Five Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd gems set to shine for England at U17 World Cup

England’s senior team have found international success difficult to come by, but their youth teams have a knack for producing teams capable of winning major tournaments. Six years ago, the young Lions roared to their maiden Under-17 World Cup triumph and members of that squad have gone on to become forces in football now. Now, the task for Ryan Garry’s side is to try and emulate their precedessor’s achievements, starting with a clash against New Caledonia on Saturday. Ahead of their group stage opener, Express Sport looks at five of England’s top prospects.

Ethan Nwaneri

It’s not every day that Arsenal bring a 15-year-old off the bench to become their youngest-ever player. But that’s exactly what happened in last season when Mikel Arteta turned to their exciting youngster during their clash with Brentford in September 2022.

It was an exhibit of just how highly the young attacker is rated by the Gunners, who may have gave him a glimpse of Premier League football to keep him out of the clutches of Manchester City and Chelsea. And now he has agreed to sign a professional contract in March when he turns 17, he can concentrate on leading England to glory.

With a devastating mix of creativity and goalscoring prowess, it is no surprise that he has excelled at Under-21 level with his club, scoring four goals in as many Premier League 2 appearances. Expect him to play a central role, despite being one of the younger players in the group.

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Ishe Samuels-Smith

Chelsea clearly believe the defender has a bright future in the game after agreeing a £4million package with Everton to sign the youngster this summer.

The left-sided centre-back can also play as a full-back, highlighting his versatility and he has become renowned for being a cool head in possession, carrying the ball out from the back. In particular, Samuels-Smith has a knack for beating his opponents in one-on-one duels in a similar mould of Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

At the age of 17, he is still a fair distance away from breaching the first-team barrier, but he is highly regarded by youth coach Hassan Sulaiman, who said he is ‘confident’ Samuels-Smith will sparkle during the tournament.

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Michael Golding

Mauricio Pochettino has already called up the 17-year-old to his matchday squad after receiving glowing reports from coaches and Golding looks like he could be the next in a long line of Cobham talents to make the grade at Stamford Bridge.

A central attacking midfielder, Golding is technically blessed and often pops up in small pockets of space in the final third. He likes to make Kevin De Bruyne-esque runs in behind the backline too, showing his awareness off the ball, and often finds himself amongst the goals and assists for the Blues’ youth team.

Golding may well be a contender to be handed the captain’s armband by Garry, given his strong character and leadership qualities, and glory will be on his mind if he is named skipper for the tournament.

Tyler Dibling

Dibling actually became one of the first players to join Todd Boehly’s revolution at Chelsea after starring for Southampton at youth level, including scoring a hat-trick in an Under-23s game at the age of 16. But homesickness brought him back to the Saints just months later and Dibling is finding his feet again after a brief spell away.

The midfielder has already featured in the Carabao Cup this season for his hometown club and he appears to be on the cusp of breaking into the team under Russell Martin. It would be no surprise to see his name pop up on the highlights reel, such is his proclivity to produce a moment of magic.

Finley McAllister

Salford-born McAllister has been earmarked for a bright future with Manchester United after agreeing to sign a professional contract in July this year.

His progression in the academy has been undeniable, featuring often for the Under-18s with 11 appearances as he helped the Red Devils to third in the Premier League’s North section. He has been ahead of his age group throughout his youth career, featuring for the Under-18s when he was just 14 years of age.

A defensive midfielder by trade, there are some shades of Paul Scholes and Darren Fletcher about his game – and that can only be a good sign if he is to make the grade for club and country.

England squad for Under-17 World Cup:

Goalkeepers: Ted Curd (Hashtag United, loan from Chelsea), Finlay Herrick (West Ham United), Tommy Setford (Ajax)

Defenders: Josh Acheampong (Chelsea), Joe Johnson (Luton Town), Jayden Meghoma (Southampton), Harrison Murray-Campbell (Chelsea), Lakyle Samuel (Manchester City), Ishé Samuels Smith (Chelsea)

Midfielders: Samuel Amo-Ameyaw (Southampton), Michael Golding (Chelsea), Myles Lewis-Skelly (Arsenal), Finley McAllister (Manchester United), Chris Rigg (Sunderland), Reiss-Alexander Russell-Denny (Chelsea)

Forwards: Tyler Dibling (Southampton), Joel Ndala (Manchester City), Ethan Nwaneri (Arsenal), Justin Oboavwoduo (Manchester City), Archie Stevens (Glasgow Rangers), Matty Warhurst (Manchester City)

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