The weekend just passed saw a number of notable sporting successes.
Rafael Nadal won a 10th French Open title, the first male tennis player to win 10 series of the same Grand Slam; the English cricket team beat Australia; the English, Scottish and Irish rugby teams beat their opposition on tour; the British and Irish Lions even managed a victory… and in football, England’s Young Lions successfully defended their Toulon Tournament title.
However, the greatest success came from the England U20 football team which won the FIFA U20 World Cup handing them perhaps the most significant international football title since Bobby Moore led England to the 1966 World Cup over 50 years ago.
Together with winning the bi-annual tournament Newcastle United’s Freddie Woodman was awarded the Golden Gloves for being the best goalkeeper in the tournament (no doubt cemented by an excellent penalty save in the final) whilst the Golden Ball for player of the tournament, a prize previously won by such luminaries as Diego Maradona, Sergio Aguero, Paul Pogba and Lionel Messi, went to soon to be Liverpool striker Dominic Solanke.
Success in Korea has inevitably led some to suggest that the triumph will herald the start for a new “Golden Generation” of English football. This phrase was first coined by then FA Chief Executive Adam Crozier when referring to the senior England team ahead of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, a team that included the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Rio Ferdinand to name but a few.
Ultimately this group of players failed to deliver on the ultimate stage of major championships but will this fate follow the latest crop of new talent?