On the eve of England’s four year anniversary since winning the under 17 World Cup, we take a look back at the squad the secured the Three Lions their first World title since Bobby Moore and co. in 1966.
The young Lions, managed by now-Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper, blew past their Group F opponents- winning 4-0, 3-2, and 4-0 past Chile, Mexico, and Iraq, respectively.
By topping their group, Cooper’s side earned themselves Round of 16 tie with Japan, a game which finished goalless at full-time, however the Three Lions dispatched of Japan on penalties, winning 5-3.
USA awaited England in the quarter-final clash, but much like their group matches, the Three Lions breezed past their transatlantic cousins 4-1, before defeating title-tipped Brazil in the semi-final, 3-1.
England locked horns with Spain in the final and after falling two goals behind in the first half, England clawed a goal back before half-time, sparking their second-half rout of the Spaniards, scoring a further four to wrap up a 5-2 win, crowning England as under 17 World Champions.
The final XI
Curtis Anderson; Steve Sessegnon, Joel LAtibeaudiere, Marc Guess, Jonathon Panzo; Tashan Oakley-Boothe, George McEachran, Phil Foden, Morgan Gibbs-White, Callum Hudson-OdoiI; Rhian Brewster
Angel Gomes, Emile Smith Rowe, Conor Gallagher, Timothy Eyoma, Lewis Gibson, Danny Loader, Nya Kirby, Josef Bursik, Will Crellin, Jadon Sancho*
*Player left squad early to join up with Borussia Dortmund for pre-season
Where are they now?
With three goals and two assists in the three group games, Jadon Sancho looked to be one of the Three Lions’ main men at the tournament. The tricky winger, however, withdrew from the camp by the request of parent club Borussia Dortmund, who had just secured the teenager’s signature, having ran out his deal at Manchester City.
Upon his arrival in Germany, a deal worth an estimated £8million, Sancho was gifted the number 7 shirt, despite not having played a professional match, so it was fairly well-thought at the time that Dortmund pulled him away to be a key part of their upcoming campaign- which he proved to be.
In his time with BVB, Sancho racked up a mouth-watering 114 goal contributions in 137 games, cementing him as one of the world’s top talents, earning him a £73million move back to Manchester- instead, this time changing his allegiances to the red side, United.
After Sancho’s early departure, the onus to pick up the creative mantle was placed upon Manchester City’s Phil Foden– a task which he firmly grabbed with two hands.
The ‘Stockport Iniesta,’ as he’s now known, tallied three goals and one assists in 2017- including two crucial goals in the final- helping England to World Cup glory, where he wrapped up the Golden Ball award.
Unlike his fellow City academy counterpart, Sancho, Foden opted to remain with his boyhood club and, despite struggling to break into Pep Guardiola’s side initially, has now played 130 games for the Citizens, winning ten trophies in a three year spell.
As he continues his development, learning from the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, and previously David, Foden’s ascension is only leading him one way- right to the very top.
If he continues his upwards trajectory, Foden will remain a premier name in world football for the next decade, consolidating his name as one of the all-time greats.
Then-Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster finished as top-scorer in the 2017 World Cup, bagging eight goals in seven games, beating names such as Spain’s Ferran Torres and USA’s Timothy Weah– son of former Ballon d’Or winner George Weah.
With two more goals than the next best scorer Lassan N’Diaye (Mali), Brewster was, by far and away, the most lethal striker at the competition, however his 2017 form did not translate as many would’ve expected upon his return to club football.
Often third string to Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi, chances were few and far between for the England talisman, so when a January loan switch to Swansea, to link up with former boss Cooper, became available in 2020, the youngster grasped the chance with two hands, netting 11 times in 22 appearances.
Looking to capitalise on his market value, Liverpool decided to sell up, receiving £23.4million from Sheffield United for the striker’s services.
Brewster has struggled in his first two seasons with the Blades, only scoring once in 38 outings, however will be looking to replicate his 2017 form to help Sheffield United bounce back to the Premier League.