The Young Lions squad that opened Wembley - where are they now?

On the day of the England national team's 1000th game, we thought we would take a look at the first official game at the new Wembley. We were one of the 55,000 lucky spectators in the stadium on March 24th 2007, to witness an exciting 3-3 draw between the England's Young Lions (U21s) and the Little Blues (Italy U21s). Fans' Favourite take a quick look at the careers of that squad...

England U21 squad v Italy U21, new Wembley 2007

Starting 11

Goalkeeper: Lee Camp
It feels like Lee Camp has been around forever. And that's because he has. Camp made his first appearence in 2002, for Derby County. 17 years, 12 clubs and 524 league appearances later, he finds himself as number one goalkeeper for Birmingham City in the Championship.

Camp never received a senior England call-up so switched allegiance to Northern Ireland in 2011. Unfortunately for him, Roy Carroll's form limited Camp to 9 caps.

Right back: Liam Rosenior
A player that is adored by fans of almost all of the clubs that he played for (apart from you, Reading fans). Rosenior would be the first to admit he was not the most technically gifted footballer, but he was a player with an unbelievable attitude and strong work ethic. The fullback hung up his playing boots at the end of 2018 season, playing three times during Brighton & Hove Albion's first Premier League season. You can now find Rosenior among Phillip Cocu's coaching staff at Derby County.

Rosenior played 7 times for England's Young Lions, but never received a senior call-up.

Centre back: Anton Ferdinand
Unfortunately for Anton, he will permanently live in the shadow of his older brother Rio. Maybe that's a LITTLE harsh, he did manage to make 236 Premier League appearances after all. A bit of a journey-man, Anton found himself playing in Turkey and he even signed for Police United in Thailand, although the deal eventually fell through. Ferdinand has not officially retired, so perhaps Arsenal would be interested in snapping him up on a free?

He was eligible to play for England, the Republic of Ireland and the St. Lucian national team but never received a senior call-up.

Centre back: Gary Cahill
One of the most successful members of this England U21 squad, Cahill won the Premier League twice, the FA Cup twice, the Europa League twice and the Champions League once. He is still plying his trade for Crystal Palace in the Premier League, re-uniting him with his former England manager Roy Hodgson.

Cahill made 61 appearances for England's senior team between 2010 and 2018, appearing in two World Cups and one Euros. 

Left back: Leighton Baines
Another one of this squads most successful members, Baines has made 412 Premier League appearances up until now. He is currently the vice club-captain at Everton but finds himself behind Lucas Digne in the playing pecking order. 

He played understudy to Ashley Cole for the early part of his international career, but still managed 30 caps and was included in the Euro 2012 and World Cup 2014 England squads. 

Right mid: David Bentley
The next David Beckham, according to Steve McClaren. Not quite, Steve, not quite. Played 7 times for the England senior team. 

Let's just take a look at that wonder goal he scored for Spurs in the North London Derby:

Centre mid: Nigel Reo-Coker
De de der, Nigel Reo-Coker. What a song.

Reo-Coker was one of West Ham's youngest ever skippers, but things ended on a sour note after he handed in a transfer request in 2007. After leaving the Hammers, his career slowly drifted down hill, and he found himself playing in the USA and Norway. 

In 2010, Reo-Coker turned down a call-up from Sierra Leone's national team, in the hope that he may one day return to the England set-up. That call from England never came, sorry Nigel.

Left mid: Kieran Richardson
Richardson spent all but one season of his career in the Premier League. (Nice one, Cardiff). He made just 41 appearances for Manchester United across five seasons. He was competing with Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo for a place on the wings, to be fair to him. 

Richardson made the perfect start to his senior England career by scoring twice on his debut. He was capped a further 7 times, but failed to score again.

Left forward: Gabriel Agbonlahor
Apart from two loan spells, at Watford and Sheffield Wednesday, Gabby Agbonlahor spent his entire career at Aston Villa. He is their leading Premier League goal scorer with 74 goals. Will this record ever be beaten?

Agbonlahor had the choice of playing for Nigeria or England. He was capped three times by England, failing to score once.

Centre forward: Leroy Lita
The definition of a journeyman. Lita scored 104 goals in 392 league appearances for Bristol City, Reading, Charlton, Norwich, Middlesbrough, Swansea, Birmingham, Sheffield Wednesday, Brighton, Barnsley, Notts County, AO Chania (who?!), Yeovil, Sisaket (again, who?!), Margate, Salisbury and Chelmsford City. I wasn't exaggerating when I called him a journeyman. 

Lita turned down the chance to play for DR Congo to compete for England. He scored 6 goals in 9 games for the U21s but never received a senior call-up.

Right forward: Wayne Routledge
In our opinion, Routledge is one of those players that's too good for the Championship, but not quite good enough to excel in the Premier League. But what do we know? His 16 seasons spent in the Premier League suggests differently. 

Routledge represented England at U16, U19 and U21 level, but never got the call from the senior England boss. 

Subs

Justin Hoyte
A member of the sporty Hoyte family; Justin Hoyte is the son of former British sprinters Les Hoyte and Wendy Hoyte, the older brother of footballer Gavin Hoyte, the cousin of British sprinter Chris Clarke, and the nephew of former athlete Trevor Hoyte. After playing 58 times for England youth teams, Justin got bored of waiting for his senior call-up so pledged allegiance to Trinidad and Tobago. 

Ben Alnwick
Alnwick has never really been able to hold onto the number 1 shirt at any club until more recent years. He finds himself at Bolton Wanderers and won their Player of the Year in 2018, voted by the club's supporters. Alnwick was never capped at England senior level. 

Liam Ridgewell
After a stint in the US with Portland Timbers, where he was signed as a one of their designated players, 35-year-old Ridgewell finds himself back in England at Southend United. Ridgewell was never capped at England senior level.

Lee Cattermole
126 yellows and 9 red cards so far in his career. This is why we love Lee Cattermole. Unfortunately he received none of these cards while playing for England's senior team, as he never got the call. 

James Milner
Mr Boring and Mr Versatile, Milner is currently Liverpool's vice-captain. He represented England at senior level 61 times before retiring on his own terms in 2016. 

Tom Huddlestone
Huddlestone became a Spurs regular from 2006-2010 but struggled with injury problems and fell out of favour. He represented England at youth level 53 times and made his senior debut in 2009, making 4 appearances in total.

Ashley Young
A bird once shat in his mouth during a game against Swansea. Young has made 39 appearances for England, last playing in the 2018 World Cup semi-final loss against Croatia.

Matt Derbyshire
Scored 10 Premier League goals in 63 appearances, then Blackburn realised he wasn't very good at football. He's spent the rest of his career knocking about in the Championship, in Greece and now in Cyprus. Never received an England senior call-up.

Cameron Jerome
Another one of those strikers that excels in the Championship but isn't up to Premier League level. You can now watch Jerome playing for Goztepe in Turkey. He scored 0 goals in 10 games for England U21s and never received an England senior call-up.

Joe Hart
Hart has gone on to play 75 times for England, which makes him the 23rd most capped England player. Beautiful hair too. 

An England U21 squad of 15 players with 288 caps between them (well, between 9 of them).


Older Post Newer Post


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published