England’s ‘golden generation’.
Three words that instantly evoke feelings of optimism, quality and, ultimately, disappointment.
Only England could have Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes in their prime and conspire to play them all out of position in a rigid 4-4-2.
As fans we were constantly riding a roller-coaster of hope followed by crushing anti-climaxes.
But what was is actually like for the players involved?
Gerrard, Lampard and Rio Ferdinand- three members of the so-called ‘golden generation’- had a brutally honest chat about life at England during those years while on BT Sport.
The most interesting line to come out of the conversation was the club divide within the group.
Ferdinand explained: “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.”
But the conversation finished on a positive note.
Ferdinand, Gerrard and Lampard pointed towards the new generation of England players, such as the Under-17s, who’ve come through winning trophies together at youth level.
That’s it then. World Cup 2026 glory confirmed.