Who is on the rise?

  • July 15, 2021

The first wave of young, ambitious and highly paid international footballers were to come to England in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and that has been the story of the country’s most successful generation.

As the sport has evolved in the last 20 years, so has the way that its stars are celebrated and celebrated well.

In this series, BBC Sport takes a look at the people and teams who have been at the forefront of the game.


Paul Gascoigne: Manchester United and Chelsea have two of the biggest squads in English football, and both have two World Cup winners in them.

Both clubs are owned by the billionaire owners, who have made a name for themselves with big-name signings such as Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Both are in the middle of one of the most successful periods of their history.

Chelsea’s last major trophy was in 2007, and the club’s owner Roman Abramovich spent the summer signing Paul Gasas as his successor.

It was a big gamble but, unlike many of his counterparts at the time, Abramovich is now enjoying success at the top of English football.

He has already made several acquisitions in recent years, including a £40m move for Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen from Ajax in 2015.


Joe Cole: The striker is one of England’s most exciting players, with a penchant for creating chances, and also for making things happen.

He scored a brace in England’s 2-1 win over Switzerland in a World Cup qualifier in February.

Cole is also one of a growing number of players who are making money in a sport that has often been criticised for being too reliant on commercial deals and sponsorship.

He is the richest player in the Premier League, with an estimated net worth of £150m, but he has not always been the wealthiest of the English players.

Cole signed for Liverpool for £5m in 2002, before a knee injury saw him sidelined for the next four years.

After winning two Premier League titles with the club in 2005 and 2008, Cole went on to win two more in 2012 and 2014.

Cole has been linked with a move to Manchester City, but Chelsea’s Antonio Conte has said that the 26-year-old has a “different attitude” and is more likely to stay at Stamford Bridge.


David Beckham: The England international has scored more than any other player in Premier League history, but has also become one of football’s biggest stars.

He signed for Manchester United for £27m from Real Madrid in 2003, but was sidelined for seven months with a knee problem that was not diagnosed until after his return to the national team.

Beckham is now the highest-earning English player, with net worth estimated at £300m.

He became the most valuable player in football when he joined Chelsea in 2014, signing a five-year contract worth £86m.

The England captain is currently out of contract at the end of this season, and it is not yet clear whether he will be able to stay with the team long-term.


David Villa: Villa is one the greatest goal scorers of all time, having scored more goals in the top flight than any player who has ever played for England.

The Villa era was the best ever for the club, with the Portuguese having won more Premier League title than any English player.

Villa has also won the Champions League with Manchester City twice, and he was one of their greatest players when he arrived at Stamford Hill.

He was part of the Champions Trophy winning team in 2010, when Chelsea beat Bayern Munich 2-0 in the final.

He joined Manchester United in 2013, signing for £31m, and has scored an astonishing 15 Premier League goals in two seasons.


Ryan Giggs: The Manchester United legend is the greatest player in English history.

He spent nine years at the club before signing a contract extension in the summer of 2014.

He remains the team’s leading goalscorer with 31 goals in 38 appearances.

Giggs has also scored a staggering 18 goals in 30 appearances for the Premier Premier League champions.

The 33-year old is one reason why United are the best-ever side in England.

He also scored in the 2011 final against Bayern Munich, and is the only player in world football to have scored four goals in a single Champions League final.


Wayne Rooney: The former Manchester United captain was born in Wales and moved to England at the age of 14, but the England captain has been one of his country’s biggest influences.

He played for the team at the 1998 World Cup, before returning to England for a spell at Old Trafford.

The 27-year age difference has meant that he has had a more difficult time in the English game.

Rooney has played in the Champions Cup four times, as well as the FA Cup and Europa League.

He started his career at Everton before being signed by United, before moving to United for around £80m in 2012.


Ryan Bertrand: The 20-year –