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Future Lions: Profiling England’s Under-17 World Cup Heroes

 • by Matt Gault
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For the second time this year, England have won a World Cup. Following on from the triumphant Under-20 side in the summer, another crop of future stars proved they are better than the rest with a glorious comeback to beat Spain 5-2 in Saturday’s final in Kolkata.

After a shaky start which saw Spain surge into a 2-0 lead thanks to a Sergio Gomez double, England responded emphatically, scoring five goals without response to clinch the title.

Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster, who finished as the tournament’s top scorer, netted before half-time. Morgan Gibbs-White added an equaliser before Golden Ball winner Phil Foden struck twice, while Marc Guehi of Chelsea also found the back of the net in an exceptionally impressive performance by Steve Cooper’s Three Lions.

With several of these players attached to some of the Premier League’s biggest clubs, the chances are we will see them in the top-flight before long, so Football Whispers is running the rule over the victorious team that lined up in the final.

Curtis Anderson (Manchester City)

England’s No. 1, who was the hero during the last-16 shootout victory over Japan in which he saved and scored a penalty, only turned 17 in September. He is currently at Manchester City, having been snapped up from the Blackpool academy, and is said to be highly rated by Pep Guardiola.

Steven Sessegnon (Fulham)

The twin brother of Ryan Sessegnon, who has already emerged as a Liverpool transfer target, the 17-year-old has impressed and is one of the more versatile members of the squad, operating comfortably in either defence or midfield.

Fulham manager Slaviša Jokanović recently hailed his exploits in India and called him the future of the London club after making his full debut in the Carabao Cup in August.

Joel Latibeaudiere (Manchester City)

The captain has been solid at the back after missing the Euro U17s through injury. The centre-half signed a professional contract at the Etihad Stadium in the summer and has been likened to club captain Vincent Kompany. It’s a lofty comparison, for sure, but he’s proven he’s on the track to success after leading the young Lions to the ultimate honour.

Marc Guehi (Chelsea)

The Ivory Coast-born defender has shown that he is comfortable at either centre-half or right-back and got himself on the scoresheet in the final by grabbing England’s fourth to effectively kill Spain’s hopes.

He was part of Chelsea’s FA Youth Cup-winning side last season and is tipped for big things at Stamford Bridge, having represented their U18 side when he was just 15.

Jonathan Panzo (Chelsea)

Another future star for the Blues, Panzo has just turned 17 and has been with the Premier League champions since he was eight. A mobile and physically imposing defender, Panzo has also captained England at U16 level.

George McEachran (Chelsea)

The younger brother of former Chelsea academy product Josh McEachran, George has established himself as one of the more creative players in the England set-up, and was the midfield fulcrum in the Blues’ FA Youth Cup success.

While his older brother, who is now at Brentford, never quite made the grade at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea have high hopes for McEachran and his classy displays in India will reinforce his growing status.

Tashan Oakley-Boothe (Tottenham Hotspur)

The midfielder has been knocking on the door of Mauricio Pochettino’s first-team and, on the basis of his performances here, it won’t be long before he is rubbing shoulders with the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli.

A central midfielder, the 17-year-old is hoping to build on his eye-catching displays during Spurs’ pre-season tour of the USA and follow Harry Winks into the senior squad.

Phil Foden (Manchester City)

Guardiola warned us. The City manager said that Foden was something special and, on the biggest stage, he has duly delivered, being handed the Golden Ball after a sensational individual tournament.

The Stockport-born star was part of City’s pre-season tour and has followed up on his promise, bagging a brace and earning the Man of the Match award in the final.

Guardiola has Foden training with the senior team every day and has tipped him for a big future at the Etihad Stadium. The Catalan coach will be keen to hold on to Folden after losing Jadon Sancho to Borussia Dortmund in the summer.

Morgan Gibbs-White (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

An intelligent midfielder, Gibbs-White has already made 12 appearances for Wolves and may be an increasingly influential figure for the Championship side as they push for automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Gibbs-White’s contributions in India were hard to ignore, scoring against the USA in the quarter-final before netting the crucial equaliser which sparked the comeback against Spain in the final.

Although he may not be attached to a Premier League club, make no mistake: he is set for big things.

Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea)

The attacking midfielder, still only 16, is making excellent progress and attracted interest from several clubs in Europe, starting rumours that he may follow in Sancho’s footsteps and take on continental football, before signing a three-year contract at Stamford Bridge.

Hudson-Odoi is comfortable playing as a number ten or on either flank and has a massive future ahead of him.

Rhian Brewster (Liverpool)

Currently being fast-tracked to the first-team at Anfield, Brewster stole the headlines earlier in the tournament with back-to-back hat-tricks against the USA and Brazil in the quarter and semi-finals. Also scored in the final to finish with eight goals and the Golden Boot.

Brewster joined Liverpool from Chelsea when he was 15 and is on the cusp of breaking through into Jürgen Klopp‘s first-team, having already made the bench for the Premier League clash against Crystal Palace in April.

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