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England dominate emerging talents

The UEFA European Women's U19 Championship in Belarus had some exceptional individual performances. uefa.com takes its pick of ten emerging talents, with winners England featuring heavily.

England goalscorers Toni Duggan and Jordan Nobbs pose with the trophy
England goalscorers Toni Duggan and Jordan Nobbs pose with the trophy ©Sportsfile

The 2009 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship in Belarus had some exceptional individual performances and uefa.com reporters have selected their pick of ten emerging talents. Not surprisingly, winners England feature heavily.

Rebecca Spencer (England) 
England came into the tournament on a run of four clean sheets and added five more in Belarus, thus becoming the first team to win this tournament without conceding. Spencer was key, for no matter how good England's back line was they were breached several times by Norway and Switzerland's Ramona Bachmann, only to run into a goalkeeper whose shot-stopping, poise and distribution bear all the hallmarks of Emma Byrne, her mentor at Arsenal LFC.

Chelsea Weston (England)
Weston admits that when she made her finals bow two years ago she "didn't really know what was happening", but nothing could have been further from the truth in 2009. A reliable, combative presence at right-back, it was the Doncaster Rovers Belles LFC youngster's all-round game that impressed. She scored a stunning goal in the group match against Sweden, set up Toni Duggan with an imperious pass to complete the semi-final victory over Switzerland and ended up with a winners' medal.

Danique Stein (Switzerland) 
The rock upon which the Swiss defence is founded, Switzerland captain Stein is a commanding presence at both ends of the pitch. Strong in the air and comfortable in possession, the centre-back is a veritable leader, frequently cajoling her team-mates and driving the side forward at every opportunity. She weighs in with her share of goals too, scoring here against Belarus and crashing home a 30-metre free-kick on her 19th birthday against Germany.

Léa Rubio (France) 
The diminutive midfielder is about to start studying for a degree in speech therapy but she let her feet do the talking in Belarus. A tenacious ball-winner, Rubio also possesses plenty of ability and her crisp, precise passing is well suited to France's slick style. Exceptional in the victory over Switzerland, Rubio plays the game the way it should be played: with a smile on her face and boundless enthusiasm.

Emilia Appelquist (Sweden) 
To recover from a 3-0 opening-day defeat takes character, and in skipper Appelquist Sweden boast one of the tournament's toughest competitors. Tactically aware, the 19-year-old is the team's fulcrum, usually operating in front of the back four. Her canny positional play kept France at bay for much of the semi-final, then when Sweden needed a goal she moved into a more advanced role and duly laid on the equaliser for Sofia Jakobsson. The final proved one game too many.

Alexandra Popp (Germany) 
One of eight players to step up from the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup squad, Popp had little difficulty adapting to the higher age group. The leggy left-winger was arguably her team's most consistent attacking player, showing off her pace and trickery and providing a steady stream of crosses for the forwards. Indeed, had Germany's strikers worn their shooting boots against Switzerland, the tournament may have turned out very differently for them.

Jordan Nobbs (England) 
She may only be 16 but with a ball at her feet Nobbs belies her age. Occasionally susceptible to early nerves, the midfielder tends to grow in stature as games wear on, scoring twice against Iceland, while her delightful disguised pass to Duggan set England on course to their 3-0 semi-final win. Her 35-metre screamer in the final topped the lot, though. "I've had a drive for football since I was this big," the diminutive Nobbs said, indicating a height not much below her own. But you got the idea.

Toni Duggan (England)
A member of the Everton LFC side pipped to the post in the English top flight, Duggan arrived in Belarus determined to stay for the duration. Her four goals – including two in the semi-final win against Switzerland – helped ensure that, her combination of pace, power and poise causing defenders problems throughout. On to the final where England's lone striker broke the deadlock to ensure it was an 18th birthday she would never forget.

Ramona Bachmann (Switzerland)
Fast, skilful and supremely confident, Bachmann possesses great talent and appears destined for a long and successful career. Capable of dribbling out of the tightest of spaces, the pocket-sized forward was simply too good for Germany. "At times it was Bachmann against my whole defence – we couldn't stop her," rued coach Maren Meinert. She may regret her misses against France and England but her glittering displays lit up the tournament.

Sofia Jakobsson (Sweden) 
A tall, powerful striker, Jakobsson's goals and impressive work rate were among the main reasons for Sweden's success. Her immense presence enables Calle Barrling's team to play a compact 4-5-1 formation and hit teams on the counterattack, and if the 19-year-old is not the most skilful forward in the competition, she has an uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time. Her stunning 21-minute hat-trick against France will live long in the memory.