Stars of the future set to grace Proact

Wayne Rooney with the trophy before the UEFA European U17 Championship Finals draw at St. George's Park, Burton upon Trent, UK on the 5th April 2018. ''Photo: Lynne Cameron for FA
Wayne Rooney with the trophy before the UEFA European U17 Championship Finals draw at St. George's Park, Burton upon Trent, UK on the 5th April 2018. ''Photo: Lynne Cameron for FA

Football fans will get the opportunity to see the stars of tomorrow grace Chesterfield FC’s pitch on Sheffield Road this summer.

Talented players from 16 nations will compete at the UEFA European Under-17 Championship, with England set to kick-off their tournament against Israel on Friday 4th May (7pm) at the home of the Spireites.

The country’s best prospects will be on show in the town as Steve Cooper’s young lions look to go one better than last year’s heartbreaking final defeat to Spain on penalties.

Jadon Sancho was named player of the tournament last year, following in the footsteps of some of the game’s greatest players who have gone on to win major club and international honours.

Past winners of the best player award include World Cup winners Cesc Fabregas, Toni Kroos and Mario Gotze, in 2004, 2006 and 2009 respectively.

England’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney won the award in 2002, as England finished third, and since then the Three Lions have been champions twice, in 2010 and 2014.

Those teams featured current England players Jack Butland, Ross Barkley and Joe Gomez, who used the tournament as a stepping stone for senior international success.

Two other notable England performers were Connor Wickham, player of the tournament during the 2010 victory, and Dominic Solanke, who finished as joint top scorer in 2014 with four goals.

The list of players to have featured in the tournament over the years reads like a who’s who of top performers in European football.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Pique, Samir Nasri, David de Gea, David Silva, Ivan Rakitic, Eden Hazard, Isco, Koke, Paul Pogba and Raheem Sterling are just some of the continent’s biggest stars to have played in the tournament in years gone by.

After Israel, England’s second game will be against Italy at Walsall FC on Monday 7 May (3pm), before they head to Rotherham on Thursday 10 May (7pm) for their final group match against Switzerland.