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What happened to the England squad that lifted the U20 World Cup in 2017?

Ryan Smart

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What happened to the England squad that lifted the U20 World Cup in 2017?

The U20 World Cup-winning England squad of 2017 was dubbed as a 'golden generation' by many - but where is each member of the squad now?

The young Three Lions side defeated Venezuela 1-0 in the final in South Korea, with Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin scoring the only goal of the game on 38 minutes.

In a 32-team competition, Paul Simpson's side beat Costa Rica, Mexico and Italy on their way to the final, having won two and drawn one of their three group games to finish in top spot.

It was a big year for England's age group sides, with the Three Lions lifting the U17 World Cup. You can see how that squad is getting on here.

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But what happened to the U20 squad? Let's take a look.

Freddie Woodman (Goalkeeper)

Credit: Getty
Credit: Getty
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The winner of the Golden Glove award in South Korea, Freddie Woodman was on the books of Newcastle during the tournament.

After a series of loan spells at Aberdeen, Swansea City and Bournemouth, he left the Magpies to join Championship side Preston North End as their number one shot-stopper in 2022.

Now one of the top goalkeepers in the second tier, Woodman will be hoping to play Premier League football with the Lilywhites next season.

Dean Henderson (Goalkeeper)

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Dean Henderson was a member of Manchester United's academy setup during the tournament.

Successful loans at Shrewsbury Town and Sheffield United (twice) would follow, before he spent last season at Nottingham Forest, playing 18 Premier League games before injury ruled him out for the season.

Henderson left United on a permanent basis in the summer, joining Crystal Palace. He is yet to make a Premier League appearance for his new club.

Luke Southwood (Goalkeeper)

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The third-choice goalkeeper for the tournament, Luke Southwood was on the books at Reading at the time, where he remained until the summer.

Having spent last season on loan at League One side Cheltenham, where he played all 46 league matches, he signed for the club as a free agent in July.

The 25-year-old is now a regular in the Northern Ireland setup, making his international debut in a friendly last year.

Jonjoe Kenny (Defender)

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Jonjoe Kenny was one of few players to have had Premier League experience at the time of the U20 World Cup, having played two games for Everton.

But the right-back found game time hard to come by in the following seasons, despite playing 19 times in the 2017/18 campaign, and joined Bundesliga side Schalke on loan in 2019.

A subsequent temporary spell at Celtic followed, before he joined Hertha Berlin on a permanent deal in 2022. Hertha were relegated to Bundesliga 2 in Kenny's first season.

Callum Connolly (Defender)

A versatile defender/defensive midfielder who played at right-back during the tournament, Callum Connolly was another player on Everton's books at the time of the World Cup.

After making a sole Premier League appearance, Connolly had loan spells at Wigan (twice), Ipswich, Bolton, Lincoln and Fleetwood.

He is currently playing for League One side Blackpool, having signed for them as a free agent in 2021.

Kyle Walker-Peters (Defender)

A Tottenham academy graduate, Kyle Walker-Peters completed a £12 million move to fellow Premier League side Southampton in 2020.

His form for the Saints earned him an England call-up in 2022, and he made two appearances in friendlies against Switzerland and the Ivory Coast.

Walker-Peters is still a key player at right-back or left-back for Southampton, who are currently in the Championship after relegation from the top flight last season.

Ezri Konsa (Defender)

Credit: Getty
Credit: Getty

Ezri Konsa was on the books of Charlton at the time of the U20 World Cup, having come through their academy system.

After being named as their Young Player of the Year in 2018, he signed a long-term contract with Brentford.

But the centre-back would only have one season with the Bees before joining Aston Villa.

The 26-year-old has established himself as one of the most consistent and reliable defenders in the Premier League and, although he didn't receive his first cap, Konsa was called up to the England squad for the recent Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia.

Dael Fry (Defender)

Dael Fry has spent his entire career with boyhood club Middlesbrough, racking up over 200 appearances in all competitions.

The 26-year-old went on to represent England at under-21 level, but has never made an appearance for the senior club. He is yet to make his Premier League debut either, having failed to break into the side during the club's most recent season in the top flight in 2016/17.

Jake Clarke-Salter (Defender)

Once tipped for big things, Jake Clarke-Salter was a member of Chelsea's infamous loan 'club' of the mid to late 2010s.

After the U20 World Cup, the tall centre-back had loan spells at Vitesse, Sunderland, Birmingham and Coventry.

His time at Stamford Bridge finally came to an end in the summer of 2022, when he joined Championship side QPR as a free agent. He has made seven league appearances this season.

Fikayo Tomori (Defender)

Credit: Getty
Credit: Getty

One of the most successful - and the youngest - of the England squad members at the U20 World Cup, Fikayo Tomori partnered Clarke-Salter at centre-back in the final against Venezuela.

The Chelsea academy graduate would later break through at Stamford Bridge after a loan spell at Championship side Derby, but fell out of favour under Frank Lampard and was loaned out to AC Milan.

He subsequently joined the Italian giants permanently, and was a key player in the Milan side that won the Scudetto for the first time in 11 years in 2022.

Josh Onomah (Midfielder)

Big things were expected from Josh Onomah after he broke through at Tottenham during the 2015/16 season.

After the World Cup, he was loaned out to Aston Villa, making 33 appearances as the Villans reached the Championship play-off final.

After another season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday, Onomah joined Fulham.

He made 77 appearances in three seasons for the club, helping them to promotion to the Premier League, before his contract was terminated last January and he moved to Championship side Preston North End on a short-term deal. The 26-year-old is currently a free agent.

Ovie Ejaria (Midfielder)

A Liverpool academy graduate, Ovie Ejaria was one of several players to be handed their senior Reds debuts by Jurgen Klopp in 2016.

Following loan spells at Sunderland, Rangers and Reading, he joined the latter permanently in the summer of 2020.

Ejaria is still with the Royals after their relegation to League One, but hasn't played a game this season amid uncertainty over his future.

Kieran Dowell (Midfielder)

Shortly after the U20 World Cup, Kieran Dowell was loaned out by Everton to Championship side Nottingham Forest, where he scored nine goals in 38 appearances.

Temporary spells at Sheffield United, Derby and Wigan then followed, before he moved permanently to Norwich in the summer of 2020.

He joined Rangers on a free transfer in the summer, but has been restricted to three league appearances due to injury.

Lewis Cook (Midfielder)

Credit: Getty
Credit: Getty

England's captain during the tournament in 2017, Lewis Cook was rated as one of the country's most promising central midfielders at the time.

After leaving boyhood club Leeds for Bournemouth in 2015, his career had stalled slightly prior to the World Cup after a string of injuries.

Cook played two seasons in the Championship after the Cherries' relegation, but is now back in the Premier League and has started every game he has been available for under Andoni Iraola this term.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Midfielder)

Deployed as a midfielder during the U20 World Cup, Maitland-Niles' versatility has made him an effective asset in both full-back positions, in attacking midfield and on the wing for various clubs.

After the World Cup ended, Maitland-Niles went on to play at least 15 Premier League games in each of the next three seasons for Arsenal, but was loaned out to West Brom in 2020.

Subsequent spells at Roma and Southampton followed, before his contract expired at Arsenal last summer and he joined Ligue 1 side Lyon on a free transfer. The 26-year-old has made five appearances this season.

Sheyi Ojo (Midfielder)

Former Liverpool wonderkid Sheyi Ojo has certainly had an unusual career path since winning the U20 World Cup.

Having had loan spells at French side Reims, Rangers, Millwall, Cardiff and Fulham, he signed for Cardiff permanently in 2022.

But after a relatively disappointing season that saw him score once in 36 appearances, he joined Belgian top division side Kortrijk on loan at the beginning of this campaign.

Ojo netted his first goal for the club during their 1-1 draw at RWD Molenbeek earlier this month.

Ademola Lookman (Forward)

Credit: Getty
Credit: Getty

The second Charlton academy graduate on this list, diminutive winger Ademola Lookman was tipped as a hot prospect before the U20 World Cup. He scored twice in the quarter-final win over Mexico.

Things took a while to work out for him in that regard, despite a big-money move to Everton in 2016.

He had loan spells at RB Leipzig, Fulham and Leicester which yielded some success, before he signed for Serie A giants Atalanta in the summer of 2022.

He netted 13 goals and eight assists last season for Gian Piero Gasperini's side, and already has five goal contributions to his name in 12 appearances this term.

At international level, Lookman switched allegiance and now represents Nigeria.

Harry Chapman (Forward)

Harry Chapman had come through the Middlesbrough academy prior to getting selected for the U20 World Cup, but did not make a league appearance for the club before completing a permanent move to Blackburn in 2018.

His spell at Ewood Park was also largely unsuccessful, as the midfielder failed to make over five league appearances in any of his four seasons at the club.

Chapman currently plays for League Two side Bradford City, but missed six months of action early this year after suffering a serious hamstring injury. Now back in the Bantams squad, he played in the league for the first time this season this month.

Adam Armstrong (Forward)

A pacy and clinical centre forward, Adam Armstrong scored in England's group stage win over Argentina but did not play in the final.

At club level, the Newcastle graduate had relatively unsuccessful loan spells at Barnsley and Bolton, scoring seven goals in 18 months, before joining Blackburn on a temporary basis in 2018.

Rovers shelled out a seven-figure fee to fend off competition from other Championship clubs to sign him permanently later that year, and he smashed in 28 goals in 40 games in 2021 to earn a move to Southampton.

Armstrong currently still plays for the Saints, and has scored nine goals in 16 games in the Championship this term.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Forward)

A Sheffield United academy graduate, Dominic Calvert-Lewin took time to make his mark in English football - and some think it started with the winning goal in the final in South Korea.

The striker scored two goals in South Korea and, having signed for Everton a year earlier, began to see his game time staggered upwards at Goodison Park.

Back-to-back seasonal goal tallies of 13 and 16 followed in 2019/20 and 2020/21, and although injuries have wrecked his past two seasons, Calvert-Lewin is one of the top strikers in the division when fit and has three goals in nine games for Sean Dyche's side this term.

Dominic Solanke (Forward)

Credit: Getty
Credit: Getty

Dominic Solanke was still officially a Chelsea player when the U20 World Cup ended, but had agreed to join Liverpool on a free transfer from July 1 during the tournament.

He showed his new club exactly what they were getting, netting four goals in the competition and earning the Golden Ball as the tournament's best player.

He joined Bournemouth for £19 million in 2019 after failing to make his mark at Anfield, and despite a slow start to life on the south coast, has smashed in 56 goals in the Premier League and Championship since 2020 and is now on the cusp of an England call-up.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: England, Football, Football World Cup, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Fikayo Tomori, Ainsley Maitland Niles

Ryan Smart
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