 Apps / Christian Gunter (21) – 40 Apps / Sebastian Jung (23) – 170 Apps / Oliver Song (21) – 141 Apps / Max Meyer (19) – 47 Apps / Leon Goretzka (19) – 57 Apps / Andre Hahn (24) – 170 Apps / Max Arnold (20) – 36 Apps / P-M Lasogga (22) – 90 Apps / Kevin Volland (21) – 78 Apps / Mathis Ginter (20) – 73 Apps / Antonio Rudiger (21) – 50 Apps / Erik Durm (22) – 27 Apps / Karim Bellarabi (24) – 52 Apps / Christoph Kramer (23) – 36 Apps / Skodran Mustafi (23) – 56 Apps / Sebastian Rudy (24) – 115 Apps

Most players have had at least 1-2 seasons of first team football, and bar Andre Hahn and one or two others, all have taken part in most if not all youth teams, down to Under 16’s. The likes of Erik Durm, Max Arnold and Christoph Kramer are very well known to coaches all around the country, meaning putting them in after less than a season of first team action is less of a risk!

Spain

Kiko Casilla (28) – 85 Apps / Juan Bernat (21) – 62 Apps / Marc Bartra (22) – 36 Apps / Ignacio Camacho (24) – 130 Apps / Alvaro Morata (22) – 44 Apps / Nolito (28) – 99 Apps / Isco (21) – 116 Apps / Alberto Moreno (21) – 54 Apps / Ander Iturraspe (25) – 178 Apps / Munir El Haddadi (19) – 7 Apps / Paco Alcacer (21) – 57 Apps

Similar to Germany, Spain’s call ups tend to be well thought out, and rarely fail like a good deal of England’s do. Bar the older Keeper just called up (Casilla), all have been in the youth systems for a number of seasons.

Italy

Matteo Darmian (24) – 123 Apps / Daniele Rugani (20) – 46 Apps / Giacomo Benaventura (24) – 110 Apps / Andrea Bertolacci (23) – 30 Apps / Roberto Soriano (23) – 70 Apps / Mattia Perrin (22) – 67 Apps / Simone Zaza (23) – 44 Apps / Lorenzo Insigne (21) – 60 Apps / Ciro Immobile (24) – 76 Apps / Graziano Pelle (29) – 200+ Apps / Andrea Poli (23) – 134 Apps

Mainly 60+ appearances, plus several seasons on loan in Serie B is the coincidence in these players cases. Co-ownership is basically a loan system between the better clubs and lower league clubs, and it sort of works. Again, similar to Germany, most players spend plenty of time in the National youth system. Zaza did not, but once he was picked up by Juventus he was placed into the 19’s and 21’s for a season or so, before he had a good year at Sassuolo. Pelle is outside the norm, most players go for their debut between 19 and 24, but he did not do well in Italy for a while, playing for mainly lower league Serie A teams. Once in Holland and England, he has become a late bloomer. Deserved call up there!

France

Layvin Kurzawwa (11) – 46 Apps / Kurt Zouma (20) – 54 Apps / Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (23) – 180 Apps / Joshua Guilavogui (23) 97 Apps / Lucas Digne (21) – 60 Apps / Alexandre Lacazette (22) – 110 Apps / Remy Cabella (24 – 97 Apps / Clement Grenier (22) – 80 Apps.

Most, if not all of these have proven themselves in the top league, and even won medals. They seem to stay at their club until this point, and then pick the right club for them.

Holland

Quincy Promes (22) – 45 Apps / Joel Veltman (21) – 35 Apps / Jeroen Zoet (23) – 102 Apps / Karim Rekik (19) – 35 Apps / Sven Van der Beek (20 – 10 Apps / Terence Kongolo (20) – 23 Apps / Davy Klaassen (21) – 40 Apps / Danny Propper (23) – 114 Apps / Tonny Vilhena (19) – 70 / Luc Castaignos (22) – 110 Apps / J-P Boetius (20) – 60 Apps / Jurgen Locadia (21) – 79 Apps

A few players in there after very few appearances, but all have been in youth systems nationally since they were young, so not novices. What tends to happen is if they impress at under 21 level, and are too old for it, they get bumped up a level for experience.

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There are some similarities in what other nations do to what England do, but they are only superficial. English players tend to impress in a few under 21 games/club games and simply get thrown into the deep end (the national team). Every other country has consistency – these players represent them from a young age, playing the same system in each team – and once they have performed consistently for their club, then they get the nod.

Look at the new players England have picked – bar two none have made over 100 apps for their clubs, and only one or two more have made over 50 at the time of their first call. Barely any have represented youth teams from under 16’s to 21’s, and it proves how many young stars get missed at that age. Foreign national teams rarely miss any – even Simone Zaza (Italy) was picked up at under 19 level and was in since then. The likes of Andy Carroll had 4/5 games for the Under 21’s, had half a good season at Newcastle and was in the NT, and look where he is now!

The media do not help – firstly they over-egg young talents, attempt to bully England into picking them, and then when they fail/do not perform – love slating them. Other nations tend to keep the lid on potential stars. In Germany, Holland, Spain, France etc most players are not picked until they have made 50+ club appearances, and in some cases over 100 – so they are well known/proven.

In the cases where they have not made at least 60/70 games (Kramer, Durm, Arnold, Zouma) they have spent years in the NT setup at youth levels, and have been too good for the rest. When they have not been in the youth system, like Andre Hahn or Graziano Pelle – they have made over 150 club appearances and performed brilliantly, getting the attention for good reasons.

England seem to give caps to anyone who has a decent few games. Rickie Lambert may have been good at lower league level, and for a bit in the Premier League, but you would never see someone like him get into another national team of this calibre. England, in short, give too many players a chance in the NT far too soon! Calum Chambers could have gone to the Croatia qualifying game, where he had played a huge part in getting the team there – and let the NT use Nathaniel Clyne instead, who has been much better than the Arsenal man – but that made too much sense. They used Chambers in a pointless game against San Marino and left Clyne un-used…no sense at all in that!

Andros Townsend had a good 5/6 games for Spurs and was straight in there, Carroll – the same as mentioned. No wonder these youngsters are burnt out so soon. Caps are given out willy-nilly, and the players are often not seen again for a few years. Sterling, Shaw, Barkley, Stones and a few others have been picked 2/3 seasons too soon.

In this case of Saido Berahino – he has had half a good season, and with Rooney, Welbeck and Sturridge ahead of him – what is the point of dragging him from the Under 21’s for 1/2 games? There is none. Let him develop at a level where the pressure is lower, and put him in when someone like Lambert retires, when there is a chance he may actually play!

England in short, are a bit soft…