England Under-21s have progressed to the semi-finals of Euro 2017 and face Germany in the last four on Tuesday.
Aidy Boothroyd’s side are already the most successful Young Lions outfit since 2009, when Stuart Pearce led a team containing James Milner, Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs to the final.
Here we assess five members of the current squad capable of making their mark during the 2017/18 season.
The 22-year-old midfielder has been hot property for some time, having made his Derby debut as a 16-year-old before becoming England Under-21s’ second youngest player in history when he came on as a substitute aged 17. Injury and Derby’s inability to win promotion to the top flight have stifled Hughes’ development in recent years but he will get a crack at the Premier League in 2017/18 after sealing a transfer to Watford. An excellent passer of the ball, if Marco Silva can help Hughes take his game to the next level then the reported £8million price tag might prove to be a bargain.
Like Hughes, Chalobah is a defensive midfielder who has long been talked about as a future star of the game but is yet to make a significant impact at the top level. Physically imposing, Chalobah has made two starts and a handful of substitute appearances for Chelsea. Most of the 22-year-old’s experience has come during loan spells with Watford, Nottingham Forest, Burnley, Reading and Napoli but he remained at Stamford Bridge last term and acted as a squad player. Whether Chalobah can dislodge Cesc Fabregas or N’Golo Kante remains to be seen – if not he may have to depart the Blues in order to display his talent on a regular basis.
The Wolves defender has made over 70 appearances for the Molineux outfit since joining in 2014 and played 30 games last season. While playing in the second tier has enabled Hause to gain more experience than several of his Young Lions team-mates, the 21-year-old will be eager to progress to the top flight in the near future. Hause came through West Ham’s academy before leaving for Wycombe, where he impressed enough to earn a transfer to Wolves.
Abraham is a Chelsea team-mate of Chalobah’s – and the 19-year-old has also had to go out on loan in order to cut his teeth in first-team football. A return of 26 goals from 48 appearances with Bristol City in the Championship last season propelled Abraham to prominence but whether that will be enough for him to gain a place in Chelsea’s starting XI remains to be seen. A season-long loan move to Swansea has been mooted, which would allow Abraham time to adjust to the Premier League without carrying the burden of expectation that comes with leading the line for the Blues.
Whereas Abraham, Chalobah and Hughes were all touted for stardom from an early age, 22-year-old forward Murphy has been something of a late developer with Norwich. An FA Youth Cup winner in 2013 alongside twin brother Josh, Murphy made his Canaries debut in 2014 but was soon farmed out on loan to Swindon, Southend and Blackpool. While at Bloomfield Road, Murphy posted a social media update stating: “We are going to lose… Again” and subsequently saw his spell in Lancashire cut short but, after brief stints with Scunthorpe and Colchester, he enjoyed a productive season with Coventry in 2015/16. That enabled him to become a Norwich regular last term and as his coolly-taken goal against Poland in the group stage showed, Murphy has the composure to be a real threat.