After battling their way to the final, England are now one victory away from taking gold at the 2022 UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Slovakia.
After finishing top of Group B, the Young Lions then saw off Italy in the semifinals to book themselves a berth in the grand finale where they will face Israel — a side they have already beaten once in the preliminary round of the tournament.
With the semi locked level against the Italians at 1-1, the crucial breakthrough goal was scored for England by 19-year-old Liverpool defender Jarell Quansah, who headed home a late corner to seal a 2-1 victory.
With an average age of 18.2 years, head coach Ian Foster’s fledgling squad is brimming with young talent, many of whom are primed to become the stars of tomorrow, such as striker Liam Delap, who has already made a handful of senior appearances for Manchester City , while Aston Villa’s Carney Chukwuemeka Tottenham Hotspur’s Dane Scarlett are England top scorer en route to the final with two goals each.
They are seeking to reclaim the European Championship crown won by the England U19s back in 2017, when the team then coached by Keith Downing vanquished Czech Republic in the semis before defeating Portugal in the final to lift the trophy.
England went ahead early in the second half only to concede an own-goal almost instantly to nullify their lead. However, another goal 20 minutes from full time saw the Young Lions roar back to claim the spoils in Georgia.
While largely made up of unfamiliar youth players at the time, that victorious class of 2017 contained a number of notable names, several of whom have gone on to forge successful careers at the top of the game.
England 2-1 Portugal: UEFA European Under-19 Championships Final, July 15, 2017 — Tengiz Burjanadze Stadium, Gori
Aaron Ramsdale (then of AFC Bournemouth)
One of the biggest names involved in the final, Ramsdale has since gone on to represent England at every level from the U18s to the senior team, where he has won three caps to date. The goalkeeper was loaned to Chesterfield and AFC Wimbledon before returning to boyhood club Sheffield United in the summer of 2020, spending a successful season with the Blades before sealing his big £30 million transfer to Arsenal in August 2021.
Dujon Sterling (Chelsea)
Chelsea youngster Sterling had the misfortune of scoring the own goal that drew Portugal level on the night. Now aged 22, the right-back is still on the books at the Blues, though his only first-team appearance came back in 2017. He has since spent the past three seasons on loan at Coventry City, Wigan Athletic, and Blackpool.
Jay Dasilva (Chelsea)
Captaining England in the final, Dasilva was one of the many young players who was never able to force himself into the first team and instead was repeatedly sent out on loan. The left-back spent two seasons at Charlton Athletic before joining Bristol City, first on loan in 2018-19 and then on a permanent deal the following summer. He has since gone on to make over 100 appearances for the Robins.
Tayo Edun (Fulham)
Surely the player with the longest full name at the tournament (Adetayo Oluwatosin Olusegun Adio Aduramigba Iretioluwa Edun), the versatile left-sided player left Fulham in January 2020 having made just seven first-team appearances in four years at Craven Cottage. He first signed for Lincoln City and even scored against Liverpool in the third round of the 2020-21 EFL Cup. After spending a year in League One, Edun moved up a division to sign for Championship side Blackburn Rovers, for whom he made 25 appearances last season.
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Easah Suliman (Aston Villa)
Suliman found himself on the scoresheet against Portugal when he reacted quickly to head home a rebounded free kick and give England the lead. The centre-back never made a senior appearance for Villa and instead spent time on loan at Cheltenham Town, Grimsby Town, and FC Emmen in the Dutch second division without really establishing himself anywhere. He then signed for Portuguese side Vitoria de Guimaraes for the 2020-21 season but made only 18 appearances before joining second-tier CD Nacional on loan the following campaign, making a further 14 appearances before returning to his parent club.
Isaac Buckley-Ricketts (Manchester City)
Buckley-Ricketts spent two years with City between 2016 and 2018 but was never fortunate enough to carve himself a first-team opportunity in that time. Instead, the midfielder was sent out on a succession of fairly unproductive loans with FC Twente and Oxford United before signing for Peterborough United on a permanent deal in the summer of 2018. Again, he was unable to muscle into the senior squad and left Posh after just one season in order to try his hand in non-league football with local sides Stretford Paddock, Southport and Warrington Town.
Andre Dozzell (Ipswich Town)
The son of former Tottenham player Jason, holding midfielder Dozzell first joined the youth ranks at Ipswich as an eight-year old schoolboy in 2008 and went on to spend the next 13 years of his career at Portman Road before bringing his long association with the club to an end in June 2021 with a transfer to Championship side QPR.
Mason Mount (Chelsea)
Arguably the most successful graduate of the victorious England U19 squad of 2017, Mount has gone on to establish himself as a regular with both Chelsea and the Three Lions’ senior side, for whom he has collected 31 caps. An ever-present for the Blues since breaking through into the first team under Frank Lampard’s stewardship in 2019-20, the attacking midfielder has gone on to score 30 goals in 159 games for the club while winning the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup in 2021. It was his pass which put teammate Kai Havertz through one-on-one with Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson to score the goal that clinched 2021 Champions League final.
Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham)
Deployed as a left winger, Sessegnon finished as joint-top goal scorer at the 2017 European Under-19 Championship with three goals to his name. The nimble left-sided player made over 100 appearances for Fulham before finally making the leap to the ball by joining Tottenham as a 19-year-old in the summer of 2019. However, the £25 million move failed to bear fruit as Sessegnon struggled to gain a foothold in the Spurs team. He then spent the 2020-21 season on loan in Germany with Hoffenheim. Still only 22, there’s plenty of time for the youngster to recapture the prodigious form that saw him named in consecutive PFA Championship Teams of the Year (2016-17 and 2017-18) as a teenager.
Lukas Nmecha (Manchester City)
Nmecha scored the winning goal for the U19s in the final and went on to represent England up to U21 level, at which point he switched international allegiance to Germany before going on to make six senior appearances for Die Mannschaft. The young striker’s City career never really got off the ground, and following loan stints at Preston North End, Wolfsburg, Middlesbrough and Anderlecht, he finally sealed a move away from the Etihad in July 2021 when he rejoined Wolfsburg on a permanent deal, scoring 10 goals in 31 games during the season that followed.
Darnell Johnson (Leicester City)
Having first signed as an academy prospect, Johnson remained at hometown club Leicester until the summer of 2021 when he departed after more than six years, having never made a single first-team appearance. The 23-year-old centre-back spent time on loan at Hibernian, Wigan Athletic and AFC Wimbledon before parting company with the Foxes to sign for Fleetwood Town, for whom he played three games in League One last season.
Ben Brereton (Nottingham Forest)
Brereton finished level with Sessegnon as the joint top goal scorer at the tournament, having found the net three times. After impressing with Forest as a rookie in the Championship, the teenaged striker made a slightly surprising sideways move to Blackburn Rovers, first on loan for the 2018-19 season and then on a permanent basis in the summer of 2019. Brereton scored nine goals in 61 games in his first two full seasons at Ewood Park before a decision to embrace his South American heritage and accepting an unexpected approach to play for Chile — the birthplace of his mother — saw his form erupt. Indeed, 2021-22 saw Brereton Diaz (now going by both parents’ names) score 22 goals in 39 games for Rovers as they narrowly missed out on a Championship playoff spot. The rejuvenated forward also made his international debut for La Rojascoring four goals in 15 appearances including a debut goal at the 2021 Copa America.
Josh Dasilva (Arsenal)
Dasilva (who is no relation to defender Jay) is a defensive midfielder who came through the ranks at Arsenal but left to join Brentford in 2018 without making a senior appearance for the Gunners. The 23-year-old has played over 110 times for the Bees since and even mustered nine games for his side in the Premier League last season.
Marcus Edwards (Tottenham Hotspur)
Edwards was the second member of the England Under-19 finalists to venture to Portugal with Vitoria de Guimaraes, for whom he signed from Spurs in the summer of 2019 following middling loan spells at Norwich City and Excelsior. After three years at Vitoria in which the winger scored 20 goals in 96 games, Sporting CP came calling in January 2022 and signed the 23-year-old in a deal reportedly worth around £6.6 million.
Reece James (Chelsea)
An unused sub he may well have been, but that hasn’t stopped James from becoming a Premier League star with Chelsea. Along with teammate Mount, the right-back broke through into the Blues first team in 2019-20 and hasn’t looked back, making 123 appearances for his boyhood club and winning both the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Super Cup in 2021.Still aged just 22, James has also won 13 caps for the England senior team despite playing in one of the most overstocked positions in the current national setup.
Nathan Trott (West Ham)
A product of the West Ham academy, the goalkeeper is still on the books of his boyhood team though he is currently on loan at French Ligue 2 club AS Nancy Lorraine, where he spent last season as understudy to first-choice stopper Baptiste Valette.
Jacob Maddox (Chelsea)
The third and final member of this England U19s side to wind up at Vitoria de Guimaraes, midfielder Maddox joined the Portuguese side from Chelsea in the summer of 2019. He has since returned to English football after spending the 2021-22 season on loan at Burton albino