Mark Hateley announced himself on the international stage in some style, scoring six goals in the knockout stages as England became the first ever side to retain the UEFA European Under-21 Championship trophy. Having made his debut for Coventry City FC as a 17-year-old, much was expected of Hateley, the son of former Nottingham Forest FC forward Tony, but it was not until his switch to Portsmouth FC in summer 1983 that his career really took off.
By then England U21s were already on course for a place in the last eight, and although he had contributed little, blistering league form for his new employers made the 22-year-old irresistible for manager Dave Sexton. Hateley repaid the faith with aplomb in the quarter-final first leg, scoring four times as England overwhelmed France 6-1. He scored the only goal of the game in the second encounter from the penalty spot, before England steered their way past Italy in the last-four to book a final date with Spain.
Mel Sterland's goal silenced the majority of the 30,000 packed inside the Ramón-Sánchez-Pizuán stadium in the first leg, but it was Hateley that sealed matters at Bramall Lane as England triumphed 3-0 on aggregate. It marked a fine end to his ten-game U21 career as a month later he made his senior debut against the USSR, before being signed by Italian giants AC Milan. He moved to AS Monaco FC in 1987, winning a Ligue 1 championship medal the following season but it is with Rangers FC that he is indelibly linked, having helped the side to six titles.
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