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One year on: Where are England's Under-17 World Cup winners now?

 • by Adam Newson
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It was a year ago today that England were crowned world champions at any age group for the first time since 1966.

The dynamic and exciting Under-17s overcame Spain in a captivating final. The Young Lions had fallen two goals behind in the opening half hour but, in the heat of India, hit back in incredible fashion.

Manchester City’s Phil Foden scored twice. Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster netted his eighth of the tournament. Wolverhampton Wanderers Morgan Gibbs-White was on the scoresheet, as was Chelsea’s Marc Guéhi.

The final score: England 5-2 Spain. The Three Lions were world champions.

Football moves on very quickly, however. And for any young player the game is all about development and progression.

So twelves months on from their success in India, we have looked at how the squad who travelled to the competition have fared at club level. Some have done better than others. But many are still waiting for their opportunity to shine.

Goalkeepers

Curtis Anderson

The Manchester City goalkeeper was crucial in England’s success, scoring and saving a penalty in the 5-3 penalty victory over Japan in the Round of 16.

Now 18 years old, Anderson hasn’t featured in the City first-team but that isn’t a huge surprise given the quality in front of him.

He has trained regularly with Pep Guardiola’s squad, though, while featuring for the club in the UEFA Youth League and for the Under-23s.

Josef Bursik

The young goalkeeper joined Stoke City from AFC Wimbledon in the summer of 2017 and was taken to the World Cup as second-choice to Anderson.

The Potters relegation from the Premier League hasn’t seen Bursik given a first-team opportunity but with England senior stopper Jack Butland between the sticks at the Britannia that is understandable.

The 18-year-old is getting regular first-team football at senior level, though. He joined Northern Premier League side Hednesford Town on a six-month loan deal in August and has established himself as the club’s No.1.

William Crellin

The Fleetwood Town goalkeeper had a watching brief in India and it’s been much the same at club level.

However, Crellin has been around the Fishermen’s first-team for over a year now and was the back-up stopper for the club’s four League One games this term.

Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton were all interested in signing Crellin after his involvement in the World Cup squad but he opted to sign a new contract with Fleetwood last December which keeps him at Highbury until 2020.

Defenders

Timothy Eyoma

The versatile Tottenham Hotspur defender, who was born in Hackney, played every game bar the final during last year’s World Cup success.

Mauricio Pochettino has been known to place his faith in Spurs’ homegrown stars but Eyoma is still waiting his chance to impress the Argentine.

He has featured for Tottenham in the UEFA Youth League this term and is a regular in the Under-23s. He signed a new long-term contract with the club in August.

Lewis Gibson

Everton paid a reported £6million to sign the left-back from Newcastle United in the summer of 2017 yet he only placed once – the 4-0 win over Iraq in the group stage – during the Young Lions’ World Cup win.

The Toffees, clearly, hold Gibson in high regard. He featured regularly for the Under-23s last term but this season has been disrupted by injury.

He returned to action earlier this week against Arsenal but ended up being stretchered off just 38 minutes.

Marc Guéhi

The young centre-back joined Chelsea as an under-8 and has constantly played above his age group. He represented the Blues’ Under-18s at 15 years old and this season has featured regularly for the Under-23s.

An imposing presence in both boxes, Guéhi scored England’s fourth goal in the final. He also netted nine times in 30 games for Chelsea’s youth side last term.

It’s hard for any young player to break into the Blues’ first team so it won’t be a surprise to learn the Ivory Coast-born defender hasn’t been involved in Maurizio Sarri’s squad.

Jonathan Panzo

The versatile defender featured in all but one of England’s games at the 2017 World Cup at left-back.

Schooled at Chelsea he was a regular for the Blues youth team last season, helping them to a fifth-straight FA Youth Cup title. However, this summer he left Stamford Bridge to join Ligue 1 side Monaco.

“Monaco is a big club for developing players from a young age and exposing them at a young age,” he explained. “Hopefully they can give me the opportunity to develop and be exposed to the world as well.”

Panzo hasn’t yet been involved in the Monaco first-team squad but has featured for the club in the UEFA Youth League this term.

Jonathan Panzo

Joel Latibeaudiere

The Manchester City defender joined Bobby Moore by becoming only the second England captain to lift a World Cup.

Latibeaudiere hasn’t featured in Pep Guardiola’s first-team but was part of the squad which competed in the 2017 International Champions Cup in the U.S.

He also featured regularly for City’s youth sides last term and has this season played in the EFL Trophy and for the Under-23s. According to reports, he is in a contract standoff with City. His current deal expires in 2020.

Steven Sessegnon

The twin brother of Fulham star Ryan, Steven featured throughout the knockout stages in the Under-17 World Cup.

The defender, who can play at right-back or at centre-back, is also on the Cottagers’ books and has made four appearances for the first-team in the League Cup.

He has been an unused substitute in the Premier League this term and is highly-rated by Fulham boss Slaviša Jokanović.  “He’s a young man and he’s a good project. He needs to be strong, keep working hard and be ready for his chance.”

Midfielders

Phil Foden 

The standout performer of the Under-17 side, Foden received the Golden Ball award as the World Cup’s best player.

The Manchester City midfielder is regarded as one of the brightest prospects in world football and has been praised on several occasions by Guardiola.

While breaking into the star-studded City midfield isn’t easy, Foden has featured 17 times for the Premier League champions and has made regular substitute appearances in the English top flight this term.

He has been tipped for a senior England call-up and his manager believes the 18-year-old is more than capable of performing for the Three Lions.

“Phil is special, his work ethic is excellent, he will have a lot of minutes this season and after that Gareth has his own decision to make.”

Phil Foden, Manchester City

George McEachran

The midfielder is following in the footsteps of older brother Josh, who was once tipped to be a star, at Chelsea.

McEachran – like his brother, who is now at Brentford – is a left-footed creative midfielder who is comfortable out wide or as a No.10. He started all but one of England’s games at the World Cup.

McEachran has featured regularly for the club’s Under-23s this term but isn’t close to breaking into the first-team squad. His contract expires next summer and Josh has urged his brother to consider leaving Stamford Bridge.

“He’s 18, he is a young one for his age but if he’s not going to break through in the next year or so then I think he does need to look elsewhere,” he said last month.

Tashan Oakley-Boothe

The Tottenham midfielder player only missed the win over Iraq during the tournament last year and impressed with his technique and physical presence.

He has already caught the eye of Pochettino and made his first-team debut last season as a late substitute in the League Cup against Barnsley. Oakley-Boothe was also an unused substitute in the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup during the 2017/18 campaign.

This term, despite impressing in pre-season, first-team opportunities have been harder to come by. He has featured for Spurs in the UEFA Youth League and for the club’s Under-23s.

Angel Gomes

The Manchester United midfielder made history when he became the first player born in the 2000s to make a Premier League appearance. Gomes was brought on for Wayne Rooney on the final day of the 2016/17 campaign aged just 16 years and 263 days old.

His second United appearance came after he became a World Cup winner. Jose Mourinho introducing him in the final minutes of an FA Cup win over Yeovil Town in January.

This term the talented No.10 hasn’t been involved in the first-team squad. He has featured and captained the club in the UEFA Youth League, however.

Callum Hudson-Odoi

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One of England’s brightest stars at the tournament, Hudson-Odoi shone in the final to help clinch victory.

Another player schooled at Chelsea, the winger has aleady broken into the first-team fold at Stamford Bridge which, as touched on above, is no easy feat.

The 17-year-old made his debut last December and has now featured six times for the senior Blues side.

Chelsea want to tie Hudson-Odoi down to a long-term contract – his current deal expires in 2020 – amid interest from Borussia Dortmund. Yet the winger is wary of agreeing terms unless he is given assurances about his first-team opportunities.

Nya Kirby

The midfielder was thought of as one of the most promising players in Tottenham’s academy and had even trained with Spurs’ first-team when just 16 years old.

However, he left Spurs for Palace in February 2017 and is now on the fringes of the first-team at Selhurst Park.

Kirby played in six of England’s seven games at the World Cup and was an unused substitute for Palace in February when they took on Spurs.

Emile Smith Rowe

The midfielder wasn’t a regular for the Young Lions, playing in only three of the seven matches in India.

However, at club level he has made huge progress. After impressing at this summer’s International Champions Cup with Arsenal, new Gunners boss Unai Emery has incorporated Smith Rowe in his first-team squad.

He made his debut in the Europa League win over Vorskla, followed that up by starting a League Cup victory against Brentford and then scored his first Arsenal goal when they faced Qarabag.

Smith Rowe has yet to feature in the Premier League but he was an unused substitute against Leicester City earlier this month.

Morgan Gibbs-White

The Wolves midfielder scored the vital equaliser for the Three Lions in the final and has racked up more first-team appearances than any other member of the World Cup winning squad.

Gibbs-White has featured 29 times for Wolves in all competitions after making his debut for the club in January 2017.

He was part of the squad that clinched promotion to the Premier League last term and has featured four times in the English top flight and also made two starts in the League Cup under Nuno Espirito Santo.

Conor Gallagher

The midfielder made four appearances at the World Cup and was brought on late in the final to help the Young Lions to victory.

He has been with Chelsea since the age of eight and helped the Under-18s clinch the FA Youth Cup last season. Gallagher, who is contracted to the Blues until the summer, has featured for the club this term in the UEFA Youth League and EFL Trophy.

He is still awaiting the opportunity to feature for the first-team.

Jadon Sancho*

The winger had already moved to Borussia Dortmund from Manchester City prior to the Under-17 World Cup and BVB only allowed him to play in the group stage (hence the asterisk).

Sancho made his mark, though, scoring three times and assisting a further two goals in his three appearances.

While the 18-year-old’s reputation wasn’t enhanced by the World Cup win in the same fashion as many of his teammteas, Sancho has managed to establish himself as one of the most exciting young players in world football.

He has hugely impressed for Dortmund and this term has three goals and eight assists in just 12 appearances. He made his England senior bow earlier this month and is valued at over £50million by the Bundesliga club.

Strikers

Rhian Brewster 

The Liverpool youngster, who was formerly in Chelsea’s academy, claimed the Golden Boot after bagging eight goals to help England to success.

After the World Cup the 18-year-old continued to score regularly for the Reds Under-18s and Under-23s and was brought up to the first-team by Jürgen Klopp for the Premier League clash with Leicester City in April.

Brewster was an unused substitute on that occasion but was expected to make inroads into the first-team picture during the 2018/19 campaign after signing his first professional contract in June.

However, he suffered an ankle injury at the start of September and is set to be ruled out until Christmas.

Danny Loader 

The Reading striker featured just twice at the World Cup, but did net a brace in the group stage victory over Iraq.

He made his Royals debut last season prior to the tournament in India, coming on as a substitute during a League Cup win over Millwall.

This term the 18-year-old has been on the fringes of the first-team squad and was an unused substitute for Reading’s defeat to Queens Park Rangers at the start of October.

He has been prolific for the club’s Under-23s in Premier League 2, however, scoring six goals in eight games.

 

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