New England manager Roy Hodgson named his squad for Euro 2012 yesterday, with much of the focus on his decision to leave veteran Rio Ferdinand at home.

 

While Hodgson fielded question after question about Ferdinand, it almost went under the radar that Arsenal’s exciting winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made the plane despite having never played for his country before.

 

England have a good history of having players announce themselves on the international stage with a series of explosive performances, and Oxlade-Chamberlain will be hoping to follow suit this summer in Poland and Ukraine.

 

But who are the fearless youngsters that have made a name for themselves by taking a tournament by storm? GMF investigates…

 

Pele, 1958 World Cup

 

The 17-year-old Pele left an indelible mark on the 1958 World Cup, becoming the youngster ever player to win the tournament with Brazil.

 

In the same tournament he became the youngest ever player to bag a World Cup hat-trick and the youngest ever scorer in the tournament’s final.

 

Now regarded as the greatest of all time, Pele bagged two goals in the final to help his side defeat Sweden 5-2, before breaking down in tears on the shoulder of team-mate Gilmar.

Franz Beckenbauer, 1966 World Cup

 

Having made his debut for Germany just weeks after his 20th birthday in 1965, Franz Beckenbauer would go on to take the ’66 World Cup in England by storm.

 

‘Der Kaiser’ played in every single match including West Germany’s final defeat against England and scored two goals in his debut World Cup game against Switzerland.

 

Beckenbauer finished tied for third on the list of top scorers in the tournament despite not playing in an attacking role having found the back of the net four times overall, including a crucial goal in the semi-finals against the Soviet Union.

 

Michael Owen, 1998 World Cup

 

Today Michael Owen announced that he would not be staying on with Manchester United for next season, but 14 years ago the diminutive striker had the world at his feet.

 

The ‘98 tournament was memorable for plenty of incidents, most notably Ronaldo’s pre-final seizure and France capturing their first ever World Cup win on home soil.

 

But one image endears more than others; Owen’s goal against Argentina. The then-Liverpool striker’s mazy run and fine finish catapulted him into superstardom both back home and around the world aged just 18.

 

Wayne Rooney, Euro 2004

 

Wayne Rooney burst onto the scene as England’s most promising player for a generation back in 2003 as he made his international debut aged just 17 in a friendly against Australia.

 

Rooney’s rampaging style earned him plenty of plaudits as he went on to become the European Championship's youngest ever scorer later that year, although that record was taken away from him by Switzerland’s Johan Vonlanthen four days later.

 

The Everton man bagged four goals in the tournament including an eye-catching brace against Croatia in the group stages, but England were knocked out by Portugal in the quarter-final, with Rooney limping off after just 27 minutes.

 

Thomas Muller, 2010 World Cup

 

Another German who has made an instant impact at a major tournament, Muller had large shoes to fill when he was handed the number 13 shirt, the same number worn by Michael Ballack and Gerd Muller, for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

 

Alongside Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil, Muller led a group of young, attack-minded players and inflicted two huge defeats on England and Argentina in the knockout stages before they came undone in the semi-finals against Spain with Muller suspended.

 

The roving forward claimed five goals and three assists in the tournament, including two against England, and scooped the young player of the tournament award along with the Golden Boo

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Alex
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain