In the past, the English media have been guilty of over-hyping a number of their country’s players. Nearly every young Englishman touted with an international call-up is either the next Gascoigne or Rooney but not many live up to the expectation.
This XI gives just a few of the many Englishmen over-hyped by their media. Although some of these players are still forging out good careers for themselves and achieving well at a high level, their abilities are far more limited that what they have been built up to by the English press.
Goalkeeper: Scott Carson
Currently at Derby, Carson rose to prominence during his youth at Leeds where he eventually earned a move to Liverpool. His main breakthrough came at West Brom as he failed to dislodge Pepe Reina. Touted as a future England number one, Carson famously conceded a hit and hope from Niko Kranjcar at Wembley as the Three Lions failed in their qualification attempt for Euro 2008.
Right Back: Phil Jones
Jones is still a regular with United but the early comparisons with the legendary Duncan Edwards still seem baffling. Since joining United in 2011 from Blackburn Rovers, the 24-year-old has played across the backline and as a holding midfielder. However, the strange assumption from the English media that he could become an explosive dynamic midfielder is something we will never see.
Centre Back: John Stones
Still only 22, Stones could eventually become one of the best ball-playing centre-backs in Europe. However his hype has been talked about for a long time now and has been poor since his move to Manchester City. He is a player whose potential is constantly highlighted by the English press but with some unforgivable mistakes, a line has to be drawn for when the hype has been overextended.
Centre Back: Micah Richards
A former Manchester City youth, the explosive Richards burst onto the scene as an exciting full-back. After just under 200 appearances for City, he returned to hometown club Aston Villa after failing to gain a consistent spot at the Etihad. With thirteen England caps and an Olympic performance for GB, Richards is a long way off an international spot after being dubbed as the next big thing over a decade ago.
Left Back: Kyle Naughton
The attacking left back caught the eye while at Sheffield United and earned a move to Spurs along with Kyle Walker. Naughton was the one expected to make the grade and was tipped for an England call-up as a teen. In six seasons, he only managed 46 appearances as Walker comfortably overtook him in the pecking order. Strangely he remains eligible for the Republic of Ireland.
Right Wing: Jermaine Pennant
A wonder kid signed by Arsenal for £2million as a 15-year-old, Pennant was destined for stardom. A mainstay of the England underage teams, he failed to make an international appearance with mixed performances at Birmingham, Liverpool, Real Zaragoza and Stoke among others. Like Naughton, is also Irish eligible and now playing his trade with Bury after joining last week.
Central Midfield: Michael Johnson
Another former City youth, powerful midfielder Johnson drew comparisons with Steven Gerrard. However, at the age of 24 he announced his retirement from football after only 37 league appearances in a career blighted by injury. Unfortunately for Johnson, personal problems also contributed to the demise of his once-promising career that was played up by the media.
Central Midfield: Jack Wilshere
After breaking into the Arsenal first team as a teen, Wilshere was hailed as the messiah of English football. He made his debut in 2010 and the English media felt that they found their new David Beckham. Although technically gifted and a tidy footballer, the man who is now on loan at Bournemouth lacks consistency in his game that isn’t helped by injury.
Left Wing: Andros Townsend
While at Tottenham, Townsend was tipped for an illustrious England career. However, after nine loan spells, the winger knew his future as a Spurs regular looked unlikely and was sold to relegation-bound Newcastle. After a strong finish to the season and some England caps in the past few years, Townsend moved to Crystal Palace where he has struggled.
Striker: Francis Jeffers
After bursting onto the scene as a teenager, Francis Jeffers become an instant Everton hero and earned a big money move to Arsenal. By coincidence, he made his England debut with another Everton wonderkid Wayne Rooney in 2003 against Australia. He has a 100% goalscoring record in an England shirt with one goal from one, but never quite lived up to the expectations that the media had placed on him at such a young age.
Striker: Danny Welbeck
Although prolific at international level, Welbeck is certainly not the complete striker he is made out to be by the press. An exciting prospect at Manchester United, Welbeck become a fountain of frustration with his poor finishing and inconsistent displays. Although a good player and another man unlucky with injuries, Welbeck is far from world class, a level which he once promised to reach.