Ten players to watch out for in the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2019
Ten players to watch out for in the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2019

Ten players to watch out for in the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2019

The FIFA World Cup U-17 kicks off on Saturday, October 26, in Brazil, with a total of 24 teams battling for the title. 

The tournament will be held in the inland cities of Goiania and Brasilia, as well as Cariacica, with a new champion set to be unveiled after England, the 2017 winners failed to qualify. 

It is in its 18th edition and is only open to players born between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2004.

Nigeria remains the most successful side in the tournament, having won it five times including back-to-back wins in 2013 and 2015. They have also been runners up three times but failed to qualify last time out in 2017.

The tournament has, since inception, given some top names the ground to build on their career, with many of them going on to be world stars.

With only a few hours to the kick-off, which players do you expect to shine?

Adil Aouchiche - Brazil

The young midfielder is already making a name for himself at PSG, and recently became the youngest player to start a league match for PSG in their 2-0 win over Metz.

The 17-year-old signed for the French champions on July 1st, 2014, and is fast becoming a star. The youngster scored nine times at the UEFA U-17 Championships and will be one of the stars of the show. 

Talles Magno - Brazil 

Just like their senior team in any tournament, hosts Brazil are among this year's favorites. They reached the semi-finals in 2017 and have a great squad this year.

Among them is the Vasco da Gama forward Talles Magno. He is already a star with the senior team, and there is a lot of expectation around him. He will bring a lot of experience gained at the highest level to the team, and that's what makes the team dangerous. 

Gio Reyna - USA

Another American star playing for Borussia Dortmund. Reyna's parents, Claudio Reyna and Danielle Egan, are former footballers, and he has followed in their footsteps.

His talent was obvious from a young age, as he helped his team to win the Generation Adidas Cup – a competition for U17s when he was only 14. He is tipped to be a real star, and just like Christian Pulisic, he wears the number 10 jersey. 

Matias Palacios - Argentina 

Palacios is Argentina's future. He might not take over from Lionel Messi, but he has been tipped for a great future.

He will lead the young Argentines, and just like Messi, might announce his arrival on the big stage by shining in the tournament. 

Lucien Agoume - France 

The youngster is already a star, having featured for FC Sochaux's senior side in France for a half a season, before moving to Inter Milan.

He was also tracked by Premier League sides Arsenal and Manchester City but chose to sharpen his skills in Italy.  

Alexander Aravena  - Chile

The Chilean is a beneficiary of a Sports Scholarship in Chile, which is awarded by the Municipality of Huechuraba to support and promote sports.

The striker, now 17, has been one of the shining stars for the La Rojita and starred in their last qualification match with a goal and an assist in a 4-2 win over Uruguay.

He idolizes Barcelona greats Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez and will be one of the key players to keep an eye on. 

Etienne Eto'o Pineda - Cameroon

A decree signed by the Cameroon President Paul Biya in September 2014 has denied the son of former Cameroonian and African star Samuel Eto'o the chance to shine at the World Cup, but he is for sure one of the U-17 players to keep a keen eye on.

The decree says that the national U15 and U17 teams would be reserved for domestic-based talent only, meaning the Real Mallorca U-17 captain misses out even though he is keen on playing for the Indomitable Lions. 

Pedri Gonzalez - Spain 

Pedri first came to the limelight while at Las Palmas in the second tier, catching Barcelona's attention who moved with speed to acquire his services.

The 16-year-old is a gem, his footballing mind is way above most of his peers and he lives for goals and assists. He has already indicated he would want to announce himself on the world stage at the tournament in Brazil.

Xavi Simons - Netherlands 

Simons shares a name with one of Barcelona's greatest midfielders ever, Xavi, and many of the club's fans hoped he would grow at their famous La Masia academy.

He, however, broke the fans' hearts after moving to Paris Saint-Germain, in what can be considered a coup of some sort. He will be wearing the Dutch colors in Brazil and will be one of the stars of the tournament. 

Ian Maatsen - Netherlands

Maatsen joined Chelsea from PSV Eindhoven in July 2018 and is a talented lad. He can play at left-back, wing-back, center-back or in central midfield, and that versatility was utilized in his maiden season in England as he featured in a number of defensive positions for academy teams.

He will, however, be at home with the Dutch team as they parade their stars in Brazil. 

Read more: FIFA U-17 World Cup 2019: All you need to know

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