2016-06-09_16.02.57

RASHFORD @ EURO 2016: Four Teenage Surprises At Major Tournaments 

Despite making his Manchester United debut only in February 2016, 18-year-old Marcus Rashford will be on the plane to this year's UEFA European Championship in France.

His inclusion in the England's squad shocked many people as established players like Andy Carroll, Andros Townsend and Danny Drinkwater were dropped.

Ahead of the Euros, Completesportsnigeria.com's JAMES AGBEREBI takes a look at other teenage stars who were surprise inclusions in their country's squad prior to a major tournament…

PELE (17 yrs, 1958 World Cup)

After making his debut for Brazil in 1957 in a 2-1 defeat against Argentina at the Maracana, Pele made the Brazil squad to the 1958 World Cup age 17.

He was the youngest player at the tournament and also the youngest ever to play at a FIFA World Cup.

Pele didn't play Brazil's first two group games but eventually featured in the third game against USSR (Russia).

At the end of the World Cup which Brazil were crowned champions for the first time, Pele scored six goals in the four games he played, including a brace in the 5-2 win against hosts Sweden in the final.

 

RONALDO DE LIMA (17 yrs, 1994 World Cup)

Brazil won their fourth FIFA senior World Cup in 1994. And in their star-studded squad was a certain 17-year-old Ronaldo Luis Nazario De Lima, popularly known as Ronaldo.

Unfortunately, Ronaldo, who made his debut for Brazil in 1994, was an unused substitute throughout the tournament.

He went on to feature at the 1998, 2002 (which Brazil won) and 2006 World Cup.

He was also crowned three-time FIFA Player of the Year 1996, 1997 and 2002.

FEMI OPANBUMI (17 yrs, 2002 World Cup)

Femi Opabunmi was in the Golden Eaglets side that finished second at the 2001 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago.

Despite making his debut in 2002, Opabunmi was a surprise inclusion in the Super Eagles squad to the FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan at the expense of players like Wilson Oruma, Karibe Ojigwe and Yakubu Aiyegbeni.

At the World Cup, his only appearance for the Eagles was in their last group game against England which ended 0-0.

THEO WALCOTT (17 yrs, 2006 World Cup)

A product of the famed Southampton academy, Theo Walcott joined Arsenal in 2006 but didn't kick a ball throughout the season.

Surprisingly, at just 17, Walcott made England's 2006 World Cup squad, while Darren Bent, Jermaine Defoe and Andrew Johnson were overlooked.

England played up to the quarter-final stage without Walcott making an appearance.

His only appearance at a major tournament for England was at the 2012 UEFA European Championship co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland.

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