Revisiting the Indy’s 2022 World Cup-winning England XI from 2013

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Wilfried Zaha playing for England's Under-21s.

Despite England’s disappointing performances at Euro 2012, there was still a lot of hope for the future in 2013.

The Independent predicted that the Three Lions would win the 2022 World Cup and even named the Xl that would help them become world champions.

We’ve taken a look at that Xl to see how they’ve fared in the last eight years.

GK: Jack Butland

Butland was regarded as one of the most promising young talents in English football after being selected as part of Roy Hodgson’s squad for Euro 2012 at just 19 years of age before becoming the youngest goalkeeper to ever play a game for the Three Lions later the same year.

The shot-stopper would go to spend five years in the Premier League with Stoke City but never managed to nail down the No.1 jersey for the national side.

A spell in the Championship would follow after Stoke’s relegation from the top-flight in 2018 before a move to Crystal Palace at the beginning of last season, where he currently remains as their backup goalkeeper.

Despite making his international debut over nine years ago, Butland has just nine England caps to his name – so it’s safe to say this prediction didn’t quite come off.

RB: Chris Smalling 

Smalling won his second Premier League title in 2013 and was touted by many as Rio Ferdinand’s natural successor for both Manchester United and England.

After falling out of favour under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the defender left Old Trafford for Roma in 2019, initially on loan and then permanently the following season.

With 31 international caps to his name, Smalling is comfortably one of the biggest England success stories in this team and he might still make a return one day.

CB: Nathaniel Chalobah

At the time this team was assembled, Chalobah was yet to make his Premier League debut, but he had just enjoyed a promising loan spell with Watford in the Championship.

Another five loan spells would follow for the Chelsea academy product in the subsequent years at clubs including Nottingham Forrest and Napoli before he finally played his first league game for the Blues during the 2016-17 season.

However, he struggled to make an impact at Stamford Bridge, eventually leaving the club for Watford in 2017 and then moving on to Fulham in 2021.

Chalobah did make his England bow in 2018, as an added-time substitute in a game against Spain where he played for a total of six minutes and 54 seconds – putting him just one second ahead of Martin Kelly’s record for the shortest Three Lions career in history.

CB: Phil Jones 

One of the forgotten men of English football.

In fairness to the Independent, Jones did really look the real deal during his time with Blackburn Rovers and early years at Manchester United.

But the defender has become somewhat of an outcast at Old Trafford, making just 20 Premier League appearances since the start of the 2018-19 season.

 LB: Luke Shaw

With Shaw having developed into one of the worlds best full-backs in recent years, they did get this one bang on.

RW: Wilfried Zaha 

With 23 caps to his name, Zaha is one of the most accomplished international players in this team. Unfortunately for the Independent, all but two of these caps have come for the Ivory Coast.

After making two appearances for the Three Lions in 2012 and 2013, the winger opted to switch national allegiances to the country of his birth in 2017 following a four-year absence from the England side.

The Crystal Palace star remains one of the most exciting and dangerous attacking players in the Premier League and would have certainly been in contention to play for England in Qatar if he was still available for selection.

CM: Ross Barkley

Barkley enjoyed an impressive breakthrough season at Everton in 2013-14 and his performances saw him dubbed the new Paul Gascoigne by fans and pundits.

Despite struggling to live up to those high expectations, the midfielder still completed a £15million move to Chelsea in January 2018.

He has struggled to hold down a starting spot at Stamford Bridge but was recently brought back into the fold by Thomas Tuchel after spending 2020-21 on loan at Aston Villa.

The 27-year-old hasn’t played for his country since 2019 and is currently behind the likes of Mason Mount, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, James Maddison and Emile Smith Rowe in the England pecking order.

READ: Ross Barkley & the Everton goal he celebrated before he’d even scored

CM: Jack Wilshere 

Once regarded as the future of English football, Wilshere made his Arsenal debut in 2008 and shot to prominence with a brilliant display against Barcelona in the Champions League in February 2011.

But he left the Gunners in 2018 after a series of injury problems curtailed his progress and prevented him from reaching his true potential,

The 29-year-old then had underwhelming spells at West Ham and Bournemouth before being released by the latter at the end of 2020-21. He’s still without a club and has recently been training with Arsenal as he prepares for the next step in his career.

“You know if you’d have asked me even probably two years ago do I see myself in this position, I would’ve just said no chance and if you go back further than that when I was with Arsenal, I probably expected to still be playing for England and still playing for Arsenal,” Wilshere recently said on the Original Penguin X Campaign Against Living Miserably Under The Surface podcast.

“So no, I didn’t expect to be in this position, and there have been times where it’s been tough mentally, especially when you have to train on your own. You see teams go back to pre-season and you’re still waiting and you’re getting nothing; it’s tough.”

Jack Wilshere is marked by Xavi and Lionel Messi as Arsenal play Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium. February 2011.

READ: A forensic analysis of Jack Wilshere’s stunning 2011 CL display v Barcelona

LW: Jordon Ibe 

There were hopes at Liverpool that Ibe could follow in the footsteps of Raheem Sterling, but whereas Sterling’s career has gone in one direction since leaving the Reds, Ibe’s has gone in the complete opposite.

He joined Bournemouth in a £15million deal in 2016 and failed to justify that price tag, scoring five goals in 92 appearances before being released by the Cherries in 2020. 

The 25-year-old has never played for the senior England team and is currently a free agent, having made just one substitute appearance for Derby County in 2020-21.

ST: Daniel Sturridge 

Sturridge joined Liverpool in January 2013 and formed a brilliant partnership with Luis Suarez, scoring 21 league goals in 2013-14 and earning a place in the PFA Team Of The Year. 

But his final few years at Anfield were derailed by a series of injury problems, and he was eventually replaced by Roberto Firmino.

He joined Turkish side Trabzonspor in 2019 but was released in March 2020 after being served a four-month ban for breaking rules around gambling.

The striker expressed a desire to return to the Premier League but instead joined A-League side Perth Glory in October 2021.

ST: Chuba Akpom 

Akpom excelled in Arsenal’s youth teams but was never able to replicate that form with the first team, failing to score in 12 appearances in all competitions.

After six different loan spells away from the Emirates, he joined Greek Super League club PAOK on a permanent deal in 2018.

The striker helped them win the league and cup double in his debut season before returning to England with Middlesbrough in 2020. He scored five goals in 40 appearances for the Championship side and is now back at PAOK on a season-long loan deal.

Akpom agreed to switch his international allegiance to Nigeria in 2019 but is yet to make his debut for the Super Eagles.


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