The future of the England national football team is in good health, according to former Chelsea and Italy forward Gianfranco Zola, who identifies the top English prospects in the Premier League as Liverpool attacker Raheem Sterling, Everton golden boy Ross Barkley and Southampton teenager Luke Shaw. Zola also isolates Adam Lallana for commendation, claiming the midfielder is "not typically English" and "really bright".
It is the present, that may be most concerning, particularly when looking at the hat-trick of fixtures that await the England national football team - one of them at altitude - as they have been drawn into an effective group of death along with Zola's home nation Italy, Luis Suarez's Uruguay and a Costa Rica capable of "surprising people".
Speaking to Four Four Two, Zola said: "England have a young squad and I have seen and been impressed by Sterling, Barkley and Shaw - they have qualities to potentially become top international players. Lallana too – he’s really bright and not typically English.
"If you can have the battling spirit of England and then add these very bright, technical abilities on top then I think the future is very positive."
On Group D as a whole, he said: "It will be very hard. It is one of the toughest groups and just getting out of that is a big ask. Uruguay, Italy, England; you couldn’t pick which two of that three will progress, and that's before we even talk of Costa Rica who can surprise people."