England Under-20s: Is this the country's next golden generation?

England Under 20s celebrate
Dominic Solanke, who recently left Chelsea to join Liverpool, was the tournament's golden boot winner

England have won the Under-20 World Cup after beating Venezuela 1-0 in the final.

Up until that triumph, courtesy of Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin's first-half goal, previous U20 sides had failed to win a single game at the tournament in the past two decades.

Their previous best performance was finishing third in 1993.

Of that squad, only four players went on to represent England at senior level. But many had successful top-flight careers, including a Premier League and Champions League winner.

Is this 2017 side a potential 'golden generation'? Will they get their break in the Premier League? Are they the future England squad for the 2022 World Cup?

England manager Gareth Southgate has described the team's progress as "brilliant for youth development in our country".

He added: "There's a lot of talent. Hopefully the world will see what is happening there.

"Everyone says we don't have good youth development and people search to bring people in when players are there under their noses.

"Our coaching and youth development and young players get knocked, but why shouldn't young English players be able to achieve?

"There's no problem with talent. That group have a very strong mentality. They've been through a lot together as a group, and recovered from knocks. They've mixed ability with hard work."

So who are they?

Goalkeepers: Freddie Woodman (Newcastle), Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Luke Southwood (Reading)

Defenders: Dael Fry (Middlesbrough), Jonjoe Kenny (Everton), Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea), Kyle Walker-Peters (Tottenham), Callum Connolly (Everton), Jake Clarke-Salter (Chelsea), Ezri Konsa Ngoyo (Charlton)

Midfielders: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Kieran Dowell (Everton), Josh Onomah (Tottenham), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal), Ovie Ejaria (Liverpool), Sheyi Ojo (Liverpool)

Forwards: Adam Armstrong (Newcastle), Ademola Lookman (Everton), Harrison Chapman (Middlesbrough), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Dominic Solanke (Chelsea, joining Liverpool on 1 July)

Recent call-ups also include Tammy Abraham and Izzy Brown, who have moved on to the U21s, and Celtic's treble-winning winger Patrick Roberts, who is injured.

Manchester United's Axel Tuanzebe and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson are other recent U20 players who have made Premier League appearances.

England U20s
England have never reached the final of the U20 World Cup

How much first-team football have they played?

Of the 21-man squad, 16 played senior league football this season, half of them on loan, while striker Adam Armstrong played for both loan club Barnsley and parent club Newcastle.

Everton forward Ademola Lookman also represented two sides this season, having joined the Toffees from Charlton for £11m in January.

Club league appearances 2016-17 season
Dean HendersonGrimsby Town (loan)77630
Freddie WoodmanKilmarnock (loan)14141260
Jake Clarke-SalterBristol Rovers (loan)129841
Callum ConnollyWigan Athletic (loan)17141302
Dael FryRotherham (loan)1010900
Jonjoe KennyEverton1012
Fikayo TomoriBrighton (loan)92390
Ezri Konsa NgoyoCharlton32302547
Lewis CookBournemouth64431
Ovie EjariaLiverpool206
Ainsley Maitland-NilesArsenal101
Josh OnomahTottenham5018
Adam ArmstrongBarnsley (loan)34211922
Adam ArmstrongNewcastle2027
Dominic Calvert-LewinEverton115345
Harrison ChapmanSheffield United (loan)120280
Ademola LookmanCharlton21151426
Ademola LookmanEverton (signed in January)83290

The current side have made a total of 72 Premier League appearances to date, Armstrong leading the way with 15, having made his top-flight debut as a late substitute in Newcastle's 1-0 defeat by Fulham on 15 March 2014.

Everton's Kieran Dowell and Liverpool's Sheyi Ojo made no senior league appearances this season but both represented their teams in the 2015-16 Premier League campaign.

Dowell made his debut in a final-day win over Norwich, while Ojo played eight times after being recalled in January from a loan spell at Wolves and has appeared twice for the Reds in the FA Cup this season.

Captain Lewis Cook joined Bournemouth from Leeds last summer but only made six Premier League appearances due to a persistent ankle injury.

Reading keeper Luke Southwood, Spurs full-back Kyle Walker-Peters and Chelsea striker Dominic Solanke are the only players without a full competitive senior appearance - the latter perhaps moving to Liverpool in search of first-team football.

Ezri Konsa
Erzi Konza made his Charlton debut this season and played 39 times in all competitions

Better off at a lower level?

Ezri Konsa has comfortably played the most minutes of the current squad this season, having been a first-team fixture at League One side Charlton.

However, the versatile 19-year-old, who can play at centre-back and in midfield, was only called up into the England U20 squad after Brentford's Rico Henry sustained an injury. His first action in South Korea came as a last-minute substitute against Italy.

Newcastle's Armstrong has started fewer games than Konsa but made more appearances, once again benefitting from a loan move to fellow Championship side Barnsley, having scored 20 goals in 40 appearances for Coventry in the 2015-16 League One season.

Lookman has played the third most minutes, having been a regular alongside Konsa at Charlton before making eight Premier League appearances for Everton.

The Everton connection

Just three days after the sacking of former manager Roberto Martinez in May last year, Everton responded with a vibrant 3-0 win over already-relegated Norwich at Goodison Park.

Victory provided a brief lift at the end of a poor season but was more notable for the impressive performances of several youngsters selected by interim boss David Unsworth - a member of the England U20 squad in 1993.

Dowell and defender Jonjoe Kenny stood out, fellow U20 international Callum Connolly was an unused substitute and Tom Davies made his first start, leaving Unsworth noticeably proud.

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Everton youngsters 'outstanding' - David Unsworth

Although Davies has gone on to become a vital part of current boss Ronald Koeman's plans, Dowell was unused this season and Kenny only played once, while Connolly was sent out on loan to eventually relegated Championship side Wigan Athletic.

However, Dominic Calvert-Lewin has made 11 Premier League appearances this season and the highly-rated Lookman scored on a memorable 4-0 debut win over Manchester City.

And current Everton boss Ronald Koeman has indicated an appreciation of his young talent, by allowing all five Everton members of the Under-20 squad to miss the last two weeks of the season in preparation for the World Cup.

Nicky Barmby
Nicky Barmby was part of England's squad for Euro 96 and Euro 2000

What happened to the 1993 squad?

The history of England youth sides is awash with false dawns and the U20s have proved an erratic measure of future success in the past.

In the 2013 U20 World Cup, England finished bottom of a group containing Iraq, Chile and Egypt, despite a squad featuring subsequent senior internationals Harry Kane, Eric Dier, John Stones, Ross Barkley, Jon Flanagan and James Ward-Prowse.

The 1993 side, captained by then Spurs midfielder Darren Caskey, went much further as they lost in the semi-finals to Ghana before beating Australia in the third-placed play-off thanks to Julian Joachim's late winner.

But they produced fewer England internationals - Nicky Butt (39), Nick Barmby (23), Alan Thompson (one) and Unsworth (one) collected 64 senior caps in total, while Andy Johnson won 15 senior caps for Wales.

Butt was the youngest member of the squad at the time and did not start any of the matches, but went on to win six Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the Champions League as part of the 1999 treble with Manchester United.

Taking the statistics from the end of their careers, the 1993 team amassed 2,579 Premier League games between them and all but three made a top-flight appearance.

PositionPlayerPL appearancesEngland caps
GKSimon Sheppard00
GKDavid Watson300
DFMarvin Harriot00
DFAnthony Hughes00
DFAndrew Myers1030
DFIan Pearce2380
DFDavid Unsworth3641
DFSteve Watson3510
MFNick Barmby34323
MFChris Bart-Williams2110
MFNicky Butt41139
MFDarren Caskey320
MFAndy Johnson1010
MFJamie Pollock790
MFIan Selley410
MFAlan Thompson1051
FWJulian Joachim1560
FWAdie Mike140

'It's tough to know why we didn't kick on'

"I don't know why more of that group didn't go on to get senior caps," says Caskey, who began his career at Tottenham but left for Reading in search of first-team opportunities and is now assistant to manager Gary Mills at York City.

"The late David Burnside was manager at the time and we played very direct football but had some good players and when you have good players you always have half a chance.

"Brazil won that 1993 tournament, but how many went on to play for their senior team? [Keeper Dida won 91 caps, striker Mario Jardel won 10, defenders Argel and Marcelinho Paulista got one, the rest had none].

"In this country, people can put English players down and look at the negatives. A lot of people think English kids are not as good as Spanish or German kids but I don't believe that.

"It's just a lot more difficult now for England youth players to go on and get into Premier League teams. When I was at Spurs, there were just one or two of the best foreign players in each team but now it's a lot tougher.

"I think a lot of English players are good enough but now whether the players of one age group go on to become senior internationals comes down to just a little bit of luck."

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