Football Features

What happened next? Uefa’s Euros U21 Team of the Tournament 2017

By Squawka News

Published: 17:45, 20 November 2020

The 2017 European Under-21 Championship, held in Poland, was the 21st edition of the competition since its inauguration in 1978.

Germany, who narrowly defeated heavy favourites Spain in the final courtesy of a 40th-minute Mitchell Weiser header, are the most represented nation in this edition’s Team of the Tournament with six names.

Spain, who fell short of lifting a fifth title, come second with three players — including the player of the tournament — while Italy, beaten in the semi-finals, and Slovakia have one man each.

Uefa announced their 2017 Team of the Tournament shortly after the competition concluded — but what happened next to those included? We’ve taken a look below.

Goalkeeper: Julian Pollersbeck (Germany)

Age: 26
Club: Lyon

Pollersbeck ended a three-year association with FC Kaiserslautern after relocating to then Bundesliga outfit Hamburg, who agreed a reported £3m fee for his services in 2017.

The talented shot-stopper registered 14 clean sheets in 31 league matches the following season but relegation to the second tier has seen his chances of progressing to senior international football seriously hindered.

He’s since joined Ligue 1 outfit Lyon and is currently deputising for first-choice ‘keeper Anthony Lopes.

Right-Back: Jeremy Toljan (Germany)

Age: 26
Club: Sassuolo (on loan from Borussia Dortmund)

Jeremy Toljan impressed so much for Germany’s U-21s and Hoffenheim that Borussia Dortmund paid €5m for his services back in 2017. 

The talented full-back has had limited success with Dortmund, however, getting most of his minutes on the pitch out on loan at Celtic and, now, Italian side Sassuolo.

Centre Back: Milan Skriniar (Slovakia)

Age: 25
Club: Inter Milan

Nominally a central defender, though capable of playing at left-back, Skriniar featured 38 times for Sampdoria, with all but three of those appearances coming in 2016/17.

Since joining Inter Milan in the summer of 2017 the Slovakian has appeared 118 times across all competitions, becoming a real stalwart and one of the most reliable defenders in Europe.

To date, Skriniar has been capped 35 times for Slovakia at senior level.

Centre Back: Niklas Stark (Germany)

Age: 25
Club: Hertha BSC

Since joining from second division FC Nurnberg, whose academy he came through, in 2015, the 24-year-old has become a mainstay in Hertha’s defence with him featuring across 111 matches in all competitions to date.

Though a centre-back, he’s been fielded as a defensive midfielder as well as being deployed at left-back, which has made him a valuable asset to Die Alte Dame.

Stark earned his first senior cap for Germany in 2019.

Left-Back: Yannick Gerhardt (Germany)

Age: 26
Club: VfL Wolfsburg

The former Cologne full-back has been almost ever-present for Wolfsburg since joining them in 2016 for a reported £11m, and has appeared in 86 league games for the club.

He has just one senior cap for Germany to his name so far, but that hasn’t lessened his importance to Die Wölfe, who have often had to battle to stay in the Bundesliga.

Defensive Midfielder: Maximilian Arnold (Germany)

Age: 26
Club: VfL Wolfsburg

Since being promoted from Wolfsburg’s youth set-up Arnold has gone on to play 251 times for the Wolves, registering 26 goals predominantly from central midfield.

Like Gerhardt, he has just one senior international cap to his name but remains hugely important to Wolfsburg.

Centre Midfielder: Dani Ceballos (Spain)

Arsenal’s Dani Ceballos celebrates scoring his side’s fourth goal of the game during the UEFA Europa League Group F match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

Age: 24
Club: Arsenal (on loan from Real Madrid)

Ceballos, a graduate of Real Betis’ academy, played an instrumental role in Spain reaching the final and was duly named Player of the Tournament, albeit starting the campaign on the bench.

An elegant midfielder — whom Real Madrid signed in 2017 — that loves to dribble, Ceballos has unfortunately struggled to make his mark at the Bernabeu.

This season, the Spaniard has been on loan at Arsenal and although not consistent, Ceballos has shown his true talent in a number of individual flashes. The Gunners are much better in possession with him in the side.

To date, Ceballos has 11 senior international caps to his name, scoring once.

Centre Midfielder: Saul Niguez (Spain)

Saul Niguez of Atletico de Madrid during the match Atletico de Madrid v Villarreal CF, of LaLiga 2019/2020 season, date 25. Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. Madrid, Spain, 23 Feb 2020. (Photo by pressinphoto/Sipa USA)

Age: 25
Club: Atlético Madrid

A firm fan favourite of the Atleti faithful, the 25-year-old is quite simply indispensable to Diego Simeone. Whether it’s tough-tackling, smartly intercepting or astutely rotating possession, Saul can do it all and is one of the key cogs in this hard-to-break-down Atleti side.

Since breaking through, he’s registered 41 goals across 301 matches for his boyhood club, with many of those strikes proving to be pivotal, including against Liverpool in the Champions League round-of-16 in February.

Attacking Midfielder: Max Meyer (Germany)

Age: 25
Club: Crystal Palace

Since breaking through in the 2012/13 season, the versatile German midfielder managed 192 appearances for FC Schalke, scoring 22 goals before joining Crystal Palace on a free transfer in 2018.

Big things were expected of Meyer but so far, he’s struggled in London, scoring just two goals in 56 appearances, both of which came in his first season.

He has just four senior caps to his name for Germany, all of which came before this tournament.

Forward: Marco Asensio (Spain)

Age: 24
Club: Real Madrid

A graduate of Mallorca’s academy, Asensio made 56 senior appearances for the club, scoring seven goals and creating a further nine, before joining Real Madrid in the summer of 2015 for £3m.

He was immediately loaned out to Espanyol, given the strength of competition in his position, where he managed just four goals across 37 official matches.

Zinedine Zidane, who took over the helm at Madrid in early 2016, has previously spoken of his admiration for the forward and subsequently integrated him into his first-team squad.

Injuries have often hampered Asensio, but he’s still made 154 appearances for Los Blancos to date, helping them to two Champions League titles and a La Liga crown.

At international level, Asensio has struggled, scoring just once in 25 senior caps for Spain.

Forward: Federico Bernardeschi (Italy)

Age: 26
Club: Juventus

14 goals in 42 games during his final season with Fiorentina (2016/17) and his performance in this tournament prompted Juventus to shell out €40m on Bernadeschi in 2017.

Since then, he’s showcased his immense array of dribbling talent, but has often frustrated, scoring just nine goals in 94 appearances for the Old Lady — none of those goals have come this season.

He remain a regular fixture for the Italian national team, however, scoring five goals in 27 senior caps to date.