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2010: Connor Wickham

Prodigiously tall striker Connor Wickham capped a spectaular breakthrough season in 2009/10 by scoring the winning goal for England in the UEFA European Under-17 Championship final.
by Paul Saffer
2010: Connor Wickham
England striker Connor Wickham celebrates scoring in the 2010 semi-final against France ©Sportsfile

2010: Connor Wickham

Prodigiously tall striker Connor Wickham capped a spectaular breakthrough season in 2009/10 by scoring the winning goal for England in the UEFA European Under-17 Championship final.

Even before the 2010 UEFA European Under-17 Championship kicked off in Liechtenstein, the 1.91m-tall Connor Wickham had a profile to match his height.

Around 13 months before, on 11 April 2009, the striker became Ipswich Town FC's youngest-ever player when he made his debut for the second-tier club aged 16 years and 11 days against Doncaster Rovers FC. The following season he scored twice and converted a shoot-out penalty in a League Cup defeat of Shrewsbury Town FC and by the end of the campaign was appearing regularly, ending it with more than 30 games to his name. That form was matched on the international stage, notably a 21-minute qualifying round hat-trick against Azerbaijan and further goals in the elite round as England reached the finals with six straight wins.

That perfect run continued in the group stage but it was when the knockout phase arrived that Wickham, deployed as a lone forward, came into his own. In the semi-final against France he effectively settled the tie before half-time with two angled finishes from the left of the box which ensured a 2-1 victory.

England now faced Spain in the final, as they had the only other time they got that far in 2007. On that occasion England lost 1-0 to a Bojan Krkić goal and again three years on Spain scored first. This time, though, Andre Wisdom headed England level before the break and the second half was only two minutes old when Wickham received the ball left of the box parallel to the goal; he went past three defenders and his finish gave keeper Adrián Ortolá no chance.

The trophy was England's for the first time, with Wickham telling UEFA.com: "It is an amazing feeling to get the winning goal for my country. This has topped everything I've done this season." British newspapers were soon linking him with a €10m bid from Tottenham Hotspur FC and in his first Ipswich pre-season match of 2010/11, Wickham popped up with two goals.

Last updated: 12/07/10 18.31CET

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