Euro2020 Special – Top Ten Three Lions Autobiographies (Part 2)

Having looked at my top ten autobiographies of former England players that I’d like to read, it’s now time to turn my attention to the those and in and around the current squad.

With the squad announcement made and England now with their sights firmly set on Sunday 13 June and their first group-stage clash with Croatia, expectations are beginning to rise once more. There is a particular pressure and expectancy that comes with playing for The Three Lions and this latest generation are no different, but there is still time for them to cement their place in history this summer. Whether that’s the case or not remains to be seen, but in advance of that first fixture, I take a look at the ten players, both in the current squad and those who missed out, whose autobiographies would most pique my interest.

  1. Dele Alli

It’s been a tough couple of years for Dele Alli, both for club and country, initially frozen out at Tottenham by Mourinho and subsequently missing out on selection by Southgate. But still only 25, it’s not that long ago that Alli was twice voted PFA Young Player of the Year, in 2015/16, 2016/17 consecutively. All the more impressive because he was running out in League One for Milton Keynes until 2015. Whilst his talent has been apparent in his time at Tottenham, his attitude has come into question from some quarters, but there is something intriguing about Alli and his off-the-pitch persona comes across as high-spirited and entertaining. The next couple of years look crucial to determining how Alli and his career will be remembered, but either way, it’s a journey that will be worth watching.

  1. Patrick Bamford

Featuring for nine different clubs in seven years, it seemed that Patrick Bamford was to become the latest career ‘journeymen’, just missing out on the big time. But then came his move to Leeds United, culminating last season in his first real chance in the Premier League and an impressive 17 goals to boot. Bamford may seem an anomaly on this list given that he’s never represented England at senior level, despite a handful of appearances for the U18s, U19s and U21s, but arguably his form this season warranted his first Three Lions call-up. Bamford himself qualifies to play for the Republic of Ireland and perhaps that may end up being his path into the international set-up, but one thing Bamford’s career has proved is that he can bide his time, keep producing and eventually he’ll prove his doubters wrong.

  1. Conor Coady

Less than twelve months ago, few outside of Wolverhampton would have even given Conor Coady a passing glance, let alone selected him for England, but those at Molineux knew it was only a matter of time before the man who was practically made to be a leader got his chance and grabbed it with both hands – as he has done throughout his career. Having captained England at both U17 and U20 level and coming through the academy at Liverpool, Coady’s career look set to take off, before he was released from the Merseyside team and found himself in the Championship, first at Huddersfield before moving on to Wolves, where his shift from midfield to defence and his taking of the captain’s armband has been integral to his meteoric rise in recent years. A solid presence on the pitch, Coady has proved himself hugely likeable and engaging off it.

  1. Jesse Lingard

The omission of Jesse Lingard was one of the big talking points of Gareth Southgate’s squad announcement and he can surely feel hard done by to miss out (should he not get a second call-up given the injury to Trent Alexander-Arnold?) following his late-season form at West Ham. But now 28, Lingard has already packed a lot into his career, including over 200 appearances at Manchester United, loan spells at Leicester, Birmingham, Brighton and Derby, as well as his memorable cameo for The Hammers, and he featured in the 2018 World Cup. Noted for his celebrations and lively energy on and off the pitch, Lingard is one of the game’s personalities, and having come through the Manchester United Academy, serving under Sir Alex Ferguson, Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, amongst others, his football schooling is right up there.

  1. Mason Mount

My one concession to youth on this list is Mason Mount. Despite being just 22, he’s already shoehorned a lot in, not least winning that most enigmatic of titles, the Champions League, this season – and, what’s more, he’s done it for his boyhood club. He already had pedigree in Chelsea youth, having scooped the U18 Premier League and 2 FA Youth Cups, as well as being named Chelsea Player of the Year in 2017 and the Golden Player at the U19 Euros the same year. A loan spell under Chelsea legend Frank Lampard was arguably the making of Mount, but his return to Stamford Bridge saw him make his mark for both club and country. There is still a long way for Mount to go, but this will be one story worth following.

  1. Tyrone Mings

Despite spending eight years at Southampton’s Academy, Tyrone Mings was released in his teens, moving on to non-league football. After considering his future in the games, Mings spent a year in the Southern League Premier Division with Chippenham Town before he was snapped up by Championship side Ipswich. Three seasons later saw him make the final step up to the Premier League with Bournemouth, before a transfer to Villa saw him come of age and earn his England call-up. With his first international competition just around the corner, Mings’ story from non-league to world stage will be completed.

  1. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

When Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made the move form Southampton to Arsenal just aged 17, there was huge excitement around the lively winger, which was stoked further when he became the youngest English goalscorer in the Champions League. Although his career was more stop-start at the Emirates than it was hoped, with injuries playing their part, he remained an exciting prospect and was duly rewarded with a place in the England senior set-up for Euro 2012. Having won three FA Cup titles and three Community Shields at Arsenal, Oxlade-Chamberlain’s move to Liverpool saw him add the Premier League, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup to his trophy haul, yet his time for both club and country has been impinged by injuries. Off the pitch, he comes across as vibrant and engaging, but now 27, his legacy will be determined with what happens next in his career on the pitch.

  1. Raheem Sterling

It seems hard to believe that Raheem Sterling is only 26, he seems to have been playing for decades, but that may be because he’s been on the scene regularly since he was 17. Having spent his career at two of the biggest clubs in England in Liverpool and Manchester City, Sterling has already amassed a number of team and individual honours, as well as over 60 England caps. Yet despite all of his success on the pitch, Sterling grabbed the world’s attention in recent years in speaking out on racism and the media and leading the fight against discrimination and inequality. There have, as with most players, been setbacks and controversies along the way, but Sterling has emerged as a figurehead both on and off the pitch.

  1. Kieran Trippier

Kieran Trippier may not be one of the biggest or most well-known names in English football but he is one of very few Englishmen to have played in Spain’s top league, and one of even fewer to have won it, following his Atletico Madrid team’s triumph this season. Prior to his move to Spain, Trippier had come through the ranks at Manchester City but failed to make his mark, settling in the Championship with Burnley before securing promotion. This was followed by a four-year spell at Tottenham that saw Trippier first appear on the England senior team radar and an impressive outing in the 2018 World Cup. His journey from Manchester City outcast to the Championship, promotion to the Premier League and a La Liga winner has autobiography material written all over it.

  1. Kyle Walker

True fact: I once walked past Kyle Walker in a car park in Birmingham. He was on loan at Aston Villa, far from a household name and nobody batted an eyelid. Fast-forward ten years and the very same Kyle Walker has just won his third Premier League title, fourth EFL Cup and appeared in his first Champions League final. Spells at Sheffield United, Northampton Town, QPR and the afore-mentioned Villa were simply precursors to him breaking through at Tottenham, winning the PFA Young Player of the Year in 2012. His career at England kicked on as he featured in both Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup, but his switch to the Etihad in 2017 really catapulted Walker to the next level. With a senior career already spanning twelve years, Walker has been most places, done most things and got most trophies.


Jade Craddock


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Posted June 4, 2021 by Editor in category "Top Ten Football Books", "UEFA 2020 Euro Championship

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