England get set to take on Israel in the final of the U19 Euros on Friday with kick off at 7pm, and the latest generation of Young Lions are out to recreate the success of the 2017 class, which included the likes of Mason Mount, Reece James and Aaron Ramsdale.
It has been an impressive campaign in Slovakia for the Young Lions as they hope to recreate the success of the 2017 class. They topped their group with victories over Austria, Serbia and Israel, then beat Italy in the semi-final to maintain their perfect record to advance through to the final, conceding just one goal along the way.
England take on Israel again, but this time in the final at the Anton Malatinsky Stadium in Trnava, hoping they can overcome this year’s surprise package for a second time to take home the trophy. Israel’s previous best performance at this tournament was reaching the group stage, while this will be England’s fourth final in the competition, although the Young Lions have only ever won the U19 Euros on one other occasion.
England’s previous success at youth tournaments
Winners of U20 World Cup in 2017 (beating Venezuela 1-0 in final)
Winners of U19 Euros in 2017 (beating Portugal 2-1 in final)
Winners of U17 World Cup in 2017 (beating Spain 5-2 in final)
Back in February, the EFL had a chat with head coach Ian Foster, who is to lead his team out for the U19 Euros Final.
He does’t take too much credit for the development of his squad but instead applauds the EFL for nurturing the next generation, be it through their own Academies or facilitating loan spells.
“Thanks to the amazing work that’s done throughout the country in the Academies on a daily basis, we get to reap the rewards,” he explained. “You work for the England national teams and we do have an array of wonderful talent in the pathway. It’s always a pleasure and a privilege to work with these young players.”
The young England stars completed their final round of qualification games back in March but whilst his players are turned out for Clubs across the three divisions, he also kept a close eye on the Papa Johns Trophy – which has produced notable names in recent years.
“To go and play Papa Johns Trophy football gives them an opportunity, firstly, to play in a stadium; secondly, in front of a crowd; thirdly, against first-team players and in a really competitive competition,” he said. “I’ve been involved in that competition from the other side. It’s an opportunity for a big day out at Wembley. It’s not to be sniffed at.”
And with more and more players equipping themselves with invaluable game-time, it only evidenced to Foster how his players are stepping out of their comfort zone and stepping up.
“From what we’ve seen and learnt, the players are ready,” the 45-year-old noted. “They’re ready to go in. I know it’s a really competitive level but our young players that are in our pathway are technically outstanding. The tactical understanding isn’t quite there but that’s the purpose of the loan – to go and get that experience. They just need those games.
“It’s a strange age group at international level,” the 45-year-old noted. “Our players are playing all over the place. They’re playing first-team football in the Premier League or first-team football in the Championship and League One, Under-23s in the Premier League 2 and Under-19s in the UEFA Youth League.
“The ones who mature earlier are getting first-team football and the ones with really high potential that are not ready to play in first-teams are obviously playing younger age groups.”
Among some of those picked by Foster in November were Peterborough United defender Ronnie Edwards and Bristol City midfielder Alex Scott – both of whom were plying their trade in the Championship at the time.
The teens, in their first full seasons at their respective Clubs, caught the attention of the Under-19s boss whilst making their mark in the second-tier.
“It’s unusual for players to be playing as regularly as they are,” he admitted. “It’s a great credit to those boys and the coaches at those Clubs who have prepared them to play at such a competitive level at such a young age. Both boys playing regularly in the Championship is brilliant for them and it helps us as well.
“They’ve got themselves into our pathway and they’re doing very, very well this season. It’s Ronnie’s first taste has been Under-19s level so he’s late into the pathway and Alex came in at Under-18s level.”
Foster previously had a role with the Under-17s and Under-18s, helping on the likes of Liverpool’s Harvey Elliot, Manchester City’s Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite and Manchester United’s Teden Mengi to gain first-team experience in the Championship away from their top-flight parent Clubs.
“We’ve got Callum Doyle who was on loan at Sunderland so he played regularly in League One and he got to the Quarter-Final of the Carabao Cup as well. It’s incredible for his development. Again, a young centre-back playing at such a massive Football Club in a really competitive League One.
“Levi Colwill is another one from Chelsea who was at Huddersfield Town. It’s great that our players are going into the EFL and testing themselves in such a competitive environment.”
Before joining the England set-up, the coach spent time as a first-team coach at EFL clubs Coventry City and Portsmouth – where the then-League Two side won promotion to League One during his second season at Fratton Park.
However, he always had one eye on the up-and-coming talent, and the ways he could pave a route to the first-teams.
“At Coventry, I was blessed in terms of getting to work with some really interesting young players,” he remarked. “Callum Wilson would’ve been an Academy graduate just starting in the first-team at that time, and he’s gone on to play for England. James Maddison would’ve been another one; James was late in terms of his physical development but technically just an outstanding football.
“It gave me a real insight into the quality of players throughout the EFL Clubs, and a real insight into the game from Championship down to League Two.
“That helps if players do come to me and say, ‘look, I’ve had an offer from this Club’. I offer my opinion to the players. I can give them an informed decision on what the level is like and what it’s like to play in those types of divisions.”
Foster hopes that EFL Clubs and their Academies will be the gift that keep on giving with some silverware potentially on the horizon… because it seems to be working.
England U19 coach Ian Foster ahead of tomorrow’s #UEFAU19 semi-final against Italy:
“The players understand what the game plan is, I’m just there to guide them and help them. When they need encouragement, I’ll give it to them – and when they don’t, I’ll keep my mouth shut.” pic.twitter.com/9NTQ2zA61Y
— Gary Taphouse (@garytaphouse) June 27, 2022
The young Premier League and EFL stars hoping to win Under 19 Euros Final for England
The following players were named in the squad for the 2022 UEFA European Under-19 Championship, to be played June 2022.
– GK Matthew Cox (age 19) – Brentford
– GK Harvey Davies (age 18) – Liverpool
– GK Teddy Sharman-Lowe (age 19) – Chelsea
– DF Luke Chambers (age 18) – Liverpool
– DF Callum Doyle (age 18) – Manchester City
– DF Ronnie Edwards (age 19) – Peterborough United
– DF Bashir Humphreys (age 19) – Chelsea
– DF Brooke Norton-Cuffy (age 18) – Arsenal
– DF Daniel Oyegoke (age 19) – Brentford
– DF Jarell Quansah (age 19) – Liverpool
– MF Carney Chukwuemeka (age 18) – Aston Villa
– MF Alfie Devine (age 17) – Tottenham Hotspur
– MF Tim Iroegbunam (age 18) – Aston Villa
– MF Aaron Ramsey (age 19) – Aston Villa
– MF Alex Scott (age 18) – Bristol City
– MF Harvey Vale (age 18) – Chelsea
– FW Jamie Bynoe-Gittens (age 17) – Borussia Dortmund
– FW Liam Delap (age 19) – Manchester City
– FW Samuel Iling-Junior (age 18) – Juventus
– FW Daniel Jebbison (age 18) – Sheffield United
– FW Dane Scarlett (age 18) – Tottenham Hotspur