The Under 17s Euros kicks off in the Republic of Ireland this week, with England one of the 16 teams competing to reach the final at the Tallaght Stadium in Dublin on May 19.
The Young Lions are initially competing in Group B alongside France, Sweden, and holders Netherlands, who defeating Italy on penalties last year at the New York Stadium in Rotherham. Interestingly, the winners of six of the last seven finals of the tournament has been decided by penalties.
England ignite their campaign against France in Longford, with a selection of young stars hoping to emulate the famed young players who took England to World Cup glory at the Under-17s tournament in 2017.
Manchester City’s Phil Foden was elected best player of competition, whilst Rhian Brewster of Liverpool finished the World Cup with the Golden Boot as top goalscorer. Other names who have gone on to be recognisable in the upper echelons of the game included Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea) and Jadon Sancho who currently leads the pack for most assists in the Bundesliga (17) with Borussia Dortmund. Sancho was also the recipient of the Golden Player award at the Under-17 Euros in 2017
Last year, with the tournament in England, the young Lions made their way to the semi-finals, something they’ll be hoping to surpass this year. Here are three up-and-comers from Steve Cooper’s side who, like Sancho are currently plying their trade abroad, and who you should keep your beady eye on.
Matt Bondswell - RB Leipzig
Defender Bondswell is currently at RB Leipzig in the German Bundesliga , which is garnering a reputation as a hive of nurturing young talent, with their eyes frequently gazing flirtatiously over at English talent. It had been reported that Manchester United and Liverpool were interested in the left-back, but Bondswell followed the route to Deutschland which has been lit up by Sancho.
Bondswell excelled at athletics and was highly prized at Nottingham Forest.
Nonso Madueke - PSV Eindhoven
An attacking midfielder, Madueke left Tottenham Hotspur for Eredivisie outfit and last season’s champions PSV Eindhoven. It was down to the 17-year-old in getting to this year’s Euros tournament, with his brace produced an astonishing comeback over Denmark in the qualifiers.
Like Bondswell, Madueke reportedly rejected the interest of English goliaths Man Utd for the move to the Netherlands.
Jeremy Sarmiento - Benfica
Striker Sarmiento swapped South London - having been in the capital since he was seven - for sunny Lisbon with a move from Charlton to Primeira Liga behemoths Benfica. The wide forward who has been deployed on the right wing had featured in the Addicks’ Under-23s side and is well regarded for his technique and pace. Sarmiento was born in Mardi to Ecuadorian parents, both countries who covet his talents.