Here’s a quote from Jimmy McIlroy, an Iirsh footballer, from 1960:
“Between the ages of twenty-seven and thirty-two, footballers are in their prime. It is from this age-group that teams capable of winning the World Cup should come. If, then, England intend making a serious challenge for 1962 honours (ie. win the 1962 World Cup), a team of twenty-five to thirty year olds should be built up now. The present age group, from which England is team-building, should reach full maturity in 1966…four years too late to win the 1962 World Cup.”
A little bit tongue-in-cheek, yes. But still. They knew what they were doing back then. Even if they did want to win the 1962 World Cup, they were aware that they had more chance of winning the 1966 (which they did) World Cup with the players they currently had. England and its football team need to start thinking like this. Preparing for the future. Looking at which young players will be capable and ‘in their prime’.
Do England have the players for Brazil ’14? Or should they be looking further forward to France ’16 or even Russia ’18?