Wednesday 28 October 2020, 07:44

What happened to the stars of India 2017?

  • How have the stars of the U-17 World Cup 2017 progressed?

  • Sancho, Sargent, Torres and Foden among those already causing a sensation

  • Others with remarkable stories outside top leagues

Exactly three years ago, on 28 October 2017, England won the FIFA U-17 World Cup for the first time with victory over Spain in Kolkata, India.

As you would expect, a select group of players – particularly from the triumphant Three Lions side – announced their arrival at this memorable World Cup, suggesting they had what it takes to make it at senior level.

Now three years on from the grand finale, looks at how some of the tournament’s star names have fared in the interim.

Rhian Brewster

Brewster topped the scoring charts in India with eight strikes. A graduate of Liverpool’s youth academy, he would go on to sign professionally for the Reds in 2017 only to suffer a major setback the following January, when a severe ankle injury and related ligament problem kept him out of action for more than a year. Despite not having played a competitive game for the club, he was among the substitutes for the Reds’ 2019 UEFA Champions League final victory over Tottenham.

In January 2020, he was loaned out to Swansea City and reunited with Steve Cooper, who coached England at India 2017. Brewster scored 11 goals in 22 league games for the Swans, paving the way for a permanent move to Sheffield United earlier this month for a club record transfer fee. The 20-year-old played the first two games of the new Premier League season.

Ferran Torres

Torres was a member of the Spain side that won the UEFA European U-17 Championship in 2017 and finished runners-up at the World Cup later the same year. In India, he was somewhat overshadowed by six-goal hero Abel Ruiz, who made his loan move to Portugal’s Braga permanent this year, and Sergio Gomez, who won the adidas Silver Ball and is currently on loan to Huesca following his move to Borussia Dortmund (two Bundesliga appearances) in 2018.

Torres’ rapid progress soon saw him overtake his former team-mates and rack up 71 La Liga appearances for Valencia (six goals) as well as nine for them in the Champions League. That was followed by a high profile move this summer to Manchester City, with whom the forward has already made his Premier League debut and starred in the Champions League, scoring again last night in the win over Marseille. It came as no surprise then to see him called up to the Roja senior squad this year.

Senior national-team record

  • Debut: 3 September 2020

  • Four appearances (one goal)

Ferran Torres of Spain celebrates after scoring his team's fourth goal during the UEFA Nations League group stage match between Spain and Ukraine 

Phil Foden

The versatile midfielder was awarded the adidas Golden Ball for best player in India and wasted no time in making his breakthrough in professional football. He made his Champions League debut for Manchester City back in November 2017 and his first Premier League appearance the following month.

The left-footer has already racked up two Premier League titles (becoming the youngest ever winner in 2018), and one FA Cup. To date he has played almost 50 times in the English top flight and was handed his first full international cap in September this year.

Senior national-team record

  • Debut: 5 September 2020

  • One appearance

Phil Foden of England celebrates with his team mates after scoring his teams second goal

Josh Sargent

Sargent not only represented the USA U-17 side at the World Cup in 2017, but also the U-20s at the corresponding FIFA World Cup a few months earlier, scoring in both competitions. 2017 was certainly a landmark year for him: two World Cups, a call-up to the senior team squad as well as a move to German side Werder Bremen. The forward is now an established Bundesliga player with six goals and almost 50 league games to his name, while his strike rate with the Stars and Stripes is even more impressive.

Senior national-team record

  • Debut: 28 May 2018

  • 12 appearances (five goals)

Tim Weah #11 and Josh Sargent #13 of the United States celebrate after a goal by Sargent 

Cheick Doucoure

While Lassana N'Diaye (currently with AFC Eskilstuna in the Swedish second tier) was Mali’s star attraction in their run to fourth place at India 2017 (six goals), it is compatriot Cheick Doucoure who has made the biggest strides in the interim. Since 2018, the midfielder has been on the books of Lens, where he is a mainstay of the team. The 20-year-old is now competing in Ligue 1 following promotion last year and almost 50 games in the country’s second division. This steady progress has also earned him several appearances with the full Mali team.

Senior national-team record

  • Debut: 4 September 2020

  • Five appearances

Cheick Oumar of Mali (C) Doucoure and Elijah Just of New Zealand battle for the ball during the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017

Jann-Fiete Arp

Even before he graced the U-17 World Cup, German forward Arp had become the first player born in the 2000s to compete in the Bundesliga. He managed the feat in the colours of Hamburg, for whom he scored twice in 18 top-flight games – the first making him the club’s youngest ever Bundesliga scorer. After their relegation, Arp played 17 times (one goal) in the second division before moving to Bayern Munich in the summer of 2019. Unable as yet to make his first team debut, he is playing for Bayern’s U-23 side this season in the country’s third division.

Jadon Sancho

Despite his side lifting the trophy in India, Jadon Sancho’s tournament ended after the group stage, when he was recalled to Germany to make his Bundesliga debut for Borussia Dortmund. Since then, the England international has played 82 league games for BVB, scoring 30 times and making 40 assists. Moreover, he has competed 16 times in the Champions League and is regarded as one of the most promising young wingers in world football thanks to his pace, vision and eye for goal.

Senior national-team record

  • Debut: 12 October 2018

  • 15 caps (2 goals)

Harry Kane of England celebrates after scoring his sides third goal with Jadon Sancho

Callum Hudson-Odoi

Hudson-Odoi became the youngest player to debut in a competitive match for England when he faced Czech Republic in March 2019 in a European Championship qualifier. Having previously represented his club Chelsea in several cup ties, the winger made his Premier League debut on 31 January. Since then he has played 37 times (two goals) in the top flight for the Blues, who he has been with since 2007, and made 15 appearances in European club competitions. However, in the recently commenced 2020/21 season, he has not yet managed to hold down a starting berth.

Senior national-team record

  • Debut: 22 March 2019

  • Three appearances

Callum Hudson-Odoi of Chelsea celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the UEFA Europa League Group L match between Chelsea and PAOK 

Amarjit Singh Kiyam

After his side’s tough draw and subsequent group-stage elimination at the U-17 World Cup on home soil, Indian midfielder Amarjit Singh Kiyam was selected for the Indian Arrows, a national football federation team created to nurture young talents and provide them with match time in the I-League. After making his professional debut there, he made history by progressing from the national U-17 team to the senior side in just two years. Ahead of the 2019/20 domestic season, he moved to Jamshedpur, for whom he has played several times in the Indian Super League. The 19-year-old was on the cusp of making his FIFA World Cup™ qualifying debut this September but had to pull out of the squad because of an arm injury.

Senior national-team record

  • Debut: 5 June 2019

  • Five appearances

Amarjit Singh Kiyam (L) in a match for India's senior national team against the Republic of Korea - undated

Amine Gouiri

The French striker netted five times in India having previously top-scored at the European U-17 Championship. By November 2017, the teenager had already debuted for Lyon in Ligue 1, but a torn cruciate in the summer of 2018 made it difficult for him to establish himself with OL on his return. The 2019/20 season saw him make a brief Champions League appearance and play only once in Ligue 1, prompting a move to Nice in the summer of 2020. Gouiri has hit the ground running with his new club, bagging a brace on his league debut against Lens to immediately nail down a starting berth.

Amine Gouiri of France reacts after scoring his team's second goal during the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup