England U17s to watch at FIFA U17 World Cup in India
By Jack Wilkinson
Last Updated: 04/10/17 8:59am
As England head to India for the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup, we highlight five stars of the future worth keeping an eye on.
After cruelly losing to Spain on penalties at this summer's European Championships, Steve Cooper's side have dusted themselves down and travelled to the sub-continent where they go in search of glory on a global stage.
Colombia and Ghana get the tournament underway on Friday, two days before England kick their campaign off against Chile in Kolkata, before group games with Mexico and Iraq.
But exactly who should we be looking at to extend what's been a summer of unrivalled success for England's youth teams? Here, we pick out five players to watch...
Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
For all of his promise in youth football, Sancho really caught the public's attention when he traded Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund on Deadline Day.
"Sancho is a huge talent. He's one of the biggest talents of his age group in England," Dortmund sporting director, Michael Zorc said, after handing Sancho his first professional contract. "We don't only talk about developing talents, we give them playing time at a high level."
Zorc's promise of providing playing time at the highest level has yet to come to fruition, with Sancho yet to feature for Dortmund, but that has done little to dampen the hype surrounding 17-year-old.
Five goals at this summer's European Championship, including the winner in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, saw Sancho scoop the tournament's Golden Player award.
You'll have to be quick to see if Sancho can continue his fine form in India, though, with Dortmund only willing to release the youngster for the group stages.
Angel Gomes (Man Utd)
Perhaps the biggest household name in Cooper's ranks, Gomes shot to fame when he became Manchester United's youngest debutant since Duncan Edwards, and the first millennial to play in the Premier League, when he replaced Wayne Rooney in a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on the final day of the 16/17 season.
Since then, first-team opportunities have understandably been few and far between for Gomes, but if his development at youth level is anything to go by, it won't be long until he is a regular at Old Trafford.
"He's always bright, always looking for his team-mates and always looking at the opposition too, trying to find a way to exploit any weaknesses they have got," United U18 manager, Kieran McKenna, said. "He has a fantastic football brain really and a good attitude to go with it."
After injury ruled him out of England's European campaign this summer, a fit and firing Gomes has unfinished business on the international stage, where he could well be the difference for the team.
Rhian Brewster (Liverpool)
Brewster has been on an upward trajectory ever since he left Chelsea at the ripe old age of 14 to join Liverpool's Academy.
Under the watchful eye of Liverpool greats Steven Gerrard and Steve McManaman, the exuberant young forward has steadily made a name for himself for the Merseyside club's U23s, with talk of a potential call-up to the first-team squad even being mooted.
Having been one of the missed a penalty in England's shoot-out defeat to Spain, Brewster, who will no doubt be keen to atone, enters the tournament in hot form having scored twice in England's 3-2 warm-up win over New Zealand.
What's more, with a return of 12 goals from 16 caps for the U17s, only Sancho has a better goals-to-game ratio than Brewster in England's exciting young strike force.
Phil Foden (Man City)
Having been included in Manchester City's pre-season tour of the United States and named among the substitutes on four occasions this season, Pep Guardiola's faith in young Foden is for all to see.
The City boss was bowled over by the Stockport-born 17-year-old's performance as he burst onto the scene in the first-ever Manchester derby to be played abroad.
"I don't have words - I would like to have the right words to describe what I saw," Guardiola said, despite tasting defeat to United in Houston. "It's a long time since I saw something like this."
Given the talent at Guardiola's disposal, Foden has yet to feature for City's first team, but he's been a mainstay in the England U17 set-up, earning a squad-high 16 caps which have returned eight goals, including a stunning second in May's European Championship final.
The World Cup could well provide another platform for Foden to make his mark, and show he is capable of making the No. 10 role at City and England his own in years to come.
Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea)
Immersed in the youth set-up at Chelsea since he was eight years old, Hudson-Odoi has developed in a forward capable of providing both the physical presence and skill needed to unpick defences.
The 17-year-old played a key role in the Blues' treble-winning youth team, scoring vital goals all the way through to the FA Youth Cup final, and was rewarded with a three-year contract in July.
Hudson-Odoi opened the scoring for England in May's European Championship final with Spain, but watched on as his side were denied on penalties following his late substitution.
Having been helpless as glory was snatched from England's grasp, Hudson-Odoi has more reason than most to ensure the same doesn't happen again on the world stage.