Revisiting the ’20 future England stars’ picked by The Guardian in 2008

Quick Reads

Former Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea players were all named in The Guardian’s 2008 article on 20 future England stars to watch.

Ten years ago, Guardian writers were asked to pick the best English talents aged 18 or under.

The list throws up plenty of recognisable names, plus brilliant descriptions, while there are a number of players who disappeared into obscurity…

Jose Baxter

The Guardian noted Baxter was “better than Wayne Rooney at 14”, but his is a cautionary tale. The talented attacking midfielder dropped down to League One in 2012 and has been banned twice for failing drugs tests.

The 25-year-old was given a “third chance” to resurrect his career when offered a 12-month contract by the Toffees in the summer.

Mark Beevers

At the age of 18, Beevers was named Sheffield Wednesday’s Player of the Year and had been regularly linked with a move to a Premier League club.

Last year he was named in League One’s Team of the Season after helping Bolton win promotion.

John Bostock

A senior debut at the age of just 15 led to a move to Tottenham a year later. But Bostock never settled at Spurs and was loaned out five times before eventually departing permanently for Royal Antwerp.

The attacking midfielder is now with Lens in Ligue 2.

Nathan Delfouneso

A Football Manager legend, Delfouneso is onto his fourth spell with Blackpool. The striker, now 27, is yet to reach double figures in a single season.

Fabian Delph

The former Leeds prodigy spent the summer rejecting moves to Newcastle, Stoke and West Brom to surprisingly establish himself as left-back for Pep Guardiola’s champions-elect.

Danny Drinkwater

Drinkwater was tipped for success with Manchester United but eventually became a title winner with Leicester City. The midfielder is now back among England’s elite with Chelsea.

Jordan Henderson

“An elusive right-sided midfielder or deep-lying forward, and equally happy in the hole or drifting wide right.” Bloody hell. Henderson’s game has change somewhat.

Gavin Hoyte

As luck would have it, we recently spoke to the former Arsenal full-back.

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READ: The story of Gavin Hoyte and his one Premier League appearance for Arsenal

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Henri Lansbury

After looking promising at Arsenal, Lansbury earned a reputation as one of the best midfielders in the Championship at Nottingham Forest before joining Aston Villa in January 2016.

Josh McEachran

The Next Jack Wilshere rejected moves to Real Madrid and Manchester United at the age of 16 to stay at Chelsea but suffered from the familiar tale of making too many loan moves. The midfielder has found a permanent home at Brentford over the last three years.

Jacob Mellis

Chelsea paid £1million to land Mellis from Sheffield United, meaning he cost exactly £1million per minute played in the Blues’ first-team. The midfielder has since gone on a tour of the north of England, appearing for Barnsley, Blackpool, Oldham, Bury and now Mansfield.

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READ: Where are they now? Every English youngster to debut under Abramovich

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Victor Moses

What threatened to turn into a nomadic career as a winger has instead seen Moses establish himself as a title-winning wing-back. In 2011 he switched international allegiances to Nigeria.

Nile Ranger

“Tipped for Shearer-esque scoring feats” by The Guardian, Ranger was recently ranked Newcaslte’s worst striker of the Mike Ashley era. You’ll be unsurprised to hear he was sacked by Southend earlier this month.

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READ: Ranking the 24 strikers signed by Newcastle under Mike Ashley

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Jack Rodwell

Earned plenty of plaudits at Everton and eventually a move to Manchester City, but his career has been undermined by a host of injuries. Most recently in the news as Sunderland want to cancel his £70,000-a-week contract.

Freddie Sears

Remember when he scored the winner on his West Ham debut and everyone was dead happy? That was good.

Remember when he scored for Crystal Palace against Bristol City but the ball bounced straight back out of the goal and the ref didn’t give it? That was also quite good, to be fair.

Sears has spent the last three years grafting for Mick McCarthy at Ipswich.

Jonjo Shelvey

Still at Charlton when this list was published, Shelvey’s move to Liverpool may not have worked out, but the midfielder has established himself as a Premier League player with Swansea and Newcastle.

Danny Welbeck

Dat Guy is invariably Dat Guy on the bench these days. The Guardian article likens Welbeck to Nwankwo Kanu, which is weird.

Aidan White

After a bright start at Leeds, a combination of injuries, Neil Warnock trying to turn the left-back into a right winger and Brian McDermott playing him as a No.10 did for White at Elland Road. The 26-year-old is currently without a club after a short spell at Barnsley.

Jack Wilshere

Possibly hasn’t lived up to his potential since That Night Against Barcelona, but Wilshere is finally enjoying a season without a serious injury *touches wood*.

Michael Woods

Signed by Chelsea from Leeds United alongside Tom Taiwo – Danny Rose rejected the move – Woods has spent the last four years at Hartlepool, for whom he now plays in the National League.

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