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Rooney delight as U17 finals head for England

The 2017 UEFA European U17 Championship will be staged in Croatia while two-time winners England will host the 2018 finals to the delight of Wayne Rooney.

Ryan Ledson lifts the trophy with England in 2014
Ryan Ledson lifts the trophy with England in 2014 ©Domenic Aquilina

Croatia has been chosen to stage the 2017 UEFA European Under-17 Championship, with the UEFA Executive Committee selecting England as hosts for the 2018 final tournament to the delight of Wayne Rooney.

England senior captain Rooney told theFA.com: "I am delighted that UEFA has chosen St. George's Park for the 2018 U17 European Championship. I have never had the opportunity to play in a home based tournament so the experience for our U17 squad should be extra special and I hope that the lads seize the opportunity. Playing for England in the U17 finals in 2002 was, at the time, the proudest moment of my life."

England lifted the title in 2010 and 2014. The Football Association (FA) staged the 2014 UEFA European Women's U17 Championship, and England have done well as hosts in past men's competitions. The class of 1984 won the UEFA European U21 Championship, Mark Hateley and Howard Gayle scoring in a 2-0 final victory against Spain at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Darren Caskey's penalty against Turkey won England the 1993 U18 crown in Nottingham.

The 2017 finals will be the first men's UEFA youth tournament to be held in Croatia. The last UEFA tournament played in Croatia was the 2008/09 finals of Europe's top amateur competition, the UEFA Regions' Cup. Croatia last figured in the U17 finals in 2013, while their most successful campaign to date took them to the semi-finals in 2005. A team featuring future senior internationals Ivan Kelava, Milan Badelj, Dejan Lovren and Nikola Kalinić lost to Turkey.

Bulgaria will hold the 2015 final tournament from 6–18 May, the first since the return to a 16-team event. Azerbaijan are the 2016 hosts.

A full rundown of hosts appointed on Monday is available here.

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