Brilliant Champions League Stat Shows Just How Much Young English Talent Is Breaking Through

Nov 02, 2017 Posted Under: News

?Dele Alli and Harry Kane were flying the flag for young English talent in the Champions League this week, inspiring a Tottenham side slowly emerging as a European force to a 3-1 victory over back-to-back reigning champions Real Madrid at Wembley.

And, at a time when young English talent is being celebrated for the achievements of the age restricted national teams – at the Under-17 World Cup last week, but also the Under-20 World Cup and Under-19 European Championship earlier this year – the Spurs pair certainly were not alone when it came to young Englishman performing at the elite level.

Tottenham Hotspur v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League

As many as 11 English players aged 24 or under were on the pitch in a Champions League game on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

To compare with other nations, as writer Daniel Storey has pointed out, France had 16, Portugal had 13 and Germany had 12. Brazil were matched with Brazil on 11, but there were fewer young Spaniards than Englishmen. The same can be said of Italians and Belgians, all countries with a reputation greater than England’s for producing top players.

It wasn’t simply that Alli (21) and Kane (24) played a peripheral role as Spurs thumped Real, as they scored all three goals between them. They were joined on the pitch by international colleagues Eric Dier (23) and Harry Winks (21), who were paired together in central midfield.

Established stars John Stones (23) and Raheem Sterling (22) were in action across the continent as Manchester City became only the second English ever to beat Napoli in Italy, matching the achievement of Swindon Town in the 1970 Anglo-Italian Cup.

SSC Napoli v Manchester City - UEFA Champions League

Meanwhile, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (24) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (19) both started as Liverpool beat Maribor at home to remain top of their group. The Reds also had fellow youngsters Joe Gomez and Dominic Solanke on the bench, who remained unused.

24 hours it had been Manchester United using English talent in Europe, with Scott McTominay (20) impressing on his full Champions League debut at home against Benfica. Jesse Lingard (24) also started, while Marcus Rashford (20) came off the bench in the second half.

Manchester United v SL Benfica - UEFA Champions League

Chelsea were the only one of the five Premier League sides in action not to use an English player aged 24 or under, failing to even name on in their squad. Gary Cahill, 31, and Danny Drinkwater, 27, were the only Englishmen on the pitch for the 3-0 humbling against Roma.

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