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Ten Under-17 stars to watch

Published: Monday 31 May 2010, 12.47CET
As usual the 2010 UEFA European Under-17 Championship showcased an array of talents that caught the eye; selects ten, including one from each team, to watch out for.
by Paul Saffer, Tom Kell, Ben Gladwell & Sébastian Billington
from Liechtenstein

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Published: Monday 31 May 2010, 12.47CET

Ten Under-17 stars to watch

As usual the 2010 UEFA European Under-17 Championship showcased an array of talents that caught the eye; selects ten, including one from each team, to watch out for.

Jack Butland (goalkeeper, England)
On the bench for England's first two wins, Butland replaced Samuel Johnstone for the Turkey encounter with his team through. The tall Birmingham City FC keeper's performance was so impressive, he retained his place and aided England to victory as they held on to beat Spain 2-1 in the final.

Tiago Ferreira (defender, Portugal)
FC Porto's Ferreira combined superbly in central defence with Tobias Figueiredo and Portugal conceded only three goals in the whole finals, two of them late on against Spain when Rui Bento's side had to chase a big win. Being schooled by Bento, no mean defender himself, is an added plus.

Mattia Desole (defender, Switzerland)
Left-back Desole already has a reputation – FC Internazionale Milano signed him from Grasshopper-Club in June 2008 – and although injury-hit Switzerland struggled in three defeats, Desole looked the equal of his opponents having already featured in his nation's fine defensive performance in the elite round.

Konstantinos Rougkalas (defender, Greece)
Up front, captain Dimitrios Diamantakos, the hero in qualifying, was dominant for Greece but they mainly impressed in defence, conceding only once against England and holding the Czech Republic 0-0. Olympiacos FC player Rougkalas was a solid presence in a well-drilled backline.

Tomáš Kalas (Czech Republic)
The Czech Republic too had an impressive defence. Although Filip Twardzik made a costly slip against Turkey, the Celtic FC centre-back bolstered his reputation while alongside him Kalas did a sterling job, though a red card against Greece ended his tournament early.

Taşkın Çalış (winger, Turkey)
There was plenty of focus on three-goal Turkey captain Artun Akçakin but he was aided in his task by VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach winger Taşkın. It was the No7's clever deep corner that helped put Turkey briefly ahead against England and Taşkın also equalised in the semi-final with Spain, though his side were to lose 3-1.

Abdoulaye Doucouré (midfielder, France)
Turkey's fellow beaten semi-finalists France had a talented team, including Yaya Sanogo up front and another tall player, Paul Pogba, in midfield. Stade Rennais FC's Doucouré has a lower profile than that pair, but proved a real prospect, showing great skill and coolness to set up Pogba to give France hope in their semi-final loss to England.

Gerard (forward, Spain)
In Gerard and Jesé Rodríguez, Spain had two superb wingers lurking on the touchlines blessed with skill and pace. Of the two, the pick was FC Barcelona man Gerard, who scored twice in the group stage against Portugal, including one straight from a corner, and lit up the final with the opening goal and an array of tricks. England won but left-back Luke Garbutt will not forget Gerard in a hurry.

Connor Wickham (forward, England)
England had talent running through their team from Garbutt in defence to Conor Coady in midfield and Joshua McEachran supporting the attack. Up front they had a formidable pair, Arsenal FC striker Benik Afobe supporting the strapping Wickham, already a senior regular for Ipswich Town FC. He did not score in the group stage but two in the semi-final defeat of France and the winner against Spain – a piece of superb control and cool finishing –  capped a season to remember.

Paco (forward, Spain)
He drew a blank in the final but that was out of character. Paco's six goals in the finals, a winner against France, a hat-trick to beat Switzerland and two in the semi-final dismissal of Turkey, left him three clear of anyone else in Liechtenstein. Including qualifying, the Valencia CF forward managed a tournament record 14.

This list has been determined by reporters working at the tournament. The UEFA Technical Team will produce an official squad of the tournament as part of their technical report on the finals.

Last updated: 08/12/13 6.22CET

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