Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Why Starlets Don't Always Keep Shining ; TALKING FOOTBALL

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Why Starlets Don't Always Keep Shining ; TALKING FOOTBALL

Article excerpt

THE Under-17 FIFA World Cup starts today in the United Arab Emirates.

The competition will receive almost no publicity in England because England didn't qualify for it, just as they failed to qualify for the European Under-17 Championship in Slovakia in May. A group defeat by European champions Russia at Burton Albion in March put paid to England's qualification hopes.

Wayne Rooney was the best player in the 2002 Under-17 Euros when England came third. They won it in 2010, with a team featuring Ross Barkley, Andre Wisdom, Connor Wickham, Josh McEachran and United's Will Keane. Most of their team-mates have found it difficult to progress as expected since.

Opportunities are not always afforded to young players in the Premier League and the odds on a 17-year-old England player progressing to the full national side are slim.

Yet some of football's greatest players have shone at previous Under-17 World Cups. Cesc Fabregas may have been the star of the 2003 tournament, but David Silva also excelled for Spain. Then with Valencia, Silva had a mixed tournament, staying on the bench in the first game, before scoring all three goals in Spain's second match in an 11-minute spell.

That performance had scouts drooling, yet Silva was sent off in the third game against the USA, then banned for the fourth and fifth before playing in the final defeat to Brazil.

Ronaldinho was the best player of the 1997 tournament in Egypt, playing in all Brazil's seven straight victories and the final where they beat Ghana 2-1 in front of 35,000 in Cairo. None of his team- mates came close to matching his success, though winger Giovanni did play for Barcelona, City, Benfica and others.

Bayern Munich's Tony Kroos was the main man in 2007, scoring seven goals for third-placed Germany in Korea. A month later he became Bayern's youngestever player. Aged 23, Kroos has already been capped 38 times for the full national side.

Neymar stood out in 2009 in Nigeria. A wonder goal against Japan saw him described as the next Pele, yet Barcelona and Real Madrid had already had their advances rejected for the 16-year-old Brazilian. …

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