England are currently competing in the youth tournament in Turkey and have started their campaign with back-to-back draws against Iraq and Chile.
After a desperately disappointing European Under-21 Championship, it is hoped the younger class will hint at a brighter future for a national side used to frustration on the biggest stages.
And Collymore, who joins Eurosport’s commentary team for the finals, says the Under-20 World Cup could produce internationals of the future.
“As a nation we tend to only look at the senior World Cup or perhaps the odd eye on the Under-21s should we have a good crop,” Collymore says. “But this is the first opportunity whereby bright, talented youngsters, playing in a national system, get the opportunity to play in a bona fide World Cup against teams from across the globe.
“We always look at the Premier League and the players off the peg that we bring in, and I want to have a look at how some of our brightest youngsters – Conor Coady at Liverpool, someone like Ross Barkley who has gone through horrific injury problems and is now coming back into form – play against players like Jese at Real Madrid, Denis Suarez and Oliver of Spain, Yaya Sanogo [of France] who Arsenal and Spurs are allegedly interested in.
“I want to see these players now – I want to see how they play in the system their national team plays in. I want to see how they cope with different systems and playing teams like Iraq, who many people won’t know about. Will they flourish without Argentina or Brazil in the tournament?
“For me it is a great opportunity to see players in the pressure-cooker environment of a proper, global tournament and see how they handle that. It’s only going to be the blink of an eye before the European Championship in 2016 in France where I would hope one or two of this England squad might be in with a chance of playing.”
England’s failings on the international stage have long been a source of regret at junior and senior levels, and Collymore says that coaching must focus on individual technique if the country is to join the ranks of international contenders once again.
“It is allowing players to express themselves,” he adds. “As a kid I was very fortunate that I wasn’t blind-sided that my heroes were all English based. I loved the team I support, Aston Villa, and there were some very good technically gifted players there. But my heroes were people like Falcao, Eder, Michel Platini, Marco van Basten. So I wanted to copy them.
“I know people like Kenny Swain and Noel Blake who have worked with the Under-17s with a great deal of success, and the most important thing, they say, is to have a general structure that goes from a very early age group right through to the senior team, getting players used to having plenty of touches on the ball, having small games and letting them express themselves.
“I have seen a million footballers at academies get to 15 or 16 and – it’s not a cliche – they have stuff coached out of them. I’ve looked at this Spain team and people like Gerard Deulofeu who has been at La Masia since nine years of age and they are teaching them skills using small-sided games, with plenty of touches from eight or nine.
“There is still a knee-jerk reaction in English football that if you are not confident enough then stick it in the channel or hit it long etc. For me, particularly with the Under-17s but the graduation over the next couple of years to the Under-20s, getting on the ball and not being afraid to express themselves is the major British trait that has stopped our progress to be quite frank.”
The Football Association has taken steps to address England’s problems with the creation of the National Football Centre at Burton and the appointment of Dan Ashworth as director of elite development.
But Collymore says England’s shortcomings are deeply ingrained on the native culture.
“It’s a whole culture change, and something that will happen,” he says. “The fact that so many foreign players are playing in the Premier League now won’t fail to have an impact on talented English or British-based players.
“But when we have coaching sessions and we start our kids off early, we really have to desist from athleticism: 'roll your sleeves up', 'up and at them' are ninth or 10th on the list. Expressing yourself has to be top, and that has been a very difficult thing for a nation that prides itself on hard work and we frown a bit upon showboating or cockiness.
“I don’t think [youth football in England] is in a great state. There are two people in particular who have had a big say in trying to get the ball rolling. Gareth Southgate, who was my team-mate at Aston Villa and Crystal Palace, and he left his post (as head of elite development) because he felt he was banging his head against a brick wall most of the time.
“Stuart Pearce, who was my captain at Nottingham Forest, was an exceptional player - but perhaps as a coach didn’t have the personality to be able to identify in players the cockiness and ability that he showed sometimes as a hallmark of his playing career.
“So what we desperately need to do now is get as many people at the Burton centre who have flair in their coaching and exceptional communication skills and that were very good technical players themselves, who can actually show some of these kids what to do, rather than just tell them.
“I don’t see at Burton, even now, enough coaches with enough personality to be able to translate that philosophy through to England’s bright young stars.”