PETER CROUCH: England's kids are envy of the world

Revisiting the 2010 World Cup is not something I usually like to do, but Callum Hudson-Odoi made me go there this week.
My abiding memory of that tournament is the aftermath of England being smashed 4-1 by Germany
in the last 16. 
We couldn't believe the quality of relatively unknown young players such as Mesut Ozil, Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller and it was obvious their generation was going to be a force.
I remember the FA saying that it was their aim to have a similar generation in the future. 
The work started immediately after we got back from South Africa but, if I'm honest, I was sceptical that we would ever be in a position where Germans were looking enviously at our players.
Here we are nine years on and I'm delighted to see my gut feeling was wrong. I'm even more delighted that we have our own special generation emerging and the story of Chelsea's Hudson-Odoi and Bayern Munich is a case in point.
Some people have been critical that Chelsea seem prepared to sell another young player without giving him a chance, but can't we look at it another way and appreciate what a fantastic opportunity this could be for Hudson-Odoi?
A move of this nature would have been unheard of when I was a similar age. Top European clubs such as Bayern wouldn't have considered looking below our first teams for talent, but I think it is fantastic that the picture has changed so much.
It's not just Hudson-Odoi. We all know what Jadon Sancho has done at Borussia Dortmund since he left Manchester City — he is arguably the most exciting young player in Europe right now — but there are plenty of others from the England teams that won the Under-20 and Under-17 World Cups.
Bournemouth have just paid £19million for Dominic Solanke. I've mentioned Morgan Gibbs-White a lot since Stoke played Wolves in a friendly last July but he impresses me every time I see him, while Phil Foden has scored in consecutive games for Manchester City this week.
I am also hearing a lot about a young winger at Arsenal called Bukayo Saka. Those who have watched him frequently say he is very exciting. He is only 17 but if he progresses as is hoped, his name will be spoken about much more in the future.
The one thing all these young lads have in common is composure. That night in Bloemfontein nine years ago, we were all struck by how calm Ozil was on the ball and the way nothing flustered the Germans. The English players who are emerging now have the same traits.
All being well, they will go on to have similar careers. It doesn't matter whether they choose to go to Germany or stay in England — the Premier League isn't the be all and end all — we must hope that they develop into stars.
Bayern's pursuit of Hudson-Odoi shows these young lads have the ability and it proves the FA's idea to invest in youth back in 2010 was smart. The clubs now have a duty not to fail them.
The past year has been nothing like I have experienced before at Stoke. Nathan Jones has become our fourth manager in 12 months.
Our owners, the Coates family, want stability, and I hope Nathan can bring exciting times, starting on Saturday at Brentford. He is young and positive and his Luton teams scored lots of goals, so hopefully that will see us heading back to where we need to be.
However we cannot ignore the fact that the club felt the need to make another change and end Gary Rowett's time with us on Tuesday. He inherited a difficult situation after our relegation and I thought he did his best to turn the tide. We as players have to take responsibility for what happened to him.
I actually think we are a better team than the one that dropped out of the Premier League. The problem is we are not getting the wins that we need in the Championship and that makes the situation look worse than it is. I can understand, though, why our supporters are so frustrated.
The atmosphere after we lost at home to Bristol City on New Year's Day was awful and it is very difficult for a manager when the crowd turns.
I felt sorry for Gary that he had to experience it and we need to look at ourselves. We need to bring the good times back.
Marko Arnautovic always struck me as a player who could end up at Manchester United, and Old Trafford looked like it would be the perfect stage for him.
Some of you may laugh at that statement but, believe me, Marko has always had special ability. There were doubts about his temperament and maybe that's why one of the top six haven't taken him, but the next best thing for him was a club such as West Ham, on the up in the Premier League. They made him their main man, something he always wanted to be, and he has thrived.
The interest in him from the Chinese Super League, however, does not surprise me. I remember talking to him about it a couple of years ago when their clubs started buying players such as Oscar and Ramires from Chelsea. China was definitely on his radar. 
It would be a shame if he left the Premier League. He's got all the attributes you need to thrive here and I think he's shown during his time at Stoke and West Ham that he can be exciting. Being surrounded by even better players would bring further improvement.
His head, though, will definitely have been turned by the amount of money on offer in China. West Ham are adamant that they will not sell him but it seems pretty clear that he wants to go, given what his brother, Danijel, said on Thursday.
My concern is his age. He's 29 and has so much to give at the highest level. I worry that if he goes to China, we won't hear about him again.
Tottenham sold Paulinho to Guangzhou Evergrande and he returned to play for Barcelona, but you forget Belgium's Yannick Carrasco, 25, is playing in China.
Footballers of their ability — and their age — should be playing in the Champions League. Could I have walked away from the Champions League aged 29? No matter what money was involved, I really don't think I could.
It was a relief to get back on the score sheet last Saturday and I hope there will be a few more to come before the end of the season. The last few days have been spent getting to know Nathan Jones and I'm looking forward to working with him.
After Saturday's game at Brentford, I'm going to enjoy watching the transfer window unfold. I've been involved in it a few times during my career, mainly in the summer. January is even more crazy due to everything being squeezed into four weeks.
I have been a fan of Catfish and The Bottlemen for a long time and their new tune Longshot came out this week. I've had it on plenty of times already and give it my firm recommendation.
I grew up playing tennis. Wimbledon was always the highlight of summer but I never thought I'd see a British champion. Retirement might beckon but his place in history has long been secured. 

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