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Where are they now? England's 'golden generation' that lifted the U17 World Cup in 2017

Jack Kenmare

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Where are they now? England's 'golden generation' that lifted the U17 World Cup in 2017

They were branded the 'new golden generation' by some media outlets after coming back from a two-goal deficit to lift the U17 World Cup.

On October 28, 2017, inside the 85,000-capacity Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan stadium in India, goals from Rhian Brewster, Morgan Gibbs-White, Marc Guehi and Phil Foden [2] sealed a memorable 5-2 win against tournament favourites Spain.

Foden, who was coming through the ranks at Manchester City when he bagged a brace, scooped the Golden Ball – a prize that recognises the tournament's best player – while then-Liverpool youngster Rhian Brewster travelled back to England clutching a Golden Boot award after scoring eight goals.

It was a breakthrough for many stars who have since gone on to become Premier League regulars. Jadon Sancho picks up first-team football at Manchester United, while Conor Gallagher continues to impress at Chelsea. But what about the others?

From goalkeeper Curtis Anderson, who currently plays for Northern Premier League club Lancaster City after loan spells at Walton Casuals and Eastbourne Borough, to Nya Kirby and George McEachran, who were both released from Premier League sides in the summer.

Here's how the squad have fared since lifting the U17 World Cup.

Angel Gomes lifts the U17 World Cup in India. Image credit: Alamy
Angel Gomes lifts the U17 World Cup in India. Image credit: Alamy

Goalkeepers

Curtis Anderson

Like a number of other players in the squad, Anderson was contracted to Manchester City when he lifted the U17 World Cup. For the next two years, he played for City's youth and academy sides before joining second-tier USL side Charlotte Independence in March 2019.

He made 10 appearances for the North Carolina-based outfit but after just five months in America, both the player and club mutually agreed to terminate his contract. He joined Championship side Wycombe Wanderers but failed to make a senior appearance after loan spells at Walton Casuals and Eastbourne Borough.

Anderson currently plays for seventh tier Lancaster City after being released by Wycombe.

Billy Crellin

Crellin was coming through the ranks at Fleetwood Town during the U17 World Cup campaign. He would make five senior appearances for The Cods, where he would also gain valuable experience in the National League with FC United of Manchester and Chorley before a spell at League One Bolton Wanderers.

The 22-year-old was snapped up by Premier League side Everton in the January transfer window but has yet to make his first-team bow for the Toffees.

Josef Bursik

The Lambeth-born shot stopper was contracted to Stoke City when England beat Spain on that day in October 2017 – and he still is still a Stoke City player, five years on.

Since making his senior bow against Huddersfield in 2020, Bursik has made a total of 47 appearances for the Potters. He also enjoyed loan spells at Hednesford Town, AFC Telford, Accrington Stanley, Doncaster Rovers, Peterborough and Lincoln City between 2018 and 2021.

At the time of writing, the 22-year-old has made 13 appearances for Championship side Stoke this season.

Josef Bursik is now a first-team regular at Stoke City. Image credit: Alamy
Josef Bursik is now a first-team regular at Stoke City. Image credit: Alamy

Defenders

Steven Sessegnon

Sessegnon, who signed his first professional contract at Fulham shortly after the U17 World Cup in India, played five games for the Three Lions that summer and things looked promising for the pacey full-back.

He has, however, struggled to pick up regular first team football at the Premier League side, but has enjoyed loan spells at Bristol City and Plymouth in recent campaigns.

The 22-year-old defender was shipped out on loan to League One side Charlton this summer. He has made nine appearances for the Addicks this season.

Joel Latibeaudiere

Another player who was contracted to Manchester City during the competition, Latibeaudiere played the full 90 minutes as England lifted the trophy.

In terms of his club career, City loaned the defender to Dutch outfit FC Twente for the 2019/20 campaign, where he made five appearances.

The young defender went on to join Championship side Swansea City in 2020 and has become a first-team regular at the Welsh club. At the time of writing, Latibeaudiere has made 11 appearances for Russell Martin's side this season.

Lewis Gibson

After coming through the academy system at Newcastle, centre-back Lewis Gibson was attached to Everton when he was part of the England squad that beat Spain.

He is still contracted to the Toffees, who have sent him out on loan to numerous Football League clubs since 2020, including Fleetwood Town, Reading and Sheffield Wednesday.

He joined League One side Bristol Rovers on a season-long loan in August and has played eight games for the club so far this season.

Lewis Gibson celebrates England winning the U17 World Cup. Image credit: Alamy
Lewis Gibson celebrates England winning the U17 World Cup. Image credit: Alamy

Marc Guehi

Guehi has, without doubt, been one of the biggest success stories since winning the U17 World Cup.

The 22-year-old, who was contracted to Chelsea when he lifted the trophy, signed a five-year deal with Crystal Palace in 2021 and since, the pacey full-back has gone on to become a first team regular at Selhurst Park.

Following an impressive 2021/22 campaign, he earned his first call-up to the England senior team in March ahead of friendly matches against Ivory Coast and Switzerland. Guehi has earned three caps in total.

Timothy 'TJ' Eyoma

The Hackney-born defender spent the majority of his youth career at Tottenham Hotspur and made his first-team debut in a FA Cup clash against Tranmere in 2019.

He was loaned out to Lincoln City at the start of the 2020/21 campaign, making 39 appearances throughout that season, and made his move to the League One club permanent in August last year for an undisclosed fee.

Eyoma has made 17 appearances in all competitions this season.

Jonathan Panzo

Another player on the books of Chelsea when the Three Lions strolled to victory in India, the youngster left the Blues to join French side AS Monaco in 2018, where he would made his first team debut against Lorient in the Coupe de la Ligue.

Spells at Cercle Brugge and Dijon would follow in the coming years before soon-to-be Premier League outfit Nottingham Forest came knocking in January.

Forest earned promotion after a stellar Championship campaign, although Ponzo made just one appearance under Steve Cooper. He was loaned out to Championship side Coventry for the 2022/23 campaign.

Jonathan Panzo celebrates winning the U17 World Cup after beating Spain in the final. Image credit: Alamy
Jonathan Panzo celebrates winning the U17 World Cup after beating Spain in the final. Image credit: Alamy

Midfielders

George McEachran

Chelsea youth product McEachran spent 13 years at the Blues before being released in the summer of 2022.

He picked up first team football at Dutch sides Cambuur and MMV in 2020, but failed to make a single senior appearance at Stamford Bridge before being let go.

In total, he made 17 appearances for England U17's before earning a further seven caps at U19 level. He is currently looking for a new club.

Angel Gomes

Gomes was tipped for big things at Manchester United when England lifted the trophy in 2017 but after making a handful of appearances under Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he decided to leave Old Trafford for more first team opportunities.

After a successful loan spell at Portuguese outfit Boavista during the 2020/21 campaign, Gomes is now a regular at Ligue 1 side Lille.

He has made 11 appearances so far this season.

Phil Foden

Foden has gone on to become one of the Premier League's finest talents since picking up the Golden Ball award that summer.

There isn't much to say here, really. We all know what the Manchester City playmaker has gone on to achieve for the reigning Premier League champions under one of his biggest fans, Pep Guardiola.

'The Stockport Iniesta' has already earned 18 caps for England's senior side and will no doubt feature in this winter's World Cup in Qatar.

Rhian Brewster, Joel Latibeaudiere and Phil Foden pose for a photo as the Under-17 World Cup winning side arrive back to the UK. Image credit: Alamy
Rhian Brewster, Joel Latibeaudiere and Phil Foden pose for a photo as the Under-17 World Cup winning side arrive back to the UK. Image credit: Alamy

Nya Kirby

The 22-year-old, who most recently played for Crystal Palace, is currently a free agent after being released from the Premier League club in June.

During that spell at Selhurst Park, he spent time in the lower leagues with Blackpool and Tranmere Rovers, but ultimately failed to make a senior appearance at parent club Palace.

He was a second-half substitute for England in their 5-2 win against Spain in the U17 World Cup final. He also scored the decisive penalty in their round of 16 clash against Japan.

Morgan Gibbs-White

Gibbs-White was contracted to boyhood club Wolves when he helped England to World Cup glory.

Unlike many others, the talented midfielder had already earned first-team football before that tournament. At the age of 16, Gibbs-White made his first team debut for Wolves in their 2017 FA Cup third round win against Stoke City.

He went on to make 68 appearances for the club before joining newly-promoted Nottingham Forest this summer for a reported £42.5m. He penned a five-year deal with Steve Cooper's side.

Conor Gallagher

Another player who was on the books of Chelsea when the tournament came around in 2017, Gallagher shone on the international stage at youth level and he carried on that form in the coming years.

Loan spells at Charlton, Swansea and West Brom played a major role in his overall development, while last season's success at Crystal Palace was a joy to watch.

After a slow start to life under Thomas Tuchel this season, it appears Gallagher could become a key player under new Chelsea manager Graham Potter. He has clearly responded well to his methods.

Rhian Brewster and Conor Gallagher celebrate winning the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Image credit: Alamy
Rhian Brewster and Conor Gallagher celebrate winning the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Image credit: Alamy

Emile Smith Rowe

The only Arsenal youth product to feature in this list, Smith Rowe did not feature for England in the final against Spain but he did go on to become one of the biggest success stories.

Following loan spells at RB Leipzig and Huddersfield Town, the tricky playmaker enjoyed a breakthrough year at Arsenal during the 2020/21 campaign after Mikel Arteta handed him the iconic number 10 shirt.

He is now regarded as one of the most promising players in the Premier League, but will miss the World Cup in Qatar through injury.

Tashan Oakley-Boothe

Oakley-Boothe was a Tottenham youth player when he starred in the final against Spain.

In 2017, things looked promising for the youngster when he was called up to Spurs' senior team by Mauricio Pochettino for their 2017 pre-season tour. He went on to make his first senior appearance against PSG in the International Champions Cup, and even featured in an EFL Cup win against Barnsley months later.

But the midfielder failed to break into the first team set-up and, after rejecting a new contract offer from the Premier League side, Oakley-Boothe joined Stoke City in 2020. He is currently on loan at League One side Lincoln City.

Forwards

Rhian Brewster

Just days after netting a hat-trick in the quarter-finals, Rhian Brewster bagged a remarkable semi-final hat-trick against Brazil to send the internet into meltdown.

After they beat Spain in the final, Brewster walked away with the Golden Boot after scoring eight goals and naturally, many expected the youngster to go on and become a regular at club side Liverpool, but it never quite materialised.

He currently plays for Championship side Sheffield United, who paid a reported fee of around £23.5 million for the striker in 2020.

Callum Hudson-Odoi

Currently on the books of Chelsea, a club he has played for since the age of seven, Hudson-Odoi recently joined Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen on a season-long loan after a lack of first-team minutes at Stamford Bridge.

He has, however, enjoyed a fruitful spell at the Blues. Since making his first team debut in 2018, the pacey winger has made 72 Premier League appearances.

The 21-year-old also became the youngest player to debut in a competitive match for England at 18 years 135 days.

Callum Hudson-Odoi poses with his brother and the World Cup at Heathrow airport. Image credit: Alamy
Callum Hudson-Odoi poses with his brother and the World Cup at Heathrow airport. Image credit: Alamy

Jadon Sancho

Sancho was a standout performer in the early stages of this tournament, although he was withdrawn from the competition by Borussia Dortmund because prior to the World Cup kicking off, an agreement was reached where Sancho would be available for the group stages, but his participation was not guaranteed if England progressed to the knockout rounds.

He went on make over 100 appearances for the Bundesliga outfit before completing a £73m move to Manchester United.

The 22-year-old is expected to play a part in this winter's World Cup, despite a relatively slow start to the Premier League campaign under Erik ten Hag.

Danny Loader

He may not have featured in the final against Spain but Reading academy graduate Danny Loader scored two goals for England as they made history in India.

In the coming months, Loader continued to impress for the Royals and in 2020, Portuguese giants FC Porto signed the highly-rated forward on a two-year deal.

After scoring a handful of goals for the club's B team, Loader has played seven times for the first team this season, including a cameo appearance in their 3-0 win against Bayer Leverkusen in this season's Champions League.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: England, Football World Cup, Spain, Phil Foden, Conor Gallagher, Emile Smith-Rowe

Jack Kenmare
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