The world of football is currently observed by lots of different people with different interests: club scouts, journalists, fans and more. Therefore young football stars are noticed very early on and there is said to be dozens of potential future football stars. The biggest clubs are boldly reaching for teenagers and trusting in their talent. Then they are put on loan to smaller clubs to get some playing time, train with the first squad and slowly become better and stronger. If their development slows or the depth of their talent was wrongly evaluated, they are then lost in the abyss that’s the huge world of football.
International competitions are always a good place to judge a player’s quality. This year there were a few tournaments: the FIFA U-20 World Cup, Euro U-21, Copa America and the Africa Cup of Nations. A lot of opportunities for young stars to shine.
Today’s list presents young footballers in the neuralgic stage of their careers. They are not in strong positions at their clubs yet or are just starting out and hoping for great things to happen. You won’t find here youngsters who are already big football stars like Trent Alexander-Arnold or Jadon Sancho. Although some on the list are currently at big clubs, they have not cemented their position yet. One thing is for sure – you should keep an eye on them in the upcoming season.
He was one of three Brazilian players in the Copa America’s squad that are not playing in Europe yet. The successful tournament he and his team had, opened doors to big football clubs. Brazil won the Copa America tournament and he was twice chosen as man of the match. Also at Gremio, he is considered an outstanding player. It won’t be too many days before he’s at one of the big European clubs.
2. Kang-In Lee
The winner of the Golden Ball award at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland. Despite the fact he was the youngest player in the Korean team, he was their most valuable player with 2 goals and 4 assists. Signed by Valencia CF two years ago, he is now waiting to perform in the first team and there are high hopes from both the fans and himself.
3. Luca Waldschmidt
The top goal scorer at the EURO U-21 tournament. He won the award with a huge advantage by scoring 7 goals, while the next best scorer had only 4 goals. Even though he is already 23 years old, it was only last season that he started to see some success. He played in more matches than ever so far in his career and scored more goals than he had before. Add to this, his great performance at the EURO U-21 tournament and we have the signs of a very promising player.
4. Diogo Dalot
Theoretically, he was in a great position to start his career – one year ago he was signed by Manchester United and he also plays for Portugal’s very strong U-20 team. But the position of his club is very difficult at the moment and after terrible performance of Portugal at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, he now has a lot to prove.
5. Takefusa Kubo
The young Japanese star has a very curious story that started at an early age. When he was only 11 years old, he was spotted by FC Barcelona. He spent 4 years there and then went back to Japan. After a few years and with his talent still shining, he moved to Real Madrid. At the start, he was supposed to play in the second team but he is progressing so fast, that coaching staff at the club are considering if he is ready to join the first team. He was the youngest player at the Copa America tournament where Japan played as a guest team.
6. Timothy Weah
This player has already played some matches for two big clubs – Paris Saint Germain and Celtic FC. He is the son of ex-footballer, George Weah and will play for LOSC Lille in the upcoming season. It could well be the turning point in his career. He was also a part of the USA team at the FIFA U-20 World Cup where he scored 2 goals and had 2 assists.
7. Kamil Grabara
A goalkeeper who has been carefully prepared to reach the top of football by Liverpool FC for the last 3 years. After a very good season on loan to Danish club AGF Aarhus, he will now play again on loan for Huddersfield who were relegated last season to the Championship. Meanwhile, in June he performed very well at the EURO U-21 tournament with some great saves against very strong rivals.
8. Erling Braut Haland
Most fans will say that he is a “one match wonder” after the latest U-20 World Cup that took place in Poland. An unusual situation took place there. His Norway team was eliminated from the tournament at the group stage, but he became the top goal scorer for the whole tournament by scoring 9 goals in one match! That was a game against Honduras and because the goals he scored were against a very weak team, a lot of people are raising doubts about if they are dealing with real talent. But in reality, he has progressed steadily, first at Norway’s Eliteserien, now in Austria’s Bundesliga at Red Bull Salzburg. The upcoming season could be crucial for his career.
9. George Puşcaş
The only player in an official U-21 Team of the tournament at the EURO U-21, who plays for a team outside of the Spain and Germany. He is already 23 years old and has play a lot in the Italian Serie B, but he still has a lot of football in front of him. At the moment his immediate future is not so clear because of bankruptcy problems with his club hitherto.
10. Samuel Chukwueze
He is only 20 years old but already has a very promising season behind him. 47 appearances and 10 goals in 4 different club competitions. What’s more, he is playing in the Nigerian international team in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations tournament and he’s doing quite well with one goal from 5 appearances. He is a big hope for both his club Villareal and his national team.
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