England striker Theo Walcott (C) warms up with midfielders Joe Cole (L) and David Bentley (R) stretch during before preparations for the March 26 international friendly match against France at London Colney, North London, on March 24, 2008. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

Forgotten Men: 11 English Players You May Have Forgot Went to a FIFA World Cup With the Three Lions

Here we are in 2018, and with the 'golden generation' now officially retired, we have a new breed of English young superstars such as Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane.

But despite the new, fresh faces, there are plenty of English players that you may have forgotten represented their nation on the grandest stage once upon a time.

Ashley Young was a forgotten man in the England set-up, but after a four year absence, the Manchester United man got himself back into the squad in his new left-back position; but who else could do the same in the future?

Here are 11 active players who you may have forgotten represented England at the World Cup finals:

11. Glen Johnson (South Africa 2010, Brazil 2014)

There was a time when Glen Johnson was ranked as one of the best right-backs around, believe it or not.

But his England career was not as good as it perhaps should have been. From being dismantled by Lukas Podolski at the 2010 World Cup, to being part of the disastrous England side in Brazil four years later, it's fair to say Johnson had a torrid time during both of the Three Lions' previous World Cup finals appearances.

Johnson has still not officially hung up his boots for England, and would probably accept a call-up if it came.

However, considering he played just 10 times for Stoke City last season, it seems a long way off; especially considering the fact he could be set to play Championship football next season.

10. Ross Barkley (Brazil 2014)

Four years ago in Brazil, Ross Barkley was one of England's very few positives. The then Everton man was only 20 years old, and had been lighting up the Premier League prior to the finals.

Now, at 24, Barkley is all but forgotten by the national team, and the Premier League.

Barkley's disappearance from the national setup is partly his own fault, as his move to Chelsea all but killed his international career for the time being. The Liverpudlian still has years ahead of him, but if he has any chance of getting back into the England side, he may need to move leave Stamford Bridge this summer.

9. Michael Dawson (South Africa 2010)

Michael Dawson was not initially called up to the England squad for the 2010 World Cup, but an injury to Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand forced Fabio Capello to call in his backup.

The then Spurs man did not feature at the World Cup, but did go on to make four appearances for the Three Lions after the tournament. 

Dawson recently signed for Championship side Nottingham Forest, and at the age of 34, he may never wear the Three Lions' jersey again.

8. Theo Walcott (Germany 2006)

This still remains arguably the most bizarre call-up in English football history, as Theo Walcott, age just 16 and with only 13 senior football appearances to his name, was called up to the England squad for the 2006 World Cup finals.

What made this all the more peculiar, was the fact that he was picked ahead of Darren Bent - who was the highest scoring Englishman in the Premier League that year - and also ahead of established players such as Andrew Johnson and Jermain Defoe.

Soon after Sven Goran Eriksson's departure, Steve McClaren put Walcott into the Under-21 side, claiming he needed 'toughening up'. Surprisingly, he would never be picked for a World Cup squad again.

Now, at 29, 12 years on from his World Cup call-up, Walcott may never go to another World Cup, as he will be 33 come kick-off in Qatar in four years time.

7. Joe Cole (Japan/South Korea 2002, Germany 2006, South Africa 2010)

Most of us probably thought Joe Cole had retired by now, but no...he is currently residing in Florida, playing for the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the third division of the Eastern American league.

The former Chelsea man represented his country at the 2002 World Cup as a promising 20-year old, and also followed the team to Germany four years later, where he scored one of England's all-time great goals; a spectacular volley against Sweden.

Plus, he also went to South Africa under Fabio Capello, but featured just twice, both as a substitute.

Not many players represent their country at three FIFA World Cups, but Joe Cole was just that good.

The former West Ham man has not represented the national team since 2010.

6. Wes Brown (Japan & South Korea 2002)

Another player who you'll be surprised to know is still around is Wes Brown. The Manchester United legend currently plays for Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League, and is managed by his former England team-mate David James.

Brown represented England at the 2002 World Cup, spending most of that time on the bench, and would go on to make 23 appearances, scoring one goal during his England career.

Brown was a very good player, but he played in an era where John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Ledley King and Sol Campbell were all present, making it hard for this Mancunian to make himself a regular.

5. Peter Crouch (Germany 2006 & South Africa 2010)

Say what you will about Peter Crouch, but not many Englishmen can boast of a better goals-to-game ratio than his. He scored an impressive 22 goals in 42 games for England.

The Stoke man, as he has throughout his career, was an incredible aerial threat for the Three Lions. He scored his only World Cup goal against Trinidad & Tobago during the 2006 World Cup.

The giant forward was called up to the squad in 2010, but featured just twice, both as a substitute. He last represented England in 2010.

4. Jermain Defoe (South Africa 2010)

Jermain Defoe was always a player who had natural goal-scoring ability, but was often overlooked by national team managers.

The Spurs legend represented England in South Africa eight years ago, scoring against Slovenia in their third match.

And the Bournemouth man almost got his way back into the squad, impressing against Lithuania, when he scored and captained the side in 2017.

3. Leighton Baines (Brazil 2014)

At the time of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Leighton Baines was one of the best left backs on the European continent, and the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea were desperate for his signature.

Now, four years on, Baines is probably sixth in line for the left-back spot, with players such as Danny Rose ahead of him in the pecking order now.

Baines, now 33, is still a regular for his boyhood club, but an England return seems way off, considering former 'forgotten man' Ashley Young has now got a call-up in that position.

2. Stewart Downing (Germany 2006)

Stewart Downing was called up to the England squad on a regular basis from 2006 to 2012, but was primarily used as a backup to the likes of Joe Cole, Theo Walcott or Ashley Young.

He made 35 appearances for England and failed to score a single goal,and Downing played just once at the 2006 finals - a substitute appearances against Trinidad and Tobago.

Downing has still not officially hung up his England boots, but as he heads into a second season in the Championship with his hometown team Middlesbrough, it's fair to say we wont see him in an England shirt again.

1. Aaron Lennon (Germany 2006 & South Africa 2010)

Aaron Lennon hasn't had the most illustrious England career, and represented his nation 21 times (mainly as a substitute) and failed to score single goal.

Lennon made three substitute appearances at the 2006 finals, and was infamously substituted back off the pitch prior to England's penalty shootout against Portugal for Jamie Carragher.

Fabio Capello also drafted him into the squad for South Africa 2010, where he would be a regular in the team, starting two games, and being substituted on in the other two.

Now, at 31, Lennon is struggling to make his way into the Burnley starting XI, and hasn't represented his country since 2013.