Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Satire: The English U-20 World Cup Winners In 2020 Including Solanke Leaving Liverpool For £65m

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Will Godley
Will is a lifelong Brentford fan. Currently 20, he dreams of being a full-time writer one day.

In his latest piece, our columnist Will Godley creates an image of where England’s victorious U20 side will be in 5 years’ time. Paul Simpson’s young Lions defeated Venezuela 1-0 in the U20 World Cup final, on Sunday. England’s first world football title in 51 years coming courtesy of a first-half Dominic Calvert-Lewin winner in Suwon.

However, much talk in the aftermath was about the future of the young squad. How many first-team opportunities would they receive in the ensuing years? Despite their success, there is still scepticism over whether this generation will turn out any differently to the others.

England’s victorious U20 World Cup final squad, 5 years on:

Starting 11:

Freddie Woodman (Goalkeeper) – The Godson of then England manager Gareth Southgate, proved to be the hero on that memorable day in South Korea. His late penalty save from Adalberto Penaranda, ensured that the Three Lions held on for a memorable victory.

Afterwards, he only managed to make a handful of appearances for Newcastle United and was sent out on loan twice, before moving on to Championship side Aston Villa. There, he has become the club’s number one and helped lead the Midlands outfit back to the promised land of the Premier League. Woodman has made 3 England appearances.

Jake Clarke-Salter (Centre-back) – One of Chelsea’s many promising youth prospects, Clarke-Salter managed to make 8 appearances for the Blues first-team. His Chelsea highlight came when he put in a composed display in the side’s 2019 2-0 home win over Liverpool, in the Premier League.

After a couple of loan spells at Vitesse Arnhem and Newcastle United, Clarke-Salter joined Southampton where he has struggled to hold down a first-team place. He is currently on loan at Norwich City.

Fikayo Tomori (Centre-back) – Tomori went viral early on in England’s U20 World Cup campaign when he scored a spectacular long-range own goal against Guinea in the group phase. However, he recovered from that embarrassment and had a solid tournament.

The Canadian-born defender, played 20 times for Chelsea and was liked by former manager Antonio Conte. However, his game time reduced when the Italian was sacked and Tomori joined Liverpool two summers ago when his Blues contract expired. At Anfield, he has impressed and won the FA Cup last season. Tomori has made 12 England appearances to date.

Kyle Walker-Peters (Full-back) – Walker-Peters has been one of the success stories of the squad. When his namesake Kyle Walker was sold, he and Kieran Trippier enjoyed a battle for the right-back position at Tottenham Hotspur. It is a battle he has now won. The 25-year old is a mainstay for Tottenham and England.

He made 3 appearances in the 2020 European Championships and has been touted to achieve greater things in the years to come.

Jonjoe Kenny (Full-back) – Kenny was a workhorse in the 2017 England side but has struggled to stay on an upward trajectory since. He featured 8 times in total at Everton, thanks to Ronald Koeman’s eagerness to promote from within.

Having failed to hold down a first-team place for the Toffees, Kenny signed for Preston North End in the Championship, after a successful loan spell. Last summer he joined Sheffield United for a fee of £725k.

Lewis Cook (Midfielder) – The first England football captain to lift a World Cup trophy since 1966. Cook impressed in South Korea after a frustrating first campaign at AFC Bournemouth. The next season he received more opportunities for the Cherries but failed to make a place in the first-team stick, ultimately.

In a quest to revive his career, the former Leeds United man joined Huddersfield Town in the Championship. Last season the Terriers were relegated to League One, meaning that Cook will be a third division player in the upcoming campaign.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Forward) – Calvert-Lewin stole the headlines in the final against Venezuela, as he followed in an initial shot on goal to scramble home the winner from close range, during the first-half. One of the most established Premier League players in the team, he had an impressive final.

The next couple of seasons provided plenty of first-team chances for the Yorkshireman. He even received a first England senior call-up from Gareth Southgate but didn’t feature. At present, he plays for West Ham United. In the famous claret and blue, he has shown glimpses, without becoming an influential member of the side just yet.

Josh Onomah (Midfielder) – Onomah shone during the tournament. The only blip coming in the form of a highly contentious red card he picked up in the quarter-finals, against Mexico. After his showings in South Korea, a handful of Premier League clubs expressed an interest in taking the Tottenham academy graduate on loan. Eventually, he signed for Huddersfield Town, where he had a strong campaign.

In the summer of 2019, Onomah left Spurs permanently having displayed frustration at his position down the pecking order. A season at Watford proved unfruitful before AS Monaco gave him a chance to revive his career in France. So far, he has made just 13 first-team appearances in an injury-hit 2 years, in the principality.

Dominic Solanke (Forward) – Of all the players in the squad, Solanke was probably the most highly rated. A flurry of goals in the latter rounds led to the 19-year old being awarded the tournament Golden Ball. Such an accolade provided great pressure. Previous winners include Diego Maradona, Luis Figo, Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Paul Pogba.

Solanke had already agreed on a move to Liverpool before the conclusion of the U20 World Cup. He decided to leave Chelsea for first-team opportunities and was handed 26 games in all competitions the next season, by Jurgen Klopp – scoring 9 goals. In his second term with the Reds, he struck 17 goals as they won the League Cup. That summer, he completed a £65m move to PSG, for whom he won the league and cup double in his first year. 65 goals in 102 appearances for the Parisians, is an impressive return so far. For England, he has also scored 19 goals in 32 appearances.

Ademola Lookman (Forward/winger) – Lookman entertained audiences in South Korea with several displays of energy and skill. He had signed for Everton the previous January, from League One side Charlton Athletic. Premier League fans would have recognised his name before the tournament as the man who scored the Toffees’ 4th goal on debut, in a 4-0 thumping of Manchester City that year.

The 24-year old is still at Everton now. In the ensuing years, he has become a key player for the Merseyside club. Lookman has 4 England caps to date and 1 goal.

Kieran Dowell (Midfielder) – Not a name that most will remember. Dowell was a fixture during England’s World Cup triumph but has faded since.

He left Everton in 2020, having made 4 senior appearances. He was sent out on 2 loan spells, before deciding to move on. Dowell signed for Championship strugglers Bolton Wanderers, where he made an immediate impact. He is still there now.

Used substitutes:

Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Winger, midfielder or right-back) – Maitland-Niles was promoted to the Arsenal senior squad after the tournament and managed to amass 67 appearances for Arsenal before eventually leaving for Crystal Palace, in the summer of 2021.

He has been capped by the England senior team, with 16 caps to his name so far.

Sheyi Ojo (Winger) – Touted as a potential replacement for Raheem Sterling, when he joined Manchester City, Ojo was always rated highly by Liverpool. At the U20 World Cup, he was unlucky not to receive more game time and was influential in England’s semi-final against Italy when he was called from the bench.

Ojo was sent out on loan to Championship outfit Norwich City the following season and displayed his precocious talents at Carew Road. Jurgen Klopp, though, never gave him a genuine opportunity at Liverpool. In 2019, he decided to try his luck elsewhere. The former MK Dons youth player, joined Premier League side, Brighton, for £4.6m. After a slow first year on the South-Coast, Ojo has found his feet over the last couple of seasons and made his England debut against Estonia, earlier this year – creating a goal for Harry Kane.


Paul Simpson – The former Preston North End manager won the U20 World Cup in what was his first year in the role. In the process, he became only the second England manager to win a world football title.

Such success led to increased expectations. In his next U20 World Cup, his side reached the quarter-finals, where they were knocked out by Chile.

In 2021, he became England U21 manager but couldn’t get his team out of the group stages at the European Championships that summer. He left the role afterwards and has returned to senior coaching. He is currently in charge of Northampton Town in League One.

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