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FIFA U17 World Cup: Rhian Brewster enthrals Kolkata and England look favourites with him firing

658   //    26 Oct 2017, 13:15 IST

Rhian Brewster
Rhian Brewster celebrates one of his three strikes against Brazil

His held high. His face beaming with a smile. He had delivered. Again.

Rhian Brewster ran. Ran with sheer exuberance and delight into the arms of the overjoyed English coaching staff. A second hat-trick at a World Cup and having pierced the dagger into the heart of the Brazil defence, you might be forgiven for forgetting about the world for a moment and more so if you are still a teenager.

"It's a dream come true but we have to now push on and win the final," quipped the young Brewster - who after scoring back to back hat-tricks in the FIFA U17 World Cup 2017 is the talk of the nation both in India as well as back home.

At the end of 90 minutes, the score read 3-1 to England and deservedly so. For Brewster, the world stood at his feet.

Outside, his family couldn't wait to meet him. Bubbling with joy and being halted by security personnel at a few junctions couldn't keep them from meeting their guy.

"He is just doing what he does. He is an honest young man. He has worked really hard and now he is getting his rewards. He is just a natural at playing the game. He was born to play football and win. He is just proving that," stated John Brewster - one of the family members who had flown in from England to be his side during the tournament.

"He just doesn't get fazed by anything. He scored a hat-trick in the last game and he scored another in this game and he might just again score another in the final."

Unfazed is certainly a word that describes him, well. The world could have seemed to have been crumbling before his eyes when he missed the penalty in the shootout against Spain in the U17 European Championships earlier this year. A few months later there he was - standing tall and confident as he slotted away his opportunity from the spot in the shootout against Japan in the Round of 16.

A few days and six goals later, he is now the taste of England.


The boy was spotted by Liverpool and recruited at the young age of 15 and since the only curve he has been on is an exponential one in terms of his progression. The English have already proved their pedigree in the European Championship earlier this year but this was special.

The likes of Jadon Sancho, George McEachran, Morgan Gibbs-White and Phil Foden to relieve the pressure of coming back too deep to get into the game. The fullbacks and wingers, meanwhile, put in incisive crosses for him to clinically put away. But that's what so many people fail to do - put away those chances. Young Rhian is not one of them.

Back of the net is a place Brewster knows very well. Termed a prodigy already in his teens, the youngster had scored his first hat-trick (four of them at one go actually) at a very early age during his time with Chelsea in a game against and that nack of being the man to caress it into the back of the net has always stayed with him.

In times the English looked for someone to deliver, Brewster lifted them up. In the moments he needed guidance, needed the leadership of champions his teammates buoyed him.

"These young boys for England - both on the pitch and on the bench are better than any in the World Cup," quipped another family member outside the ground. "They just need to be 'on' in those ninety minutes."

A fact to remember - neither Messi nor Ronaldo has ever played the U17 World Cup. Brewster, by no means, is a finished product and at 17 you can hardly be. The first two finishes in the game were not ideal but he got the job done. He will do better with the ball at his feet and running at his defenders in the years to come as well. He might have even had a fourth if he had timed his jump for an unmarked header in the box better.

The promise, however, looms large. You can see why Klopp and co. even at this age wanted to fast-forward his progress and wanted him to become an integral part of the U23 setup.

A few months ago, Brewster's teammate held him in defeat - trying to console him at a moment when the heart can't be consoled. The same set of people on Wednesday on that hallowed turf at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan embraced once again - this time in sheer delight.

And now in three days' time, he will again have the chance to make a difference - another shot at the Spanish team against whom the only difference was the lottery called the penalty shootout.

In the last few weeks, England have shown that they certainly belong with the best but it's now time that they proved to themselves more than anyone else that they are the best. And with Brewster in the team - they have more than a decent chance.

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