Top five England under 21 sides
Star man: Justin Fashanu
Notables: Mike Duxbury, Sammy Lee, Paul Goddard
The England Under 21 side picked up its first major success after its formation in 1976 by picking up the 1982 European Under 21 title. A two-legged victory over West Germany in the final topped off the achievement. Incredibly, while the side were recording a 3-1 in the first-leg of the final, an alternative England Under 21 side played a match against Denmark and also won. So the 1982 team definitely had strength in depth!
Star man: Mark Hateley
Notables: Steve Hodge, Dave Watson, Mark Chamberlain
The under 21 class of ’84 were England’s last winners of significant silverware when they lifted the 1984 European Under 21 Championship trophy. They secured victory with a 3-0 aggregate victory over Spain in the final. A large proportion of the squad went on to gain full England honours, but only star striker Hateley and midfielder Steve Hodge really cemented their places at senior level.
Star man: James Milner
Notables: Micah Richards, Theo Walcott, Joe Hart
A strong showing last time out saw England reach the final, where they were humiliated 4-0 by Germany. Suspensions for Fraizer Campbell, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Hart meant England were under-strength for that match, but they generally gave a good account of themselves during the competition.
Star man: Paul Gascoigne
Notables: David Rocastle, Martin Keown, Des Walker
Driven on by Gazza, they were the last England under 21 side to reach the European Championship semi-finals until the crop of 2007. They lost 6-4 on aggregate in the semi-final to a France side containing one Eric Cantona.
Star man: Leroy Lita
Notables: Ashley Young, James Milner, Leighton Baines
The 2007 team got the Under 21 set-up back on track after a large period of underachievement. They made it to the semi-finals, where they were defeated by eventual winners Holland in a match that will always be remembered for its mammoth 13 – 12 penalty shootout.