How have England’s U20 World Cup winners progressed and will they be the stars of 2022?


Two years ago England’s Young Lions won the Under 20 World Cup with a 1-0 victory over Venezuela in South Korea.

Gareth Southgate’s side tried and failed to emulate that feat in Russia last summer.

The success in 2017 offered hope of a bright new era for the Three Lions but how have those winners progressed since then?

Sportsmail takes a look at all 21 members of Paul Simpson’s squad to see if they will be stars for England at the Qatar World Cup in 2022. 

Since winning the Golden Glove at the tournament back in 2017, the goalkeeper has made his first-team debut for Newcastle and enjoyed a loan spell in the Scottish Premiership at Aberdeen.

Woodman’s debut came against Luton Town in the FA Cup third round last year but he has made just three other appearances for the Magpies since then.  

Woodman saved a penalty in the U20 World Cup final against Venezuela and was named in the England U21 squad for Euro 2019 last month. 

Woodman also has the right mentors to guide him through his career as his father is former Northampton Town shot-stopper Andy Woodman and his godfather is none other than England boss Gareth Southgate.   

The 22-year-old needs regular first-team football this season to show what he can do but having played for England since U16 level and having gained experience from four loan periods he could be a future England keeper but 2022 may be too soon.

The Manchester United goalkeeper has enjoyed two successful loan spells at Shrewsbury Town and Sheffield United since the summer of 2017.

Henderson particularly impressed between the sticks as the Blades sealed promotion to the Premier League last season. 

He reportedly attracted interest from Bayern Munich, Juventus, Arsenal and Tottenham earlier this year. 

He managed to shut out his opponents 21 times over the course of the 2018-19 campaign, which saw him earn a clean sheet ratio of 45.7 per cent. 

United’s current No 1 David de Gea only managed seven clean sheets and conceded 13 more goals than Henderson. 

The Premier League club think highly of the 22-year-old and he is set to be given a new contract at Old Trafford before returning to Bramall Lane next season. 

Henderson has been selected for the England U21 Euros later this month and if he continues to produce like he has done and becomes United’s first choice then there is every chance he will be on the plane to Qatar.

The 21-year-old goalkeeper currently plies his trade with Reading U23s and spent the second half of last season out on loan at National League side Eastleigh.  

Sportsmail reported in March that Hull were lining up a summer move for Southwood.

He was the first visiting goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet at big-spending Salford last campaign but is behind the other two goalkeepers from the U20 squad.

Southwood is well down the goalkeeper pecking order and so is highly unlikely to break into the England team in three years’ time.

The Everton defender joined Bundesliga outfit Schalke on a season-long loan this week.

After joining the Toffees’ Academy set-up at the age of nine Kenny played 40 times for the first team, including 13 matches last campaign.  

The 22-year-old played every minute when England U20s lifted the World Cup in South Korea and he has every chance of becoming an important player for Everton and England.  

If he becomes first choice right back at Goodison Park Kenny could well be in with a chance of linking up with England for the World Cup in 2022. However he has strong full backs ahead of him in Kyle Walker and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Since success with England U21 in 2017 the Everton defender has enjoyed loan spells at Ipswich, Wigan and Bolton. 

The 21-year-old made 33 appearances in the Championship last season, in which he scored three goals and provided two assists.

Connolly is a flexible player in that he can play at full back and centre half but also provide an option as a defensive midfielder. 

Unlikely to challenge for a place in Southgate’s squad in 2022. 

The Chelsea defender has enjoyed two loans spells since the summer of 2017.

His temporary period at Derby under manager Frank Lampard last campaign was a pivotal season in his development.  

He made 55 appearances as the Rams narrowly missed out on Premier League promotion after losing to Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final. 

Rangers coach Michael Beale, who helped develop Tomori, told Sportsmail last month: ‘He’s always been a really athletic boy who you thought wouldn’t fail on that but certainly needed to work technically to get himself to the level he is at now. 

‘It is hard to be a young central defender but his reading of the game and athleticism to get himself out of problems is fantastic.’

Tomori has been called up to the England U21 squad for the Euros this summer and if the 21-year-old continues to develop and manages to break into the Chelsea first time he may well be on Southgate’s radar.

Another Chelsea player who has been sent out on loan over the last two years. 

Clarke-Salter linked up with Leonid Slutsky, who worked with several of the Blues’ academy graduates when he was in charge of Hull, for a season at Vitesse last year.

Clarke-Salter is a fast centre back who does not panic on the ball and he has long since been earmarked as one of the young players at Stamford Bridge able to cut it in the Premier League.

Like Tomori, the 21-year-old has been called up to the England U21 squad for the Euros this summer and if he continues to progress and makes the step into the Chelsea first team he may well be in Southgate’s mind.

Konsa made the switch from Charlton to Brentford a year after success with the Young Lions.

The defender came through the Charlton ranks alongside Liverpool’s Joe Gomez and Everton’s Ademola Lookman. 

He played 47 matches as Brentford secured an 11th-placed finish in the Championship last season.  

Both Liverpool and Everton were keen on the highly-rated centre half before he made the move to Brentford.

The 21-year-old has been named in the England U21 squad for the tournament this summer but other players will be ahead of him when it comes to the World Cup in 2022. 

The Tottenham right back was given his full Premier League debut against Newcastle just months after lifting the World Cup with the Young Lions.

The 22-year-old has made 19 appearances in total for Spurs including two Champions League outings. 

Walker-Peters made his first start in the Champions League against Barcelona at the Nou Camp in December.

He made a mistake which led to Ousmane Dembele opening the scoring but admitted he ‘learnt a lot about myself’. 

The experience of playing for a top club in the Premier League and Champions League will stand him in good stead. 

Although he has played in Europe again it will be hard for him to move ahead of Alexander-Arnold and Walker. 

Fry featured in 39 matches for Middlesbrough last campaign, in which he provided four assists.

The centre back has attracted interest from Premier League side Burnley this summer.  

Ben Gibson’s move to Turf Moor in 2018 gave Fry the chance to make an impact.

Fry was a key figure in Boro’s push for the play-offs last season until he picked up an injury in April which ruled him out of the rest of the campaign. 

He will need to continue to grow and develop and the World Cup in 2022 is likely to come too soon.

Onomah was sent out on loan by Tottenham following the 2017 triumph – first to Aston Villa and then to Sheffield Wednesday.  

The 22-year-old attacking midfielder featured only 15 times in the Championship with the Owls last season.

He is quick and tricky and impressed when he was handed his first Spurs start four years ago but his career seems to have stalled and he needs to get back to playing regular football. 

With the likes of youngsters Callum Hudson-Odoi and Jadon Sancho, Onomah is way down the pecking order.

A midfielder for the Young Lions at the World Cup, the 21-year-old was playing for Arsenal as a right back towards the end of last season.

He made 31 appearances for Unai Emery’s side last campaign as they reached the Europa League final. 

Maitland-Niles is pacey and provides a good option down the right flank in attack. He is versatile as he can play in midfield or on the wing.

He has the potential to become an important player for the Gunners over the next few years.

He has a tough task on his hands with Alexander-Arnold and Walker already ahead of him in the right back position. Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka is also a promising full back. 

Attacking midfielder Dowell has been on loan at Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United since success with England two years ago. 

The 21-year-old made 17 appearances for the Blades during a half season at the club.  

Dowell is talented but has found it hard to break into the Toffees’ first team. He has played just five times for the club in five years. 

Unlikely to be in Southgate’s plans in three years’ time due to the players ahead of him and his lack of experience.

The Liverpool winger has enjoyed loan spells at Fulham and Reims since winning the World Cup in 2017.   

Ojo scored one goal and provided one assist in 18 appearances for the Ligue 1 outfit last campaign.

Sportsmail reported earlier this week that Ojo is a target for Steven Gerrard’s Rangers this summer.

Ojo is a fast wideman but has failed to win over Reds boss Jurgen Klopp and has only made 13 appearances for the club.

The position is highly competitive and at this moment in time Ojo is not in the frame.

Another Liverpool player who has been sent out on loan since the summer of 2017. 

Ejaria has had periods at Sunderland, Rangers and most recently at Reading.

The 21-year-old appeared to be making progress under Gerrard at Ibrox before heading back to the Reds in December as he made 28 appearances.

Central midfield is a highly competitive position at Anfield and so Ejaria may have to move elsewhere to continue to develop.

Unlikely to be in contention to be on the plane to Qatar in 2022. 

Since captaining the Young Lions to glory two years ago Cook is one player who has continued to improve.

Cook earned a senior cap prior to the 2018 World Cup and Southgate identified him as a future member of his side. He was also named on England’s standby list for the tournament last summer. 

In December the Bournemouth midfielder was ruled out for the remainder of the season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament against Huddersfield. 

Cook had had an impressive season until the injury last campaign, playing in 13 of 15 of the Cherries’ Premier League games. 

He could become a key figure for the Cherries once he returns from injury. 

Cook has a very good chance of being included in the England Squad for the Qatar World Cup if he continues to progress at the rate he has been.

The forward made the switch to Blackburn from Newcastle following a successful loan period in 2018.

Last season he netted nine goals and contributed five assists at Ewood Park.  

After coming through the youth ranks at Newcastle, the 22-year-old played for the Magpies just 21 times.

He failed to impress those in charge at St James’ Park and was sent out on loan on four occasions.

Armstrong was an unused substitute in the U20 final and is extremely unlikely to enter the Three Lions’ plans. 

Since picking up the Golden Ball in South Korea Solanke has made his debut for Liverpool followed by a move from the Reds to Bournemouth. 

He made just 10 appearances for the Cherries last campaign with Callum Wilson and Joshua King ahead of the 21-year-old in the pecking order. 

The striker is quick, can hold the ball up and can test defenders in the air. He showed signs of promise at the Reds but needed to be playing more frequently.

Solanke has been included in Aidy Boothroyd’s U21 squad for the Euros and with potential space in Southgate’s squad for a striker he has three years to make his case.

The Everton winger enjoyed a loan spell in Germany at Bundesliga side RB Leipzig in 2018.  

He scored on his debut for the club after coming off the bench against Borussia Monchengladbach.

In just half a season Lookman made an impact as he netted five times and supplied four assists in 11 matches.

He scored one goal and contributed two assists in 24 appearances for the Toffees last season. 

Lookman is fast and direct but he has not been as effective since returning to Goodison Park.

Southampton are reportedly targeting a £20million summer move for Lookman. 

Lookman has the potential to be a huge threat but he is yet to reach that and so is likely to be overlooked in 2022. 

Since scoring the winner against Venezuela in the U20 World Cup final, Calvert-Lewin has developed into Everton’s main striker.  

Toffees boss Marco Silva gave the 22-year-old the opportunity to become the club’s No 1 forward last season. 

Calvert-Lewin matched the best goalscoring return of his career with eight last campaign and he also contributed three assists in 38 matches.

He has the foundations in place to be a striker that scores close to 20 goals a season. 

Like Solanke he has been included in the U21 squad for the Euros and with potential space in Southgate’s squad for a striker he has three years to stake a claim.

Chapman helped Blackburn gain promotion from League One during the 2017-18 season and reunited with the club on a permanent deal in January 2019 from Middlesbrough. 

However he made just two substitute appearances in the Championship last season. 

The 21-year-old has struggled for game time and did not feature for England in the tournament two years ago. 

He will be looking for more chances next season at Ewood Park. 

Chapman has earned just 10 caps for the England youth teams. Very unlikely to be near the England side in three years’ time. 


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