Top Five: England youth stars who failed to reach potential - featuring Leeds and Aston Villa players

Leeds, Aston Villa, West Ham, Newcastle and Everton men all failed to fulfil their potential.

The England Under-21 team get to work today, playing their first game at the 2015 European Under-21 Championships.

The likes of Harry Kane, Danny Ings, Nathaniel Chalobah and Alex Pritchard have built a wealth of excitement for the team, and they are expected to live up to their talent and go far in the competition.

The past has seen a host of famous names play for the Under-21 side, with big futures expected of many players. Whilst some go on to enjoy fantastic careers, it is obvious that many players reach the pinnacle of their career with Under-21 football. Potential is not reached, and they go down in infamy for their failure to progress.

We take a look at five of the biggest Under-21 names to have flopped in senior football.

Francis Jeffers

The former Everton trainee was something of a prodigy when a youngster, scoring 18 goals in 49 games for Everton whilst a teenager. He earned a move to Arsenal, and won 16 caps for the Under-21’s, netting an impressive 13 goals - making him joint top scorer with Alan Shearer. He even went on to score one goal in one senior international, but his Arsenal stint stuttered, and he ended up ending his career as a journeyman striker.

Gabriel Agbonlahor

The Aston Villa star has forged a respectable career in the Premier League, but he has never lived up to his reputation as precocious talent. He has won three senior caps for England, but his 16 Under-21 appearances hinted at a big future he has never lived up to.

Nigel Reo-Coker

Currently playing with Montreal Impact, Reo-Coker won 23 caps for the Under-21’s, as well as captaining both West Ham and Wimbledon before the age of 21. He enjoyed a good career in the Premier League, playing for Aston Villa and Bolton, but has tailed off into MLS to see out the end of his career without a senior Three Lions appearance to his name.

Steven Taylor

A veteran of 50 caps across various youth levels for England, the one-club Newcastle defender has never appeared at senior level. He has been called up to squads, but has never broken into the first-team, due to the quality ahead of him and injury problems resulting in a lack of ability to find consistent form.

Scott Carson

Made 28 appearances for the Under-21s, whilst a talented ‘keeper at Leeds United, earning a transfer to Liverpool in the process. Also managed a good career in the top flight with West Brom, and is now playing with Derby County, as well as earning four senior caps - playing a forgettable role in England’s now infamous 3-2 defeat to Croatia back in 2007.

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