Young England players that might make the 2026 World Cup team

Young England players that might make the 2026 World Cup team

With England chances of winning the World Cup in 2022 gone, those in control of the Football Association will begin to look forward to 2026.

Some of the current crops of players may have seen their last World Cup action, but behind them comes a slew of promising young players hoping to push their way into Gareth Southgate’s – or whoever is in charge at the time – plans.

Here are five guys that are on the verge of breaking through.

1. Levi Coleman

Levi Colwill’s progress halted considerably after his temporary transfer to Brighton after a sparkling first season on loan with Huddersfield last year. Before the World Cup, he played 102 minutes of Premier League action, 90 of which came in a single game.

Nonetheless, the Chelsea center-back is largely regarded as one of England’s most fascinating possibilities in his position, and he is anticipated to be a first-team regular long before the 2026 World Cup.

Young defenders have recently struggled to get into the England system, with Fikayo Tomori failing to make the last team despite winning Serie A. Still, Colwill should be hopeful about his prospects.

2. Cole Palmer

Cole Palmer can enjoy his own Phil Foden coming-of-age narrative for the next three years.

Palmer, who is more skilled than his 99 Premier League minutes this season would imply, has taken the daring decision to follow in Foden’s footsteps and stay at Manchester City, opting to develop under Pep Guardiola rather than going out on loan.

There’s no denying it worked for Foden; can Palmer do the same?

3. Omari Hutchinson

For a long time, Omari Hutchinson has had great hopes. Long regarded as one of the top Arsenal youth products in recent memory, the youngster took the risky decision to join Chelsea in the summer, swapping the Emirates for Stamford Bridge.

The 19-year-old has impressed Graham Potter at the Premier League 2 level, reaching the senior bench three times before the World Cup break and impressing in a friendly against Aston Villa.

Hutchinson has already accepted a call-up from Jamaica but has yet to commit to a national team, so England still has time to persuade him to return.

4. Harvey Elliott

Harvey Elliott’s participation in the 2026 World Cup seems to be the most assured of the names on this list. He’s already a regular for Liverpool at 19 and getting better.

Elliott’s skill has been evident for years at St. George’s Park, having played for the Under-16, Under-17, and Under-21 teams, and he may have featured for the seniors if it hadn’t been for some bad luck with injuries.

Midfield is likely England’s future generation’s most vital position, and Elliott is one of the standout names.

5. Fabio Carvalho

Fabio Carvalho, Elliott’s Liverpool colleague, was named to Portugal’s preliminary World Cup roster but did not make the final cut. Instead of being dropped to the Under-21 squad, he informed the Portuguese FA through text message that he no longer wanted to be considered for junior call-ups.

Carvalho, who represented England from Under-15 to Under-18 level, hasn’t technically closed any doors yet, but his actions may have done so for him, giving England hope of inviting him back.

Injuries to colleagues have given Carvalho plenty of playing time under Jurgen Klopp. A senior international call-up must be on the way, but whose side he’ll be playing for is unknown.

6. Marcus Edwards

Marcus Edwards has been tipped to join England’s team this time around. Southgate disagreed, but by 2026, the winger may be impossible to ignore.

Edwards, who is now 24, is far from a teenager, yet his influence on English football is still in its infancy. Tottenham released him in 2019, and his last appearance for any England team was at the Under-20 level that year, although it’s difficult to assume it will be his last.

Edwards has been linked with a return to the Premier League after excelling for Sporting CP at the top level in Portugal. If he completes that transaction, his chances of being called up will more than treble.

7. Junior Samuel Iling

Juventus’ disappointing performance this season has prompted Massimiliano Allegri to give opportunities to 19-year-old winger Samuel Iling-Junior, who has not disappointed in limited minutes.

Before the World Cup, the former Chelsea youth had two assists in 43 minutes of Serie A and Champions League play, demonstrating that he can compete with top-tier quality at this early point of his career.

Are we on the verge of a Jadon Sancho-style meteoric rise? It’s difficult to tell, but an England cap may be on the way if we are.

8. Jobe Bellingham

Jude Bellingham had yet to play a minute of senior football four years before this World Cup and was still being groomed for his breakthrough.

Brother Jobe is already receiving periphery minutes for Birmingham in the Championship four years before the next World Cup.

Comparisons between the brothers are both superfluous and inescapable. Jude was one of England’s standout performers in Qatar, and all eyes will be on how close Jobe gets to repeating that effect.

9. Tino Livramento

If there is one position in which England should not be concerned for the next decade, it is right back. Reece James and Trent Alexander-Arnold are still in the early stages of their careers, but stars like Tino Livramento are waiting in the wings.

Following his transfer from Chelsea to Southampton, Livramento was an absolute star of the 2021/22 season, immediately establishing himself as one of the country’s most promising prospects in any position. Unfortunately, a severe knee injury ended his career in April 2022, and he has not been seen.

If Livramento recovers as projected, it is unlikely that he will not be a viable candidate for a starting berth by 2026.

10. Taylor Harwood-Bellis

Working with Manchester City loanee Taylor Harwood-Bellis at Burnley has aided his development as a vital starter in the Championship title contenders’ defense.

The 20-year-old center-back is on his fourth loan away from the Etihad. Still, he is beginning to produce genuine results, appearing like a machine under Kompany and undoubtedly deserving Premier League minutes next season.

Harwood-Bellis would have three years of top-tier play to show he merits a berth in the next World Cup team.