Ballers from across Europe such as Phil Foden, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Amine Gouiri were named in the Team of the Tournament at the under-17 European Championships in 2017.
It’s been almost seven years since a young Spain side beat France, Germany and then England in the knockout stages to win the illustrious youth tournament, beating the Young Lions on penalties after a thrilling 2-2 draw after normal time.
A number of young stars with bags of potential made the Team of the Tournament in Croatia. We’ve checked in on the progress they’ve made in 2024.
The goalkeeper for the hosts, Kotarski was Croatia’s standout star despite them exiting in the group stages with just one point.
On the books at Ajax at the time, he struggled to find a pathway to the first-team with Andre Onana the firm first choice and Kostas Lamprou the number two. Now 23, he plays for Greek outfit PAOK and was named in Croatia’s preliminary squad for the 2022 World Cup, but missed out on the final 26.
Kotarski still awaits his first senior cap.
Spain’s number one throughout the tournament, Fernandez kept Germany at bay in a goalless semi-final before his nation won on penalties, before also winning the final from spot kicks.
He’s failed to launch a professional career at the top of the game since, but plays regular football in Spain’s regional third tier with Real Aviles.
Then a product of the Chelsea youth academy, highly rated Guehi captained England at the tournament and signed his first professional deal with Chelsea afterwards.
Since then, he’s had to leave Stamford Bridge in order to progress his career, but has done exactly that at Crystal Palace. Aged 23, he’s been capped nine times for the England national team and continues to look like one of the nation’s most promising young players.
90 minutes ✔️
Clean sheet ✔️
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) November 18, 2023
It’s not quite worked out for English defender Panzo, who took a risk a year after the under-17 Euros and joined Monaco in 2018.
He returned to England with Nottingham Forest in 2022, but has since spent the majority of his time on the books out on loan. He’s just complete a loan switch to Belgian side Standard Liege, in hope of finding a vein of consistency at senior level.
Being knocked out by the eventual winners in the quarter-final, left-back Guenouche quickly embarked on a nomadic senior career after the tournament.
He signed for FC Zurich in 2018, before dropping into the German third tier. He now finds himself in the Austrian Bundesliga with Austria Wien, but is yet to be capped at senior level by France.
A towering German centre-back, Boller impressed for Germany at the tournament, but couldn’t make it stick ay Bayer Leverkusen and headed to Austria in search of senior minutes.
He spent four years with LASK before returning to Germany in December 2023, signing a deal to play with Fortuna Dusseldorf’s second team. Here’s hoping he finds a way back to the top level.
Representing Real Madrid at the tournament, defender Chust scored penalties in both the semi-final and final as Spain won their record third title.
He made his La Liga debut for Real in 2021, before being loaned out to Cadiz 2021-22 season. That loan was made permanent and the 23-year-old has found a home in Andalusia ever since.
Injuries have proven to be a real kryptonite in Morey’s career so far. A serious knee injury hampered his progress at Barcelona B after starring in La Masia and again has stunted his development at Borussia Dortmund.
He signed for the German side in 2019 and made solid inroads, before suffering another serious knee injury in 2021 and missing the entire 2021-22 campaign.
Injuries appear to have ravaged a seriously promising career. He’s not appeared for Dortmund’s first team yet this season and could leave in the summer. He desperately needs a consistent run of games under his belt.
Scoring three times at the tournament, Hudson-Odoi was once considered one of the brightest young prospects in world football and looked every bit a world beater when breaking into Chelsea’s first-team in early 2018.
He was the subject of a £35million bid from Bayern Munich in January 2019 – which was turned down – but then was ruled out for the season that March with an achilles injury.
Hudson-Odoi struggled immensely to regain his best form after that and seemingly got lost in the shuffle at Chelsea, under several different managers. A loan spell to Bayer Leverkusen didn’t quite go as planned, but he seems to finally be back towards his best at Nottingham Forest after signing for an initial £3million in 2023.
Scoring against Ukraine in the group stages, McEachran also represented Chelsea at the tournament and went on to make the bench as they won the Europa League in 2019.
That was about as good as it got for McEachran at Stamford Bridge, however, leaving in February 2023 to sign for Swindon after a series of loan spells.
Manchester City snapped up the French midfielder from Paris Saint-Germain a year after he balled out at the tournament, appearing for one whole second in the Community Shield win over Chelsea as a (very) late substitute.
He made a handful more appearances for City in between a few loan spells before joining Palermo permanently in 2022 – after their takeover by the City Football Group. Gomes has remained there ever since, but if he ever comes good, expect him to move his way around the group.
Abouchabaka scored three goals for Germany in Croatia and returned to RB Leipzig with decent stock, but couldn’t find a way to break into the first team.
He headed to Portugal to sign for Vitoria Guimaraes in 2020, but left in 2022 and appears to have been without a club since then, with no sign of any recent football activity on his Instagram. A great shame.
Another Real Madrid alumna, Madrid-born Moha couldn’t quite make it stick at Real Madrid Castilla and left for Valladolid B in 2020.
He spent two years with the B-team before moving onto Segunda Division side Andorra. In January 2023, he was loaned out to third tier side Barcelona Atletic where he remains today, getting regular minutes under his belt.
Watch this space.
The only Turkish player to make the Team of the Tournament, Babacan scored one goal at the tournament and returned to Galatasaray where he continued on his pathway to senior football.
After a series of loans, he left Gala permanently in 2023 and currently plies his trade in the Turkish second tier with Umraniyespor, where he had been on loan in 2022.
Foden’s goal to put England 2-1 up against Spain in the final didn’t prove to be enough, but it was merely the beginning of an already illustrious career at the very top of the game.
He broke into the Manchester City senior side in 2017-18 and never looked out of place after that. Almost seven years on, Foden is a five-time Premier League winner, a Champions League winner, was instrumental in City winning the treble, has been capped 31 times for England and is one of the very best players in world football right now.
It’s fair to say that he’s not done too badly.
Ah, Jadon. Where do we start?
After leaving City in search of more regular first-team football, Sancho quickly turned into one of the most devastating young wingers in European football at Borussia Dortmund, prompting a £73million move back to Manchester in 2021 – with United.
A highly-anticipated transfer and one that everybody expected, Sancho strangely couldn’t find his feet at Old Trafford and struggled for a consistent run of form, only replicating his best stuff in very short glimpses.
He was sent off to train alone by Erik ten Hag in 2022-23 and welcomed back with open arms, but when the Dutch manager again dropped him due to poor levels in training, Sancho disputed his claims, seemingly went on strike and refused to apologise, and ended up in exile.
He’s now back in Dortmund on loan at the age of just 23, but with his stock harmed tremendously and his CV blemished. It’s time to knuckle down.
Finishing as the tournament’s top scorer with nine (!) goals, Gouiri made his senior Lyon debut in November 2017, but left to sign for Nice in 2020.
A strong start after moving across towns in the south of France fizzled out, though, and he moved on again two years later to sign for Rennes.
Now a fully-fledged Algeria international after switching allegiance, Gouiri has notched an impressive 22 goals and eight assists from 64 games at Rennes, but has struggled for a prolific vein of form this season so far.
A Barcelona academy product, striker Ruiz would make a handful of appearances for La Blaugrana before moving to Braga on loan in January 2020.
The Spaniard made his move to Portugal a permanent one due to a mandatory clause, but has stayed put ever since and has been capped twice for Spain at senior level.
Goals have been hard to come by this season for the 24-year-old, but since the end of January 2024, he’s scored two goals in as many weeks and looks to have found the golden touch once again.