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What happened to England's 'golden generation' that lifted the U17 World Cup in 2017?

Jack Kenmare

Published 
| Last updated 

What happened to England's 'golden generation' that lifted the U17 World Cup in 2017?

The young England stars of 2017 were branded as the 'golden generation' after winning the U17 World Cup - but where are they now?

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 a brace from Phil Foden 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.

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It was a breakthrough for many stars who have since gone on to become Premier League regulars. Jadon Sancho, until recently, was a first team regular 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 Bootle after a spell at Lancaster City, to Nya Kirby and George McEachran, who were both released from Premier League sides last summer, here's how the squad have fared since lifting the U17 World Cup.

Curtis Anderson (Goalkeeper)

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Credit: Getty
Credit: Getty

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.

After being released by Wycombe, Anderson joined Lancaster City, and now plays for Northern Premier League side Bootle.

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Billy Crellin (Goalkeeper)

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 pyramid with FC United of Manchester and Chorley before a spell at League One Bolton Wanderers.

The 22-year-old joined Premier League side Everton in January 2022 and is yet to make his senior first team debut. However, he has made several appearances for the club's U23 side in the EFL Trophy.

Josef Bursik (Goalkeeper)

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The Lambeth-born shot stopper was contracted to Stoke City when England beat Spain on that day in October 2017 – and would go on to spend the next six years at the club.

Since making his senior bow against Huddersfield in 2020, Bursik went on to make a total of 50 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.

After 16 appearances for Stoke last season, he sealed a move to Belgian giants Club Brugge in January. However, injury has prevented him from making his first team debut.

Steven Sessegnon (Defender)

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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.

After making 33 appearances on loan at League One side Charlton last term, Sessegnon joined Wigan as a free agent in the summer and has made eight appearances thus far.

Joel Latibeaudiere (Defender)

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 became a first-team regular at the Welsh club.

He moved to fellow second tier club Coventry City in the summer as a free agent, and has played in every game this season.

Lewis Gibson (Defender)

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.

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 last term, and played 31 league games for the club.

In the summer, he moved up to the Championship, joining Plymouth on a free transfer.

Marc Guehi (Defender)

Credit: Getty
Credit: Getty

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

The 23-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 2022 ahead of friendly matches against Ivory Coast and Switzerland.

Guehi has earned nine caps for the Three Lions, playing 90 minutes in each of their recent Euro 2024 qualifying clashes against Malta and North Macedonia.

Timothy 'TJ' Eyoma (Defender)

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 2021 for an undisclosed fee.

Jonathan Panzo (Defender)

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 2022.

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, where he made 31 appearances, and is currently on another loan spell at fellow second tier side Cardiff.

George McEachran (Midfielder)

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.

McEachran signed for League Two side Swindon last season, and has three assists in 16 appearances so far this term.

Angel Gomes (Midfielder)

Credit: Getty
Credit: Getty

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 in search of 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.

The 23-year-old scored two goals and provided six assists in 36 Ligue 1 appearances last season, although is still awaiting his senior England debut.

Phil Foden (Midfielder)

Credit: Getty
Credit: Getty

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 also featured heavily for England, and was part of the squad that reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar last year.

Nya Kirby (Midfielder)

The 23-year-old, who formerly played for Crystal Palace, spent the entirety of last season as a free agent after being released from the Premier League club.

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.

Kirby signed for National League side Oxford City in August, and has scored two goals in 13 appearances for the club so far.

Morgan Gibbs-White (Midfielder)

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 last year for a reported £42.5m.

He penned a five-year deal with Steve Cooper's side, and played a key role in helping Forest to secure Premier League survival last season.

Conor Gallagher (Midfielder)

Credit: Getty
Credit: Getty

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 his success at Crystal Palace was a joy to watch.

After a slow start to life under Thomas Tuchel last season, Gallagher improved as the season went on despite his side's overall struggles under three different managers.

This season, he has become a key player under new Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino, and captained the side during their 2-0 win over Fulham last month.

Emile Smith Rowe (Midfielder)

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 still regarded as one of the most promising English players in the Premier League, but has seen his development stall slightly over the past two seasons due to injury and a lack of game time.

Tashan Oakley-Boothe (Midfielder)

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 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.

After a loan spell at Lincoln last season, he signed for fellow League One side Blackpool as a free agent in the summer.

Rhian Brewster (Forward)

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 Sheffield United, who paid a reported fee of around £23.5 million for the striker in 2020. The 23-year-old has recently returned from a serious hamstring injury that caused him to miss almost a year of action.

Callum Hudson-Odoi (Forward)

Hudson-Odoi is another player on this list on the books at Nottingham Forest, having signed from Chelsea in the summer.

The 23-year-old had played for Chelsea since the age of seven, making over 70 Premier League appearances, and spent last season on loan at Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen after a lack of first-team minutes at Stamford Bridge.

Hudson-Odoi also became the youngest player to debut in a competitive match for England at 18 years 135 days.

Jadon Sancho (Forward)

Credit: Getty
Credit: Getty

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 has made 82 appearances for United since his arrival, but is currently not in first team contention due to a dispute with manager Erik ten Hag.

Danny Loader (Forward)

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 Porto signed the highly-rated forward on a two-year deal.

After scoring a handful of goals for the club's B team, Loader made 34 appearances and scored seven goals for the first team in all competitions last season, and had a cameo appearance in their 3-0 win against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: England, Phil Foden, Marc Guehi, Jadon Sancho, Conor Gallagher, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Angel Gomes, Emile Smith-Rowe, Arsenal

Jack Kenmare
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