Black gold for England lions


England's triumphant under 17 World Cup winners, who performed a stunning come-back act to beat Spain at the weekend, had more black players in the starting line-up than France's legendary class of 1998.

Eight of the first eleven young lions are black. Seven starters in England's recent under 20's World Cup winning triumph were of the same background.

Liverpool's double-hat trick hero Rhian Brewster grabbed the headlines, but the sheer wealth of African and Caribbean talent throughout the squad strongly suggests that future England senior squads will be majority black.

It's not beyond the bounds of possibilities that the England of the future will be as black as the NFL is today in America.

There are now so many promising black footballers knocking on the doors of their club teams in the Premiership that England's prospects of winning the senior World Cup may rest on having plenty of black in the Union Jack.

With 15 highly promising black players in both starting teams, and four more on the bench, the England of the future are set to be more multicultural than the famous 'Noir de France' class of 1998, which featured the likes of Thierry Henry, Marcel Desailly and Patrick Viera.

Only four black French players were in that final, including Lilian Thuram, Christian Karembeu, however there were also three players of Arab background not least Zinadine Zidane.

England's recent u17 and u20 World Cup victories show there is a new black golden generation ready to end decades of disappointment since the three lions last won the Jules Rimet trophy back in 1966.

While it is unlikely that England will field an all-black starting eleven at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, there is every prospect of at least two-thirds of the team being black, or black mixed heritage.

This is a far cry from past England World Cup starting line-ups that have generally had only two or three black players at most.

By 2022 the likes of Joel Latibeaudiere, Ademola Lookman and Kyle Walker-Peters could be household names carrying the hopes of the nation. Let's not forget that by 2022, Delle Alli, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford will all be under 30 and in the prime of their footballing life.

It's not unreasonable to imagine players such as Kyle Walker and Chris Smalling, who will both be 32 in 2022, will still be in the England squad.

Add those seven current black England internationals with the 19 black players who starred in the u17 and u20 World Cup victories and they could theoretically take all 23 world cup squad places and have three more on the reserve call-up list in case of injuries.

France 1998 vs England 2022

Black French players in the 1998 World Cup winning squad:

Bernard Lama (GK), Bernard Diomede (M), Marcel Desailly (D), Lilian Thuram (D), Patrick Viera (M), Christian Karembeu (M), Thierry Henry (S). Arab French players in the 1998 World Cup winning squad: Zinadine Zidane (D), Alain Boghossian (M), Youri Djorkaeff (M).

Black England players in u17 World Cup winning team:

Defenders: Steven Sessegnon (Fulham), Joel Latibeaudiere (Man City – captain), Marc Guehi (Chelsea), Jonathan Panzo (Chelsea). Midfielders: Tashan Oakley-Boothe (Tottenham), Morgan Gibbs-White (Wolves), Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea), Timothy Eyoma (Tottenham), Nya Kirby (Palace). Forward: Rhian Brewster (Liverpool).

Black England players in u20 World Cup winning team:

Defenders: Jake Clarke-Salter (Chelsea), Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea), Kyle Walker-Peters (Tottenham). Midfielders: Josh Onomah (Tottenham), Ademola Lookman (Everton), Sheyi Ojo (Liverpool), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal). Strikers: Dominic Solanke (Chelsea), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton).