England are officially the best men’s youth team in Europe after The FA was presented with the prestigious Maurice Burlaz Trophy by UEFA.
The honour is handed to the national association who top the continent’s rankings based on results from men’s youth competition from the previous two years.
Having lifted this year’s U19 Euro title on the back of reaching the semi-finals in 2016 and as 2017 U17 Euro finalists following a last eight finish the previous year, England have achieved the title for the first time in its 27-year history.
The ranking follows a points system with eight awarded to tournament winners down to one for those who don’t progress beyond the group stages at finals. With a total of 23 points, the Young Lions finished two points ahead of their nearest rivals Portugal.
England’s position as UEFA’s best was further strengthened by them becoming the first European nation to claim both the U17 and U20 FIFA World Cups in the same year.
Dan Ashworth, The FA’s technical director, said: “Being awarded the Maurice Burlaz Trophy wraps up an incredibly successful 2017 for all England men’s teams during which we have not lost a competitive game throughout the entire calendar year bar two penalty shootouts.
“This unprecedented success is down to The FA’s on-going investment into England teams and coach education, while ensuring we continue to maximise the potential of the world-class facility at St. George’s Park just five years after the national football centre opened.
“I’d also like to acknowledge the significant role the clubs and leagues have played in this achievement through the EPPP, their own player development and international fixture release support.
“This has been a promising year but we’re not getting carried away as there’s still a lot of work to do to help that success transfer through to senior level.”
Aleksander Čeferin, UEFA president, added: “I would like to congratulate everyone at the English Football Association who has been involved in England’s successes in our competitions over the last two seasons.
“This prize is a testament to the fantastic work you have all been doing at youth level and it is a promising sign for what could be achieved by your senior national teams in the future.”
2017 Maurice Burlaz Trophy positions
1 England 23 points
2 Portugal 21
3= Germany, Netherlands 16
5 Spain 15
6 France 10
7 Italy 9
8= Czech Republic, Turkey 6
10= Austria, Sweden 3
(tournament win=8 points, runners-up=7, beaten semi-finalists=6, U17 beaten quarter-finalists=2, U19 group third place=2, U17 group third place=1, U19 group fourth place=1)
Roll of honour
1994: Portugal, Spain, Turkey