Mosope Ominyi lists out the Top Three players from the recently concluded FIFA U17 World Cup 2017
England managed to recover a two-goal deficit to win last month’s U17 World Cup, for the first time in their history.
After the Euro heartbreak in May this year, it seemed destined that they would exact revenge on Spain – who scored with the last kick of second-half stoppage time to force penalties, which they won, to lift the trophy five months prior.
#3 Jann-Fiete Arp / Germany / 17
Another forward here, Arp is the only player within this five-man list that has already made his senior debut in one of Europe’s top five leagues.
One of the most complete forwards in comparison to others within his age-group, it’s not hard to see why Hamburg have granted him an opportunity this season.
After notching seven goals at the Euros in Croatia back in May, he followed suit with five more as well as three assists this time. Germany were beaten by eventual winners Spain then and here, fell one hurdle even shorter but blame cannot be attributed towards their captain.
Arp, despite some criticism from commentators, lead by example and ultimately used the World Cup as a platform to showcase his ability. He has a tendency to miss a few chances upon occasion while execution when making decisions can lack consistency when under pressure. However, these are issues that will be ironed out of his game as he gradually builds up experience in a competitive environment.
For the most part, his finishing is convincing. He’s able to bring other team-mates into play well and utilised his physical attributes to good effect. Able to shrug off challenges, hold up possession and often unselfish in the final third when needs be, he’s a refreshing centre-forward that has plenty of potential to fufill.
He scored seven goals in three u19 fixtures prior to this tournament. With Bundesliga goals against Hertha Berlin and VfB Stuttgart since his return from India, it’s not hard to see him flourishing in a Hamburg side who need a creative spark to propel them away from relegation fears.
#2 Rhian Brewster / England / 17
Just like Foden’s creative brilliance, the same can be echoed for compatriot Brewster – whose eight-goal haul ensured he won the Golden Boot and earned plaudits from media across the world in doing so.
Brewster produced when it mattered most for England, too. With only one goal before the quarter-final stage, he was challenged by father Ian to respond accordingly. Two hat-tricks later, Rhian and his u17 teammates were on the verge of history. The rest, as they say, is history.
Intelligent movement and quick pass-and-move exchanges alongside England’s creative midfielders were key to Brewster’s success, as he regularly skipped between defenders and created space for himself in the box well. Though his finishing wasn’t always razor-sharp, especially during the early going, the eagerness to create opportunities and continuously threaten opposition defences proved too much to handle.
Having left Chelsea for the red half of Merseyside two seasons ago, Brewster is perhaps one of the younger players to make such a mature decision and it has clearly boosted his development.
Since being promoted to the u23s, he’s already netted three and created four assists in six Premier League 2 matches – which boosts his profile while increasing the likelihood that he’ll be granted an opportunity to prove himself at a more competitive level.
Seeing players like Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn being granted senior opportunities under Jurgen Klopp is likely to serve as welcome encouragement for the prospect to continue his progression and soon add to Liverpool’s array of attacking talent in the first-team ranks.
#1 Phil Foden / England / 17
Foden was one of few players that have already carved out a reputation for themselves ahead of this tournament, thanks to his pre-season experience under Pep Guardiola with Manchester City.
He would’ve already made his senior debut by now, but instead the possibility of winning a World Cup at youth level was too tempting to refuse. Here, he displayed his ability on the international stage and didn’t seem fazed by the occasion either – instead embracing the challenge itself.
Operating on the right wing, he was exciting to watch and constantly kept defenders guessing his next move. Close-control dribbling and bursts of acceleration when transitioning into the final third meant he quickly became a fan’s favourite.
One criticism that has been thrown at Foden is his inability to finish chances regularly, something he’ll need to improve upon to continue developing at such a rapid rate. For someone that usually plays in the number ten role back at City, it’s understandable that he’s more clinical from close-range. That was evident against Spain in the final, where he netted a brace but equally in other fixtures, struggled to apply the finishing touch upon well-worked moves.
Jadon Sancho is one of England’s best young prospects and was with this u17 crop before Borussia Dortmund recalled him after the group stages. Foden ensured his former club team-mate wasn’t missed, winning the Golden Ball for tournament’s best player in the process.
Read all our FIFA U17 World Cup articles here.
- U17 World Cup 2017: Top Three Players - November 7, 2017
- U17 World Cup 2017 Tactical Player Report: Brazil 2-1 Germany - October 27, 2017
- Eredivisie’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18 - August 12, 2017