What happened next for the European Championship's youngest ever stars

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When Marcus Rashford came on for England against Wales, he became the fifth youngest player to feature in a European Championship game – but what happened to the other four?

The Manchester United man may have fared well against Chris Coleman’s team but it has been a mixed bag for young players who shone brightly from an early age at the Euros.

Here is what happened next for those four other 18-year-old debutantes – will any of these fates befall Rashford in the year to come? Let’s have a look...


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Jetro Willems – The Netherlands

The PSV Eindhoven full back made became the youngest ever player to feature at a European Championship against Denmark at Euro 2012 at the age of 18 years and 71 days.

It proved to be baptism of fire though with Willems playing in all three of Holland’s defeats to Denmark, Germany and Portugal where his inexperience was frequently exposed.

Still with PSV in Holland, Willems enjoyed an impressive 2014/15 campaign with 14 assists to his name. Injury issues hampered the Dutchman last season though.

Johan Vonlanthen - Switzerland

Vonlanthen became the youngest ever goalscorer at a European Championship in 2004, beating a record set by Wayne Rooney – who was three months older - just four days earlier.

With PSV at the time, he went on to enjoy a nomadic few years that included stints in Italy, Austria and Switzerland before announcing his retirement at the age of 26 in 2012.

Having shunned football for a life in the Seventh-day Adventist church, Vonlanthen had a change of heart a year later and is now with Servette in Switzerland.

Valeri Bojinov - Bulgaria

A Football Manager favourite, Bojinov made his international bow at Euro 2004 against Italy.

Signed by Fiorentina in 2005, he moved on to Juventus before Sven Goran Erikkson brought him to Manchester City.

Things soon unravelled at the Etihad though with a knee ligament injury followed by an Achilles problem keeping him out for long stretches of the season.

Though these issues have hampered his progress, the 30-year-old has at least found some form, having scored 18 goals in 31 league games for current employers Partizan Belgrade. 

Enzo Scifo – Belgium

Born in Belgium to Italian parents, Scifo first emerged on the scene at Euro ’84 making his debut in a game against Yugoslavia that Belgium won 2-0.

Named Best Young Player at the World Cup two years later, Scifo helped Belgium make it all the way to the semi-finals, enjoying a fantastic career both at club level and internationally.

Capped 84 times by Belgium with 18 goals to his name, Scifo also turned out for Inter Milan, Auxerre, Torino and Monaco during a lengthy career that ended in 2000 when he was diagnosed with chronic arthritis. Retired a living legend.

Which of these players to you think Rashford can emulate? Have your say in the comment box below.

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Wayne Rooney
Manchester United
Euro 2016
England Football
Premier League
David Beckham

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