Yorkshire is the largest county in the England but somewhat remarkably, there is only one team in the Premier League from ‘Gods own County’.
This just shows how a lack of investment in the North has often held back some of the old giants of English football but what it’s equally done, is driven players from deprived areas in the North of England to push their boundaries and to prove they can make a name for themselves at the pinnacle of world football, the Fifa World Cup.
Regardless of Premier League primadonnas and big-money moves, there is a real sense of grit and determination behind this current crop of England stars and it’s a true testament to the county of Yorkshire as to the reason why they are successful.
Sure, the county of Yorkshire may be poorly represented in England’s top-flight division but in our national side, it’s got an excellent representation and so has the North of England.
Yorkshire has held home to Danny Rose, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Jamie Vardy, Kyle Walker, Fabian Delph and arguably Gary Cahill who was born in North Derbyshire town Dronfield, a 5-minute train drive from Sheffield.
Additionally, the North-West of Lancashire and Greater Manchester has had a huge impact on this England side.
Greater Manchester and Lancashire have given us Jesse Lingard, Danny Welbeck, Kieran Trippier, Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones and Trent Alexander Arnold
Sunderland has offered us Jordan Pickford – who spent time with Yorkshire club Bradford City and Lancashire Side Preston North End as well as Jordan Henderson, who spent his time with his boyhood club before moving to Liverpool.
This is an England team built on true Northern grit, true passion and from players working their way up through the Football League and becoming stronger and more resilient by going through that process, rather than being plucked from Premier League academies after several loan-spells in the Championship.
The likes of Sheffield United, Bradford City, Leeds United, Hull City and Barnsley have been key in the development of our national team’s players with Maguire, Rose, Pickford, Stones, Walker, Delph, and Cahill all featuring in the lower leagues for these clubs.
It’s also fair to admit that Dele Alli made his name at MK Dons before earning a big money move to Tottenham, Harry Kane worked hard in the lower leagues before becoming the main man at Spurs but it’s unquestionable that the gritty academies and teams of the North, the culture of working hard and reaping rewards and often players growing up in the North and fighting to get to the top has made given them a mental steel that will prove to be advantageous as the tournament progresses and as proved last night.
This is an England Team built on a solid foundation of a strong Northern heritage and a group of players regardless of their birthplace who have shown commitment and desire and most importantly passion.
This is an England Team not built by the Premier League elite and the big money names in the game but one which has come from our Football League and even non-league sides pushing players to their limit to reach and achieve the goals tey want to succeed.
This is an England Team we can be proud of and we can support as they attempt to go all the way and prove to us that Football really is coming home.