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We All Contribute to the Destruction of Young English Talent

20/01/2015 17:22 GMT | Updated 22/03/2015 09:59 GMT

You might have heard that there are a few decent young English strikers knocking around at the moment. Wait, no, scratch that. You've definitely heard that there are a few decent young English strikers knocking around at the moment. If you've somehow navigated a sports page to find this piece without seeing at least a "HARRY KANE FOR ENGLAND???!?!??" headline... well, you're one in a million. And you're probably not paying very close attention to your surroundings.

The thing is, it's all a bit over the top, isn't it?

One piece this January has said that Harry Kane is the perfect man to lead England into a new era, because he's not been hyped-up and hasn't had to develop under media pressure. With absolutely no irony. "He's England's saviour, because nobody's called him England's saviour. Well, except us, just now. But that doesn't count. Probably."

It's the straight-up lack of self-awareness that English sporting papers are known for internationally and it's not hard to see that it's harming the players they're trying to big up.

There are no sinister motives behind it (at least, one would hope not), it's just writers trying to earn a living in a world that demands more content than ever before. But it has to stop.

The three main names being touted to play alongside - or in some cases, replace - Wayne Rooney in England's next match are Charlie Austin, Saido Berahino and Harry Kane. Now, let's kill some hype in that order...

Austin has scored 13 goals in 20 league games this season, playing in a pretty poor QPR side. That's an impressive record. It's also his first season in the top flight and despite his impressive Championship record, he's not been consistently tested at the highest level yet. Remember David Nugent? Heck, remember Andy Johnson? Being the focal point of an average team is one thing, being a cog in a national side is a completely different beast and Austin isn't ready yet.

Now for Berahino. This one's much easier to shoot down as 1) he's not actually that good, with 14 goals in 54 PL games and 2) he's clearly got a lot of growing up to do. Speeding at 110mph while drunk isn't big or clever and the 21-year-old clearly has some maturing to do before he leads the line for a national team. The kind of growing up that would benefit from a spell out of the limelight of constant national team speculation.

Finally, Kane. He seems like perhaps the most complete player of the three, but let's not forget that even Spurs fans were questioning his inclusion in their side just six months ago. Planning the future of the national side around a player who's just hit a good patch of form is hilarious nonsense, but it's also massively damaging for the player. And now we start to reach the point.

Imagine one of those three are included in the next couple of England squads. Seems fairly likely. A few bad matches in an unfamiliar team and suddenly they're a disappointment. They'll spend the rest of their careers as "England Flop [Name]" - all because they were hyped up far too much to begin with. And they know it. The pressure must be unbearable.

Let's try to be better as football fans and football bloggers. Let the talent develop by itself and stop the mass clamour for anyone who's played two decent games in a row to be thrown into the England setup. As hard as it might be to trust the current management to make the right decisions, we've got to at least give them the chance to make the call by themselves.

Of course, if you're looking for another reason to avoid the "saviour of English football" hyperbole, you could do worse than checking out ​this 2003 piece by BBC Sport's Dan Warren on why England's youth crop meant that they'd win Euro 2008. The only international tournament they've failed to qualify for in the last 20 years. It's the biggest danger of all - you being completely wrong will be immortalised forever on the internet - is it really worth it?

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