A new generation of young English talent is taking Europe by storm, and Tottenham Hotspur legend Ledley King is excited by what he’s seen so far.
“It’s great to see an England team playing with such confidence, that’s something former teams and teams I’ve been involved in have struggled with,” King told Evenings on FNR.
“We’ve had players there but we’ve struggled to put it all together and never really played with the same confidence levels that we now see from this young group.
“Everyone in the country is very excited, we realise that to win any tournament it’s very difficult, there are so many great teams out there – but we’re certainly on the right path.”
King – who won 21 caps for the Three Lions in a career blighted by injury – highlighted the impact of manager Gareth Southgate as a difference-maker.
“I think the manager’s played a big part in it, I think Gareth has a great understanding of dealing with young players.
“I think somehow he’s managed to really take the pressures off them and get them playing with enjoyment – and I think that’s a big part of it.
“Any sportsperson will tell you how important confidence is within sport, I think he’s managed to take the shackles off the team and take the pressure away from the team and allow them to go out there and play freely.
“I think it’s had a big impact on obviously the young group of players and everyone connected with the England squad.”
King is also encouraged by the recent trend of young Englishmen paving their way abroad.
“We’ve seen many young players come to England, so there’s no reason why young English players shouldn’t be able to go abroad and gain their experience,”
“Everyone’s individual situation will be different, for some they’ll will have to wait a bit before they get an opportunity to play first team football.
“So why not go abroad and sample playing in front of bigger crowds and in games that really mean something.”
Former Manchester City starlet Jadon Sancho moved to Borussia Dortmund in 2017 in search of more game time. Fast forward to the present and he’s cemented his starting place with the German giants, scoring eight goals in 27 League appearances this season.
On top of that, Sancho’s leading the assists chart in Europe’s top five leagues on thirteen; the young Englishman surpassing Barcelona’s Lionel Messi who has 12 in La Liga for 2018/19.
Spurs youngster Shayon Harrison has followed suit, signing a six-month loan deal with Melbourne City.
“For Shayon, now at Melbourne, he’s getting the chance to play in front of big crowds and as I said games that have real value and importance,” King added.
“For me, if you need the game time, then yeah, you should as a young player go out and get that.”