U17 World Cup stars
As the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup continues in the United Arab Emirates, Sky Sports picks a team of current Premier League stars who have featured in past tournaments...
By Adam Bate - Follow @GhostGoal
Last Updated: 28/10/13 1:46pm
Premier League XI of former Under-17 World Cup stars
Tim Krul - Newcastle & Holland
The Dutch goalkeeper had impressed at the European Under-17 Championship in May 2005, keeping two clean sheets as Holland finished runners-up at the tournament and thus qualifying for the U17 World Cup later that year. Krul left Den Haag for Newcastle in the intervening period and eagle-eyed Magpies fans would have spotted that their new signing endured a mixed tournament - captaining his team all the way to the semi-finals but conceding nine goals along the way, including four to Mexico in the game that ended his involvement.
Pablo Zabaleta - Man City & Argentina
Back in 2001, Zabaleta was the youngest member of the Argentina squad that travelled to Trinidad and Tobago for that year's U17 World Cup. The group also included Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez as well as future Barcelona player Maxi Lopez so it is perhaps no surprise that Argentina breezed through a group that included Spain. Indeed, Zabaleta was on the scoresheet in a 4-2 win that eliminated Spain from the competition. However, after seeing off Mali in the quarter-finals, a 2-1 defeat to France in the last four brought an end to his hopes of lifting the prize.
Javi Garcia - Man City & Spain
Javi Garcia was a 16-year-old midfielder with Real Madrid when he travelled to Finland for the U17 World Cup in 2003. Garcia started the first match of the campaign - a 3-3 draw with Sierra Leone - but subsequently lost his place in the starting line-up. Cesc Fabregas was the star of the show and was named player of the tournament, signing professional terms with Arsenal the following month. Garcia had to settle for a substitute role and remained on the bench throughout the final - a 1-0 defeat to Brazil.
Mamadou Sakho - Liverpool & France
After captaining France Under-17s to the semi-final of that year's European Championship, Sakho also skippered his country at the 2007 U17 World Cup in South Korea. France were defensively solid in the group stages, qualifying as runners-up behind Nigeria, and saw off Tunisia in the first knockout round after extra time. But a quarter-final shootout defeat to Spain followed, despite Sakho scoring his spot-kick. The defender headed home - and into the Paris St Germain first XI for the first time the following month.
Fabio - Man Utd & Brazil
Twin brother Rafael may have made the greater impact at Old Trafford so far but it was Fabio who captained Brazil at the U17 World Cup in 2007. Things began brilliantly for both the player and his team as he netted in a 7-0 thrashing of New Zealand before adding a brace in a 6-1 win over North Korea. However, defeat to England in the final group game meant a last 16 tie with Ghana and a 1-0 defeat saw Brazil sent packing. Having already signed a pre-contract with United, Fabio and his brother left their homeland for Manchester the following year.
Eden Hazard - Chelsea & Belgium
Given the current excitement surrounding Belgian football and the subsequent successes of their star playmaker you'd think any team that included Hazard would have shone at youth level. However, the U17 World Cup proved a disappointment for Hazard & Co. A 4-2 defeat to Tunisia kicked off the campaign and a 2-0 reverse at the hands of the United States confirmed their last-place finish in a winnable group. Hazard made his professional debut for Lille in November of that same year.
Mikel Arteta - Arsenal & Spain
The Arsenal midfielder has been playing his football in England since 2005, by which time he had already established himself as something of a nomad having played for Paris St Germain, Real Sociedad and Rangers. But as a youngster at the U17 World Cup in 1999, Arteta was still a part of the fabled Barcelona youth system. He started the opening group game against Ghana - lining up against fellow No.4 Michael Essien - but missed the 6-0 thrashing of Thailand. Restored to the team for the crucial final group game against Mexico, Spain duly lost and were eliminated.
David Silva - Man City & Spain
Silva was a part of the aforementioned 2003 Spain side that included Garcia and Fabregas, finishing as runners-up to Brazil. Then at Valencia, Silva's finest moment came in the group game against South Korea. With his team 1-0 down at the break and on the brink of elimination, the midfielder came off the bench to score a second-half hat-trick. That was as good as it got for the Man City man as he missed the quarter-final and semi-final only to return for the disappointing final game as Spain fell at the final hurdle.
Danny Welbeck - Man Utd & England
Welbeck was over a year away from making his Manchester United debut but his performances in South Korea would certainly have impressed Sir Alex Ferguson. Omitted for the disappointing 1-1 draw with North Korea, Welbeck was instrumental in a 5-0 win over New Zealand, scoring twice in the first half. Victory over Brazil saw England top the group and a win over Syria took Welbeck & Co to the quarter-finals. But with Welbeck back on the bench they suffered a 4-1 defeat to Germany.
Fernando Torres - Chelsea & Spain
Torres was among a Spain squad that included Andres Iniesta in 2001 and the team had every right to go into the tournament full of confidence. Indeed, Torres was something of a boy wonder having already made his senior debut for Atletico Madrid and scored his first league goal for the club against Albacete. He netted in the first group game, a win over Oman. But later defeats to Burkina Faso and Argentina saw Spain fail to progress beyond the group stages of the tournament.
Christian Benteke - Aston Villa & Belgium
Benteke was part of the Belgium squad that struggled in 2007 but the powerful forward still succeeded in enhancing his own reputation. Forced to settle for a place on the bench for the opening two games, Benteke came on against Tajikistan to score the injury-time winner that kept Belgium's hopes alive. Given a start for the final group game, he failed to maintain the same impact and Belgium were out. Benteke made his senior debut for Genk later that season.