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Four England U17 players who could be the next big thing

After England's impressive 3-1 win over Brazil to reach the U17 World Cup final, Matt Gault looks at four burgeoning stars from the young Lions team.

England Under-17s clinched a spot in the World Cup final with a 3-1 win over Brazil on Wednesday. With Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster scoring a hat-trick, the Young Lions set up a meeting with Spain on Saturday.

Before they face Spain for the title, we look at four players from the squad you will definitely hear a lot about for years to come. 

Rhian Brewster 

Rhian Brewster has been on the radar of Liverpool fans for some time now, having come through their youth system after signing from Chelsea in 2015. In Wednesday’s game, the Liverpool starlet not only scored a hat-trick to down the Selecao, he also bagged a treble against the United States in the quarter-final after smashing home a spectacular free-kick against Mexico. 

It has been impossible to ignore the 17-year-old’s clinical performances throughout this tournament: Brewster has scored seven goals from ten shots. Yet to make a senior appearance for Jurgen Klopp’s Reds, he made the bench for a defeat to Crystal Palace in April and earned praise from the German tactician who described Brewster as a “wonderfully skilled boy.”

The feeling around Anfield is that it’s only a matter of time before he breaks through. His ruthlessness in front of goal in India has only confirmed this. 

Phil Foden

Although Rhian Brewster has been stealing headlines with his goal-scoring exploits, Phil Foden has been a standout too. The Manchester City youngster has captured the attention with a range of incisive passing and close control in midfield, starting the move for the third goal against Brazil by spinning away from a challenge before finding Emile Smith-Rowe on the wing, who crossed for Brewster.

Foden’s progress has not gone unnoticed by City manager Pep Guardiola either. The coach took him to the USA as part of the club’s summer tour and made the bench for the Champions League clash against Celtic last season. 

Guardiola’s assessment of Foden after a pre-season game was particularly glowing: “It’s a long time since I saw something like this,” he said. “His performance was another level. He’s 17-years-old, he’s a City player, he grew up in the academy, he loves the club, he’s a City fan and for us, he’s a gift.”

“He will stay with us training with us in the pre-season and maybe he’ll stay with us in the season because he’s special.”

Callum Hudson-Odoi

Another rapidly-developing star on the books of an elite Premier League club, Callum Hudson-Odoi has made a name for himself at Chelsea and is building the hype with excellent performances for his country.  

He won’t be 17 for another month but showed maturity well beyond his years against Brazil a thoroughly impressive display on the left of the attacking trio behind Brewster, setting up the first goal. 

Hudson-Odoi is part of a strong Chelsea representation here – alongside Marc Guehi, Jon Panzo and George McEachran – and it won’t be long before he’s knocking on the door of Antonio Conte’s first-team at Stamford Bridge with his level of ability. 

Marc Guehi 

Like Callum Hudson-Ohoi, Marc Guehi is working his way through the ranks at Chelsea and played for their U18 side as a 15-year-old. A centre-back who is also comfortable on the right of defence, Guehi is an imposing physical presence. He is also what you would call a ‘modern defender,’ someone who has highly developed skills with the ball at his feet and has an eye for a pass. 

The Ivory Coast-born defender was part of Chelsea’s FA Youth Cup-winning side last season and has defended well throughout the tournament. 

Guehi’s been with Chelsea since he was eight, so he has been honing his technical and physical attributes at one of the best clubs available for almost a decade. It’s surely only a matter of time before he makes an impression with the senior squad at Stamford Bridge. 

What do you think of the crop of talent coming through the England youth teams at the moment? Let us know in the comments below

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Matthew Gault

Matt is a freelance football writer who has been featured on BBC Sport, Sky Sports, The Guardian, Football Whispers and FourFourTwo among others.

Four England U17 players who could be the next big thing

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