Football Features

What happened next? England’s first ever U20 World Cup winning side from 2017

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 14:32, 11 June 2019

England and world champions uttered in the same sentence when relating to football conjure memories of 1966, that was until the summer of 2017.

The last few years have seen the Three Lions become a powerhouse regarding youth football, or to be more precise, being successful in various Uefa-sanctioned competitions.

It wouldn’t be long before they would triumph on the world stage. Paul Simpson, at the helm of England’s U20 side, was cautiously optimistic heading into the World Cup being staged in South Korea.

And for good reason, his charges would not lose a single game heading into the final against Venezuela, whom they’d brush aside 1-0 to end a 51-year wait to win a global tournament trophy.

Those who featured became household names overnight in the process shining the spotlight once again on the relationship between developing homegrown stars and English football’s top division (the Premier League).

That being said, what has been the fate of those 13 players Simpson used in the Suwon final?

GK: Freddie Woodman

Age: 22
Club: Newcastle United
Senior caps: 0

A graduate of Newcastle United’s youth system, whom he joined from boyhood club Crystal Palace, the south Londoner featured in all but one of England’s seven U20 World Cup matches keeping four clean sheets in the process which ultimately earning him the competition’s Golden Glove award.

Yet to establish himself in the Magpies starting XI, having only made one appearance to date, he spent much of the 2017/18 on loan at Scottish Premiership outfit Aberdeen before making three FA Cup appearances for Newcastle last season.

RB: Jonjoe Kenny

Age: 22
Club: Everton
Senior caps: 0

One of a number of Evertonians in England’s championship-winning squad, the Liverpudlian truly broke through at Goodison Park during the 2017/18 campaign but has struggled to supplant Seamus Coleman at right-back ever since, making 38 appearances over the past two seasons.

CB: Fikayo Tomori

Age: 21
Club: Chelsea
Senior caps: 0

A product of Chelsea’s esteemed academy, the native of Calgary – who lifted back-to-back UEFA Youth League titles in 2015 and 2016 – enjoyed a loan spell at Championship side Hull City in the 2017/18 season while he played a key role in Derby County reaching the 2018/19 play-off final under Frank Lampard.

CB: Jake Clarke-Salter

Age: 21
Club: Vitesse (on loan from Chelsea)
Senior caps: 0

Tomori’s club-mate and yet another Chelsea academy graduate who spent the 2017/18 season playing Championship football, though Clarke-Salter’s loan spell at Sunderland was one to forget as he suffered the ignominy of relegation. Last season, he impressed on loan on Vitesse.

LB: Kyle Walker-Peters

Age: 22
Club: Tottenham Hotspur
Senior caps: 0

First team appearances have been few and far between for Kyle Walker-Peters, even in the face of the likes of Kieran Trippier losing form. He did, however, register three assists during a 5–0 home win against Bournemouth, becoming the youngest player, aged 21 years and 257 days, to provide three assists in a Premier League game since Jermaine Pennant (aged 20 years and 227 days).

CM: Lewis Cook

Age: 22
Club: Bournemouth
Senior caps: 1

Lewis Cook has kicked on since his 2017 success, where he became the first England captain to lift a world trophy since Bobby Moore, earning his first senior England cap against Italy in March 2018 as well as being close to making Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup, ultimately named as one of the five players on standby. A mainstay in Bournemouth’s midfield

CM: Josh Onomah

Age: 22
Club: Tottenham Hotspur
Senior caps: 0

Limited opportunities in north London saw Onomah, another product of Spurs reputable academy system, join Aston Villa on a season-long loan where he played over 1,860 minutes of league football including a brief cameo in their Championship play-off final defeat against Fulham. He also spent the 2018/19 season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday.

RM: Kieran Dowell

Age: 21
Club: Everton
Senior caps: 0

Dowell, another born and bred at Everton, initially broke through at Goodison Park during the 2015/16 season under Roberto Martinez – playing 72 minutes across two Premier League matches – but has rarely featured since, instead enjoying loan spells at Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United, with whom he won promotion from the Championship.

CF: Dominic Solanke

Age: 21
Club: Bournemouth
Senior caps: 1

Ever-present during England’s incredible run, missing only 28 minutes of action, the former Chelsea academy graduate registered four goals including a brace in their semi-final win over Italy. His performances earned him a move to Liverpool, where Solanke played a squad role under Jurgen Klopp, leading to Southgate handing over a first senior international cap against Brazil at Wembley Stadium in November 2017. Solanke has since moved to Bournemouth for £19m.

LM: Ademola Lookman

Age: 21
Club: Everton
Senior caps: 0

Tipped for big things as he came through at Charlton Athletic, the Londoner joined Everton in early 2017 and seemed to establish himself under then manager Ronald Koeman. However, limited opportunities following his departure saw him join RB Leipzig on a six-month loan where he shone brightly having registered five goals and four assists across 11 outings for the Bundesliga outfit. Last season, Lookman once again struggled for minutes under Marco Silva and his future remains uncertain.

ST: Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Age: 22
Club: Everton
Senior caps: 0

Lookman’s teammate at Goodison Park has been a mainstay since arriving from Sheffield United in August 2016 and this past season gone is no exception. The Yorkshireman, who scored the winning goal against Venezuela, made 35 Premier League appearances and although he only managed six goals, his work-rate and endeavour was a huge asset to Silva’s side.

Substitutes:

Sheyi Ojo

Age: 21
Club: Stade de Reims (on loan from Liverpool)
Senior caps: 0

It’s rather unlikely that Ojo has a long-term future at Anfield on the count he’s been regularly loaned out since making his first-team debut in 2015. His most recent adventure saw him head to France with Stade de Reims.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Age: 21
Club: Arsenal
Senior caps: 0

One of the very last Arsenal youngsters to be handed their first team debut under Arsene Wenger the Goodmayes-born multifunctional footballer grabbed his opportunity by the scruff of the neck, having made 15 league appearances during the 2017/18 season. Last season, Maitland-Niles filled in as a makeshift full-back for Unai Emery.