From Haaland to Gordon: what happened to the 2017 Next Generation?

Photo of author

By Creative Media News

Identifying talent in football can be a tough and risky endeavor. There are so many obstacles along the way, and a player who is exceptional at 16 may not make it for a variety of reasons, including a lack of form and/or confidence, injuries, and a multitude of personal issues.

Occasionally, however, a player emerges who is so talented that he or she looks destined for greatness. Erling Haaland, previously known as Erling Braut Hland, is one of them. Certainly, a severe accident may have destroyed his career, but he was one of those children who stood out from a young age.

Haaland was a member of our 2017 Next Generation international team, and based on the performance of the players over the past five years, he tops the list. According to some, he is the greatest player in the world (although that is a different discussion).

From haaland to gordon: what happened to the 2017 next generation?
From haaland to gordon: what happened to the 2017 next generation?

Alf Ingve Berntsen, Haaland’s first coach at Bryne in Norway, noted in an excellent article for The Coaches’ Voices that the player’s environment also plays a role: “Having a safe and good environment, having Inge as a father, and being surrounded by his childhood friends has helped him tremendously. In addition to his father’s influence, he needed to grow up in a community like Bryne, where he did not receive the media attention that young sportsmen receive today.

Even if he had grown up in a large city, such as Madrid, Paris, or London, Erling would have become a brilliant player because he always wanted to have fun and enjoyed to exercise. But perhaps in Bryne it is simpler for young players to grow up without pressure and enjoy football without taking it too seriously than in other cities.

Berntsen jokes that Haaland was deemed “too little and underweight” even at the ages of 15 and 16. It just demonstrates that various players mature at different ages.

But neither Michael Yokhin, who selected Haaland for our Next Generation 2017 team nor Berntsen could have foreseen how talented the Norwegian would become. As we all know, the statistics are startling. At Molde, he scored 20 goals in 50 matches, at Red Bull Salzburg, 29 in 27, at Dortmund, 86 in 89, and he has scored 14 goals in 10 games for Manchester City.

From haaland to gordon: what happened to the 2017 next generation?

However, Haaland is not the only one of the sixty players to have performed well. Alphonso Davies, Vincius Jnior, Ferrán Torres, Jadon Sancho, and Pedro Neto are also on the list.

In reality, 22 of the players have played for their national senior men’s squad (it was 18 when we summarised the class of 2016 last year).

We also select twenty of the most promising young players from Premier League clubs each year, however the age range for these players is slightly different: they must have been born between 1 September and 31 August of a given year and be first-year scholars. For Next Gen 2017, this meant being born between September 1, 2000, and August 31, 2001.

On Merseyside, where Andy Hunter selected Anthony Gordon for Everton and Curtis Jones for Liverpool, this roster also featured several exceptional players. Both have participated in over 40 Premier League games for their respective clubs. Gordon, who is 56 years old, was the subject of multiple summer offers from Chelsea. This is what Andy wrote about Gordon in 2017:

Curtis Jones scored twice as Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool defeated Everton’s under-18s 3-1 at Kirkby in the opening “mini-derby” of the season, although Gordon displayed his talent once again. The offensive midfielder is gaining a reputation for his ability to overcome an opponent and his precision finishing, and he displayed both qualities as he put Everton ahead against their local rivals. This summer, Everton hired 12 academy graduates full-time, including the 16-year-old.

Gordon and Jones do not have the most Premier League appearances among the 20 players. This honor goes to Ivan Ilic, who was with Manchester City at the time but has since played 68 Serie A games for Hellas Verona, despite being just 21 years old.

Other notable Premier League players included Callum Hudson-Odoi, who is on loan at Bayer Leverkusen this season, and Nathan Collins, who joined Wolves this summer for £20.5 million, a record amount for an Irish player.

Several players have followed in Ilic’s footsteps and moved abroad, some to their native nations, such as Arnau Puigmal, who left Manchester United for Almera in 2021 and currently plays for them in La Liga.

There will always be players that slip down divisions or cease playing. Two players are now in the seventh tier, while one appears to have left the game.

What is a prosperous career? This is likely a matter of individual choice. One thing is certain, however: there is no purpose in comparing anyone to Erling Haaland, as doing so can only end in disaster. His international teammate Joshua King once described him as “a freak.” “I’ve never seen anyone consume that much food as he does. He consumes food like a bear.”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to content