Martin Smith column: Will young England stars be world cup winners of the future?

England's Ellen White (left) and Jade Moore (right) celebrate after the final whistle during the UEFA Women's Euro 2017, Group D match.
England's Ellen White (left) and Jade Moore (right) celebrate after the final whistle during the UEFA Women's Euro 2017, Group D match.
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Common sense, it’ll never catch on.

Practical, logical, non-hysterical behaviour at the top of world sport in the heat of the action at one of the most crucial and important moments of the year? Yeah, right.

But that’s what we got in the women’s Euros football tournament game between England and Spain. For those who missed it England defender Ellen White was penalised for handball after she lunged to block a cross and the ball clearly hit her outstretched hand.

‘Penalty’ said referee Carina Vitulano pointing confidently to the spot with just a hint of a Mike Dean I’m-controversial-and-I-love-it pout on her chops. Then she changed her mind.

Imagine the kerfuffle if that had been the men’s game? Key Euros match, 15 minutes left, penalty given for handball.

Oh, hang on a minute, no it isn’t.

Vitulano was right to change her mind. Good on her and good for the game.

So are we experiencing a golden summer for British sport?

England’s women cricketers world champions, Chris Froome’s fourth Tour de France win, England’s U20s men world football champions, U19’s are European champions and the U21s were Euro semi-finalists.

Swimmer Adam Peaty broke records on his way to the breaststroke final of the World swimming championships and team GB has won 39 gold medals at the World Paralympic championships.

Next month sees the Special Olympics GB’s 2017 National Summer Games come to Sheffield where even more records will tumble.

The national football teams’ successes at youth level should cheer us all - especially those at the FA charged with regenerating our game.

When England fail at a major senior tournament we look longingly at the French, German and other nations’ production lines of players that peak with success at the very highest level. This time the England plan appears to be working.

Germany, France and Italy dominated at youth levels before going on to win major senior tournaments.

Which takes us back to hysteria and logic.

Do these youth results mean we can expect success at the world cup in Russia in 2018 or Qatar in 2022?

Or will the young lads’ talent and desire be dulled by the hyper-inflationary, semi-barmy Premier League and it’s addiction to buying-in foreign talent?