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Five Years On From England U20s World Cup Win

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Five Years On From England U20s World Cup Win

Five years ago England's Under 20s were the first England team to reach a final of a world cup tournament in 51 years, and then they went on to win it too, but where are those players now?

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England won the World Cup in 1966, you may have heard about it once or twice (per England game on television), but it hardly kicked off a period of dominance for the Three Lions.

There was semi final at the World Cup in 1990 but little else to write home about, when it came to the global stage, as no team managed to reach a final.

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However, at the Under 20 World Cup in 2017, Paul Simpson's team finally bucked the trend, with another final coming later in the same year.

Simpson's side beat Venezuela 1-0 in the final, in South Korea, creating a lot of expectation for his group of players. However, half a decade on, only Fikayo Tomori is in Gareth Southgate's current squad, so where are those players now?

Freddie Woodman - The goalkeeper made two vital saves in the final but, despite four appearances in the Premier League this season, he's never been able to make the breakthrough at Newcastle United, but remains at St James' Park.

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Loan spells at Aberdeen, Swansea City and Bournemouth have had differing success but at 25-years-old hasn't had as much first team experience as he'd have liked.

Freddie Woodman holds the World Cup trophy. Image: Alamy
Freddie Woodman holds the World Cup trophy. Image: Alamy

Jonjoe Kenny - The right back played 19 times for Everton the season after winning the World Cup, but a loan to Schalke in the 2019/20 season was his most successful.

Had 15 Premier League appearances for the Toffees in the most recent campaign but left the club at the end of the season once his contract expired.

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Fikayo Tomori - The centre back impressed during loan spells with Hull City and Derby County in the Championship, before a breakthrough season with Chelsea in 2019/20.

Tomori has had huge success in the past 18 months. Image: Alamy
Tomori has had huge success in the past 18 months. Image: Alamy

However in January 2021 he was seen as surplus to requirements and loaned out to AC Milan, before making the move permanent.

It could barely have worked out better for Tomori, who was integral as Milan ended 11 years without the Serie A title back in May. Now in the England squad and a major contender for Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad this winter.

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Jake Clarke-Salter - More loan spells than appearances for Chelsea, the Blues may have had an incredible centre back partnership on their hands but it never happened.

Clarke-Salter is out of contract in west London this summer, following his latest temporary spell away from the club at Coventry in the most recent campaign.

Kyle Walker-Peters - The full back is definitely one of the biggest success stories of the 2017 team, despite never being able to make it at Tottenham Hotspur.

A loan move to Southampton turned into a permanent signing, and it's been a very impressive one. Made it into Gareth Southgate's squad earlier this year and could still make it back.

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Walker-Peters played against Ivory Coast earlier this year. Image: Alamy
Walker-Peters played against Ivory Coast earlier this year. Image: Alamy

Lewis Cook - The World Cup winning captain was an extremely important part of the success in Korea and already had some Premier League football under his belt at the tournament.

So impressive was he for Bournemouth early in his career that he'd earned a senior call up later that year and made his debut in 2018.

Making it into the standby squad for that year's World Cup is as far as he's gone since but will be back in the top tier with Bournemouth next season.

Cook made one senior appearance for England against Italy. Image: Alamy
Cook made one senior appearance for England against Italy. Image: Alamy

Josh Onomah - Onomah was another with experience in England's top division, with Spurs, but didn't really make the grade in north London.

Moved to Fulham in 2019 and has joined the club in their yoyoing between Premier League and Championship, getting regular game time, and will be back with them again in the top flight come August.

Kieran Dowell - Dowell was at Everton but didn't really make a splash with the Toffees, instead ending up on loan with several Championship clubs.

Finally made a permanent move in July 2020 to Norwich and in typical fashion has already been through one promotion and one relegation season with the Canaries.

Dominic Solanke - Ahead of the tournament, Solanke had already agreed to swap Chelsea for Liverpool, and four goals in the tournament suggested the Reds had made a great signing.

Solanke has been brilliant for Bournemouth in the last two seasons. Image: Alamy
Solanke has been brilliant for Bournemouth in the last two seasons. Image: Alamy

Never lived up to expectations at Anfield and struggled when he first moved to Bournemouth, however the past two seasons have seen him turn things around, with 44 Championship goals, and he'll be back in the big time next season.

Ademola Lookman - Lookman had already made a move to Everton that January, and scored on his debut against Manchester City.

He lasted two more years at Goodison Park before making his way to RB Leipzig. Wasn't a huge success in Germany but has since had loan moves to Fulham, where he took one of the worst penalties ever, and Leicester City, last season.

Lookman is guaranteed to never play for England's senior team, having been persuaded to change allegiances to Nigeria and made three appearances for them.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin - Will always have the history of scoring England's first World Cup winning goal in over 50 years, having scored the only goal of the game against Venezuela.

Has since carved out an excellent career for himself, scoring 45 goals in the Premier League and become one of the most important players for Everton. Disaster with injury and form in the previous campaign but was still integral to keeping them up.

Calvert-Lewin has been one of the deputies upfront for Southgate's team to Harry Kane, and has 11 caps for the senior team, scoring four goals. Could still make it to Qatar in the winter.

Later that year the under 17s, a team which included Marc Guehi, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Phil Foden, equalled the achievement of their fellow age group side, beating Spain in the final.

Now we're just waiting for the senior team to do it once more, will Tomori win a second World Cup?!

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: England, Football World Cup, Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Ryan Sidle
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