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I hope, pray, our talented kids don't get their heads turned by fat-cat clubs.


GOOD luck to the England under-20 team in their World Cup Final against Venezuela in South Korea today.

Even more luck to the majority of them trying to get a regular game for their Premier League clubs.

When the league is flooded with the best young talent from all over the world, the golden generation soon becomes the loaned-out generation.

The exciting progress of this squad has rekindled the debate over whether young home-grown talent gets a fair crack at club level.

Under-20s captain, Bournemouth's Lewis Cook, shared a familiar sentiment when he expressed hope this campaign would help convince managers to put more faith in English youngsters. He should not hold his breath.

There still seems to be a reluctance at a lot of clubs to fully trust the sort of footballer on the cusp of winning a junior World Cup with England.

But it is hard to believe it is a deliberate policy.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is lauded for giving young English players a chance, but nationality did not matter in his commitment to the likes of Dele Alli and Harry Kane.

What he saw in Alli was a lad who had come through the hard way, come through a tough childhood and adolescence, was streetwise. In Kane, he saw a young man who just redoubled his efforts after what many would consider setbacks, someone determined to prove the many doubters wrong.

They were not a couple of players who had already grown complacent on fat contracts.

Liverpool are one of the clubs who have said they are going to put a cap on young players' wages. You will believe it when you see it.

It might be a sweeping generalisation but for English prodigies coming through he n the academy system, there is too much, too soon. The development of Jadon Sancho at Manchester City will be fascinating.

He has not played a first-team game, but has not long turned 17, is outrageously talented and was named the Golden Player of the recent Under-17 European Championship.

Pochettino that came the hard Sancho says he escaped from the 'hood' when City signed him othh from Watford, but there is talk of other clubs trying to poach him and about a new City deal worth PS30,000 a week.

At a similar age, Gabriel Jesus was painting lines on the streets of Sao Paulo ahead of the 2014 World Cup. He was earning PS70 a J t saw Dele Alli through way week on his first pro' deal at Palmeiras.

Hopefully, Sancho will prove to be a superstar. Wayne Rooney won that Under-17 Golden Player award and he didn't turn out too badly.

To do so, Sancho will have to make sure the fantastic rewards at such an early age do not take the edge off his hunger, his desire.

There is clearly no shortage of hunger and desire amongst the Under-20 squad who will try to win a World Cup.

And if they don't allow that hunger and desire to be dulled by fat club contracts, the long-term future for English football might yet be surprisingly shiny.

Pochettino saw that Dele Alli came through the hard way


YOUNG GUNS: England's U-20 starlets have big careers ahead of them.. if they are given a chance

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 11, 2017
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