“The Young Guns v The Golden Boys” – Match Preview – England v Brazil

Young guns, having some fun….” George Michael‘s words in his Wham days back in 1983, which could so easily apply to the footballers of England and Brazil in their respective matches last week. 

Fresh, full of life and youthful exuberance. Not quite ‘devil may care’ but certainly willing to try, to ‘give it a go’, seemingly without being burdened by years of fear and disappointment. 

The youth of today. Often they pose such a dilemma for football managers. To some they are embraced, others they are discarded. No one size fits all. Some are too young, too raw, too fragile, too inexperienced. Put together, all too much of a risk. But are they ?

For England’s followers, how refreshing it was to see the youth being given its chance against Germany, for which the ‘gaffer’ Gareth Southgate must be applauded. After the somewhat turgid displays in World Cup qualifying, he has decided on a change of approach, for which he has little to lose. Against Germany, he literally threw the youngsters into battle. Jordan Pickford, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Tammy Abraham  and Joe Gomez, as substitute, all made their full international debuts. Harry Maguire was earning only his second cap.  

After some early nerves and uncertainty, which was understandable, they quickly settled into the match. Whilst Loftus-Cheek and Pickford grabbed the headlines, they all, without exception, performed admirably. It was a real breath of fresh air after the nature of the qualifying campaign. Indeed the ‘young lads’ appeared buoyed by the successes that they had enjoyed with the younger age groups.

To some degree, Southgate threw caution to the wind but he was suitably rewarded for his sense of adventure. There will be ups and downs along the way but one can only hope that he does not regress too much to the supposedly tried and tested player tonight and in the World Cup. 
For Brazil, the youth are already well established, invariably given an opportunity at a much younger age. Tonight it is likely that Gabriel Jesus, still only 20, will be parading his skills. He has already played 12 international matches and netted on 7 occasions, having been blooded as a teenager.  He is some player, who has arguably benefitted by being given his chance at such a young age. 

It will be fascinating to see how Southgate’s ‘young guns’ perform tonight, as the Brazilian team are in a rich vein of form and the wise scribes are suggesting that this is arguably their best team for many a year. There is a chance that they could tear England apart if everything clicks.

For England, the hope and expectation garnered from the Germany match must be kept in perspective  for it was only one match and, as the famous saying goes, ‘one swallow does not make a summer’, albeit it was a hugely encouraging and entertaining start.

Wembley awaits tonight’s battle with eager anticipation. After all, it’s not often that Brazil come to town. It has been billed as the English ‘young guns’ against the Brazilian ‘golden boys’. The mouth waters. 

One only wonders whether the expectant crowd will still be dancing to the tune of Wham at the final whistle or whether Coldplay will have taken over, the ground and the stars being all yellow. It should be fun finding out.


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