England has always been seen as a major footballing force. After all, it was here in 1863 that the first ever competitive international football match took place (England v Scotland). The game quickly spread to Africa and Asia, mainly due to a grapevine affect through the British Empire and reached countries like Brazil by the way of immigrants from Europe.
Football today is the most played and watched sport in the world, and has produced many great athletes and memories. Players such as Pele, Maradonna, Cruyff, Eusabio and Platani will always be remembered for their breathtaking skill. However, you will notice that no English players were included on that shortlist of talent.
England has only won the World Cup once, in 1966 and recent performances suggest that this lone success is unlikely to be repeated in the foreseeable future. The results have been mixed and range from the stunning 5-1 thrashing of rivals Germany, to the dreadful home defeat and draw against Australia and Macedonia respectively.
Some would say English football is in crisis and it is hard to imagine better times ahead. Many have asked, "Is there a real future for English football?"
The answer to this for many people is "yes!" There are some great talents coming through the ranks at the professional English clubs. 17 year old Wayne Rooney is a star for Everton and England already, despite his young age. Rooney is seen as the future of English football by most, and scored his first England goal against Macedonia in only his second competitive international performance. Some fans have even given him the nickname "Roonaldo", a play on the name of the Brazil and Real Madrid striker Ronaldo. James Milner is another who many believe will be an England star in the next few...