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WU19 EURO: a springboard to success

As the dust settles on the Women's World Cup the next generation are preparing for their own finals – the WU19 EURO has launched many careers over the years.

England goalscorers Toni Duggan and Jordan Nobbs pose with the trophy in 2009
England goalscorers Toni Duggan and Jordan Nobbs pose with the trophy in 2009 ©Sportsfile

The dust has barely settled on the FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada, but for 144 of the next generation attention has already switched to the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship in Israel. Kick-off for the 14th edition of the finals is now only a week away and, as UEFA.com discovers, the tournament has provided firm foundations for many stars.

England achieved their best ever finish in Canada, surprising many by reaching the semi-finals and then recording a first win in 21 attempts against Germany to grab third place. Manager Mark Sampson understandably took a lot of the plaudits, but the breakthrough was a long time in the making. The U19 setup has been a key part of that.

Of the 23-strong squad, 18 had WU19 EURO experience, including four members of the victorious 2009 side: Jordan Nobbs, Toni Duggan, Jade Moore and Lucy Bronze. Lucy was still Lucia back then. Two players – Casey Stoney and Katie Chapman – were too old when the inaugural U19 finals took place in 2001/02, so, effectively, only three did not follow the U19 route.

"After the 2009 final, some older players would ask the younger ones about their experience when usually it is the other way round," recalled Bronze. "They have played so many internationals, and they are asking, 'How did you win?' We are the ones that know how to do it. It was brilliant, one of the highlights of my career. It was a great experience."

Out of the eight European teams in Canada, six boasted WU19 EURO-winning experience. Like England, there were four previous victors in the Germany squad (Saskia Bartusiak also lifted the U18 title back in 2000), while quarter-finalists France boasted seven from the classes of 2003 and 2013, and there were three apiece for Sweden (2012) and Spain (2004). WU19 EURO success can have a long legacy.

Some make the jump to the first team quicker than others. Vivianne Miedema and Jill Roord were already senior internationals when they helped the Netherlands to a historic triumph last summer. Twelve months on and they were at the vanguard of the Oranje's first campaign, helping them through to the knockout stages. Whose turn is it this time?

England squad's WU19 EURO experience
Karen Bardsley – 2003
Alex Scott – 2002, 2003
Claire Rafferty – 2007, 2008
Fara Williams – 2003
Steph Houghton – 2005
Laura Bassett – 2002
Jordan Nobbs – 2008, 2009, 2010
Jill Scott – 2005
Eniola Aluko – 2003, 2005
Karen Carney – 2005
Jade Moore – 2007, 2008, 2009
Lucy Bronze – 2009, 2010
Siobhan Chamberlain – none
Alex Greenwood – 2012
Casey Stoney – none
Katie Chapman – none
Josanne Potter – 2003
Toni Duggan – 2008, 2009, 2010
Jodie Taylor – none
Lianne Sanderson – 2005
Carly Telford – 2003, 2005
Fran Kirby – none
Ellen White – 2007