In June 2018, England’s Under-21s won the Toulon Tournament for a third successive time after beating Mexico 2-1 in the final.
Mexico took the lead after just two minutes, but Aidy Boothroyd’s Young Lions fought back to win 2-1 at the Stade Francis Turcan in Martigues.
It was the third time in as many years that England lifted the prestigious Maurice Revello youth trophy. A number of those players have since gone on to make names for themselves in senior men’s football.
We’ve taken a look back at the starting XI and substitutes from that final and seen how their careers have panned out over the past five years.
GK: Freddie Woodman
Born and raised in Croydon and developed in Crystal Palace’s academy, Woodman moved to Newcastle as a youngster as his father, former professional ‘keeper Andy Woodman, worked there as a coach.
He was named in the Team of the Tournament, but on his return to the Magpies he fell down the pecking order following the signing of Martin Dubravka and never made it beyond the fringes at St. James’ Park.
Woodman was frequently loaned out – no fewer than six times – before finally being sold on a permanent transfer to Preston North End last summer. He played every minute of their 2022-23 campaign and has established himself as a decent Championship goalkeeper.
RWB: Callum Connolly (Fikayo Tomori, ’86)
Perennially away on loan, Connolly made just one Premier League appearance for his boyhood club Everton before getting released in 2021.
The defender then joined newly-promoted Blackpool as a free agent and has been a near-ever present across their past two Championship seasons.
He was replaced late on by Tomori, who was then still at Chelsea’s academy. The centre-back joined AC Milan in 2021 and was one of the key players in their Scudetto win, but he’s frequently been overlooked by Gareth Southgate at international level and has only made three appearances for England.
CB: Jonjoe Kenny
Unlike Connolly, Kenny broke through at Everton and racked up 50 Premier League appearances over the years. But he could never quite nail down a regular first-team spot.
Last summer he was sold to Hertha Berlin.
CB: Dael Fry
The centre-back was named in the Team of the Tournament, and at that point he already had a number of senior appearances under his belt for hometown club Middlesbrough.
Five years on and Fry remains at the Riverside, having notched up almost 200 appearances for the Smoggies.
CB: Jake Clarke-Salter
Clarke-Salter had twice as many loans away from Chelsea as he had senior appearances for the club.
The 25-year-old remains in West London after being sold to QPR last summer. He only made 13 starts in the Championship last term.
LWB: Jay Dasilva
Chelsea academy graduate Dasilva went into the Toulon Tournament having already won three FA Youth Cups and two UEFA Youth Leagues with his club.
He was also a part of the Under-19 squad that won the 2017 Euros and had just been named Charlton’s Fans’ Player of the Year after shining out on loan.
But Dasilva never made a senior appearance for Chelsea and was sold to Bristol City in 2019. He made over 100 appearances for the Robins and has recently joined Coventry City on a free transfer.
CM: Lewis Cook
Cook was named as Toulon Tournament’s second-best player, runner-up to Mexico’s Diego Lainez.
The Leeds United academy graduate rose through the England youth ranks, representing the Young Lions at six different age levels before making his senior debut just before the 2018 World Cup. He also won the Under-17 Euros in 2014 and Under-20 World Cup in 2017 and was named the Football League’s Young Player of the Year back in 2015-16.
Now approaching his eighth season with Bournemouth, Cook is enjoying a better-than-decent club career. But there remains a nagging sense that multiple ACL ruptures have denied him from reaching his potential as a regular in Gareth Southgate’s England squads.
CM: Ronaldo Vieira (Hamza Choudhury, ’56)
A few weeks after he won the Toulon Tournament with England, Leeds sold Vieira to Sampdoria for a £6.2million fee. That was a bold and controversial call in Marcelo Bielsa’s first summer at Elland Road, with many considering Vieira as a superior prospect to fellow homegrown starlet Kalvin Phillips.
It proved an astute decision, with Phillips developing into a favourite of Southgate’s and a member of Pep Guardiola’s treble-winning Manchester City squad. Vieira has notched up a fair number of Serie A appearances but never really kicked on. His future is up in the air following Sampdoria’s relegation last season.
Choudhury spent last season out on loan at Watford. It remains to be seen whether he’ll be reintegrated into Leicester’s plans following their relegation from the Championship.
CAM: Kieran Dowell
The match-winner on the day and another Everton starlet, Dowell only broke through to make a handful of appearances for his boyhood Toffees. Most of his early experience came out on loan in the Championship – Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United, Derby County and Wigan Athletic before he left for good to join Norwich City in 2020.
The midfielder was part of the Canaries’ squad that went up with 97 points in 2020-21 but was also part of the side that came crashing back down just as emphatically. He’s just left Carrow Road to join Rangers.
🏴 Kieran Dowell scores the winner for England U21’s against Mexico U21’s. England won 2-1 and lift the Toulon Tournament pic.twitter.com/rAeAKPz3eR
— 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗧𝗼𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗲 𝗕𝗹𝘂𝗲𝘀 (@EvertonNewsFeed) June 9, 2018
CAM: Edward Nketiah (Adam Armstrong, ’76)
Nketiah’s wonderful solo goal in the semi-finals against Scotland was named the Toulon Tournament’s goal of the tournament.
There had been some questions as to whether the Hale Ender would forge his path away from Arsenal, but he stayed put and is now an important squad player for Mikel Arteta’s rejuvenated Gunners.
Late replacement Armstrong left his hometown of Newcastle to sign for Blackburn Rovers in 2021. He soon proved himself an excellent Championship forward, notching 58 league goals in his three seasons at Ewood Park, but struggled with the step up after joining Southampton – he scored just four goals in 53 Premier League appearances for Saints.
When Eddie Nketiah took a bow against Scotland during the 2018 Tournament ☄️🏴
— Tournoi Maurice Revello #TMR2023 (@TournoiMRevello) April 7, 2022
ST: Tammy Abraham (Lukas Nmecha, ’79)
Abraham had already made his full England debut by the time this youth tournament rolled around.
He’s since earned a further 10 England caps, scoring three goals for the Three Lions, but call-ups from Southgate have been few and far between since he left Chelsea for Jose Mourinho’s Roma in 2021.
Nmecha made three appearances for Pep Guardiola’s Man City but was frequently loaned out before joining Bundesliga club Wolfsburg. He now represents the country of his birth, Germany, alongside his younger brother Felix.