Move over Euro 2020 and roll on World Cup 2022.
There is a lot of club football to be played beforehand however, approximately 1.5 seasons, due to the 2022 tournament’s November start date.
It means there is a lot of chance for England’s squad to change and evolve. Let’s not forget Phil Jones was part of the 2018 England World Cup squad, while the likes of Bukayo Saka only made his professional debut in November of that year.
Kalvin Phillips for instance, a regular in England’s Euro 2020 side, only made his Three Lions debut last August. Luke Shaw, star of the tournament for England this year, was not even part of the World Cup 2018 squad.
So a lot can change before the World Cup in Qatar, and Manchester United have a talented group of players capable of making a Shaw-esque leap forward or making a Saka-like rise onto the scene.
Here is a look at six players on United’s books who could develop into stars in 2022 for the Three Lions.
Book it. Mason Greenwood will be on the plane to Qatar in 2022.
Greenwood has already made his England debut and was part of the warm-up squad before Euro 2020 before he pulled out with an injury.
Missing out was probably a blessing in disguise for Greenwood after a long season, and he is likely going to return a lot stronger this season.
Being able to link up regularly with Jadon Sancho at club level is going to help both players and Greenwood may even have a case to challenge Harry Kane in attack.
Whether Greenwood is able to establish himself in England’s starting XI by 2022 is of course unclear, but expect him to be in the squad, it is more or less guaranteed.
Don’t rule out Axel Tuanzebe taking a big leap forward like Luke Shaw has done over the past year.
Tuanzebe might need a loan to really show what he can do this season, and it is possible too that he leaves United permanently by 2022 on a mission to prove a point if his chances are blocked.
That would be a shame, but Tuanzebe needs to put himself first. He has the talent, as he demonstrated in Paris by shutting down Kylian Mbappe a year ago.
Tuanzebe should be looking at England defenders like Conor Coady and Tyrone Mings and believe he can overtake them. He has the talent, and he needs to seize every opportunity he has to grow.
England’s plethora of right-backs makes life tough for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, but time is on his side.
Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker are both over 30 and Wan-Bissaka’s best years are ahead of him. Defensively he is already an international standard player.
If Trippier moves to United and gets beaten out by Wan-Bissaka as a regular then it will enhance the former Palace man’s claim to an England spot.
Wan-Bissaka could get fed up by then and declare for DR Congo as has been speculated, but he should have a bit more patience. 2022 could end up being his time to shine.
If you want a reminder of his quality, just ask Raheem Sterling, the star of England’s Euros, who has been shut down multiple times by the United full-back.
Manchester United midfielder James Garner could turn out to be a quick riser through the ranks if he succeeds in establishing himself in the Premier League.
Whether Garner’s 2021/22 season ends up at United or on loan, by 2022 he will be a stronger and better player.
Garner has a wonderful balance to his game and has quality from dead ball situations too.
He will be 21 by time the tournament in Qatar comes around, just one year younger than Declan Rice this time around, and if he is playing in United’s midfield, then Garner will be good enough for England too.
It was not so long ago that Brandon Williams was being praised by Gary Neville and Gary Lineker as a future star.
Williams lost a lot of progress in 2020/21 due to Luke Shaw’s brilliance and Alex Telles’ arrival, and is expected to go out on loan next year.
A strong Premier League loan could get the youngster back on track and leave him in with a chance for 2022.
England’s options beyond Shaw are weaker at left-back than on the right and Williams has a shot to break into the squad in Qatar.
The defender is only 20-years-old and has already played in three semi-finals for United. He has plenty more to offer and he will take inspiration from Shaw’s rise from varying setbacks to become the player he is today.
Shola Shoretire might end up following Bukayo Saka’s rapid path into the England first team.
Shoretire has already made his United debut at the age of 17 and has a huge future ahead of him.
It’s possible the 2022 tournament might come too quickly for Shoretire, but don’t rule anything out. The youngster is a special player capable of being United’s answer to Phil Foden.
With 10 goals for the under-23s and six assists this past season, Shoretire is a special talent who is going to make a real name for himself.
Mason Mount had a poor tournament at the Euros and Shoretire might end up competing for his spot in Qatar if his impressive rise continues at the rate it has been going.
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