There is probably nothing more exciting for football fans than unlimited potential possessed by young players with the world at their feet.
We've picked out some of the best teenage talents on planet football and selected a strong-looking XI of players already become regulars for some of Europe's elite clubs. Don't worry, there's also a bench of players that narrowly missed the cut.
Bayern Munich insiders are calling Christian Früchtl the heir to Manuel Neuer's throne. No pressure, of course, but big things are being expected of the youngster known for his ability on the ball. Bavarian DFB coordinator Peter Wimmer explained how Fruchtl was scouted: “Initially this was because of his unusual body size, and because he was very good as an outfield player as well as a goalkeeper.”
It sounds as though Bayern has just the right person to continue their keeper-sweeper traditions when Neuer hangs up his gloves.
🤺 Back four
Who can forget Chelsea's thrilling 4-4 draw with Ajax? Reece James struck Chelsea's fourth from right-back and, although goal-scoring isn't his claim to fame, he showed remarkable composure in a frenzied atmosphere and earned himself a start in Chelsea's recent win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League match that followed that Champions League cracker. England's future in the right-back position looks incredibly bright, with James and Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold set for a decade-long battle.
Barcelona's Jean-Clair Todibo has found regular game time at Camp Nou hard to come by, but his time will come with the club holding him in high regard. It's going to be a tough act to follow Juventus man Matthijs de Ligt at Ajax, but that is the level of expectation at the feet of Kik Pierie, the American-Dutch centre back signed from Heerenveen.
Ryan Sessegnon has yet to force his way into Mauricio Pochettino's starting XI at Tottenham, but it shouldn't be too long before the attack-minded ex-Fulham fullback is dazzling audiences in the EPL.
🥽 Vision is the name of the game in midfield
Rennes midfield sensation Eduardo Camavinga was recently called up to the France U21s after a string of mature performances in Ligue 1. The left-footer was born in Angola but has recently received French citizenship. Watch out for the talented ball-player known for his calmness and composure. Alongside him, we have chosen Bresica star Sandro Tonali, a youngster already capped for Italy and being watched by elite clubs around Europe. Remember the name, because Tonali is a deep-lying playmaker with vision and the ability to read the game similar to that of legendary figure Andrea Pirlo.
🇧🇷 Brazilian flavour in the wide areas
When Vinícius Júnior's official €45m move to Real Madrid went through on his 18th birthday last year, the world took note, and his combination of explosive pace, power and creativity make him a nightmare to mark. Vinícius is not the only Brazilian teenager at the Bernabeu, however, with new signing Rodrygo announcing himself to the Real Madrid faithful with a hat-trick against Galatasaray. He's got two goals in LaLiga too, cementing an incredible start to life in his new surroundings, and is a dribbler in the best Brazilian traditions. With these two on the flanks, future Seleção teams will be a frightening proposition for opposition fullbacks.
Jadon Sancho, usually a player that operates in wide areas, is intelligent enough to take up the "number 10" position in this formation. Sancho is lightning quick, direct and already prolific in terms of his goals and assists output for club and country. The Borussia Dortmund man is quite literally the present and future of English football. Sancho notched 12 goals and 14 assists in the Bundesliga last season and is well on course to repeat the double of double figures in 2019/2020.
🎯 Goal-machine Håland leads the line
Norwegian striker Erling Braut Håland has a staggering 26 goals in 18 matches across all competitons already this season, including four hat-tricks. He now has more goals in a singular Champions League campaign by any teenager in history (7), breaking Kylian Mbappé's previous mark of 6.
There's no more valuable currency in football than goals and Håland already looks astonishingly comfortable putting the ball in the back of the net at the highest level and on the continent's biggest stages.
😯 Young stars making waves on Planet Football
- 🇫🇷 William Saliba (Centre back, on loan at Saint-Étienne from Arsenal)
- 🇬🇼 Ansu Fati (Wide forward, Barcelona)
- 🏴 Callum Hudson-Odoi (Winger, Chelsea)
- 🇧🇷 Gabriel Martinelli (Striker, Arsenal)
- 🇪🇸 Eric Garcia (Centre back, Man City)
- 🇮🇹 Moise Kean (Striker, Everton)
- 🇧🇷 Paulinho (Forward, Bayer Leverkusen)
- 🇪🇸 Ferran Torres (Winger, Valencia)
- 🇦🇷 Thiago Almada (Attacking midfielder, Vélez Sarsfield)
- 🇳🇱 Xavi Simons (Central midfielder, PSG)
- 🏴 Phil Foden (Attacking midfielder, Man City)
- 🏴 Ethan Ampadu (Defensive midfielder, on loan at RB Leipzig from Chelsea)
- 🏴 Billy Gilmour (Central midfielder, Chelsea)
- 🏴 Bukayo Saka (Winger, Arsenal)
- 🏴 Mason Greenwood (Striker, Man United)
A handful of these talented youngsters will be representing their countries this weekend and we'll be watching their progress closely. There's also a high-profile friendly clash between Brazil and Argentina to be staged in Saudi Arabia on Friday the 15th.
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