In the summer of 2021, England reached the final of a major international tournament for the first time since 1966.
Gareth Southgate’s side went one better than their semi-final appearance at the 2018 World Cup, but were ultimately defeated by Italy in a penalty shootout at Wembley.
But while the Three Lions didn’t win Euro 2020, they can be mighty proud of their showing at the tournament and the footballing future for the country looks incredibly bright.
For the first time in decades, England’s playing squad has both world-class quality and an aura of togetherness.
That last point there is crucial, as it’s one of the main reasons why the current crop of players are outdoing the fabled ‘Golden Generation’.
Between 2001 and 2007, England possessed a ridiculous amount of supremely-gifted players in the form of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes and many more.
However, arguably the country’s most talented group of footballers failed to even reach the semi-finals of a major tournament.
And as Gerrard, Lampard and Ferdinand explained way back in 2017, that lack of success on the biggest stages of all was ultimately down to the fact that the players just couldn’t put their club rivalries to one side and get along.
Take a look at the trio’s fascinating discussion on the matter here…
Video: Gerrard, Lampard & Ferdinand explain why the ‘Golden Generation’ failed
A remarkable 10 minutes of TV from 3 of England’s ‘Golden Generation’ and the issues they faced in their time as Lions…fascinating TV… pic.twitter.com/ZYy6VB66A2
— Jake Humphrey (@mrjakehumphrey) November 25, 2017
It really was magnificent television.
Ferdinand summed up the the struggles of the ‘Golden Generation’ when he said: “It was down to the obsession with winning. I didn’t want to see Frank have an edge on me. I didn’t want to speak to him about anything he’d be able to take away to facilitate his team winning.
“When I was with England with Stevie, when we were battling for the Premier League, I didn’t want to sit around him and be around him because I just didn’t want to hear about what Liverpool were doing.”
With the team’s best players possessing an attitude like that towards one another, is it really any surprise that the ‘Golden Generation’ underperformed at every single tournament?
Had the likes of Gerrard, Lampard and Ferdinand been less focused on their respective clubs while on international duty, England’s long wait for a trophy may have ended in the 2000s.
But it didn’t and now the onus is on Southgate and his tight-knit squad to finally deliver the goods at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.