At 19 years old, Kylian Mbappe became the youngest player to score in a World Cup final since Pele, when he consolidated France’s lead against Croatia. Not surprisingly, he scooped up the 2018 World Cup best young player award. This continuation from his meteoric rise as a football superstar has seen him win trophies and accolades that most professional football players can only dream of having at the end of their careers. Are there more mercurial talents like Mbappe?
Here, we take a look at five promising wonder kids who look to take the football world by storm in the next decade, aspiring to follow in the footsteps of the French prodigy.
The 18-year-old English winger has become the hottest young talent in European football with his outstanding performances for Borussia Dortmund following his transfer from Manchester City at the start of the 2017/2018 season. This season, he is one of the central figures behind Dortmund’s surprisingly resolute title push, with seven goals and nine assists to his name in 22 Bundesliga appearances.
His flamboyance and unique close dribbling skills is reminiscent of Neymar in his younger days and with his ‘samba flare’, it is easy to misjudge him to be of Brazilian descent. His club performances have rewarded him with three senior national team appearances to date. Provided he continues developing and be nurtured in the safe confines of Bundesliga, he will undoubtedly form the core of England’s football future in the years to come.
The 19-year-old German attacking midfielder has been a permanent fixture in the Bayer Leverkusen midfield since the age of 17, and is also the youngest player in Bundesliga history to achieve 50 appearances. Havertz records more than 0.4 goal involvements per game, a remarkable figure given his age. He possesses excellent spatial awareness and an eye to pick up a defence splitting pass, as his pitch vision belies his age.
In a team filled with gifted wide players such as Leon Bailey and Julian Brandt, Kai Havertz is the orchestrator that links them up, always dropping into spaces vacated by the wingers who like to dribble infield and playing neat, quick interchanges to send them through on goal. With Mesut Ozil’s retirement from the national set up, he has been called up twice by Joachim Low in the past year. With his footballing intelligence, he looks set to become the chief creator for both club and country in no time.
The 18-year-old Brazilian winger has become a regular fixture in recent months, as new Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari is unafraid to thrust the youngster into the spotlight, starting him in a host of La Liga and Copa Del Rey appearances. This follows from his limited cameos under Julien Lopetegui after his much hyped about move from Brazilian club Flamengo. Indeed, Vinicius Junior has lived up to his potential, showing maturity beyond his years with his decision-making.
He has demonstrated restraint in showboating for someone who has exceptional dribbling skills, knowing when to pick the right pass to a teammate. With standout performances in the Copa Del Rey (where he has two goals and six assists in five matches), his quality is there for all to see. If he is given the opportunity to clock in consistent minutes for the first team and continues to improve on his end product, he will most definitely become Real Madrid’s next franchise footballer.
The 18-year-old Manchester City starlet was heralded as one of the three key youngsters who would have formed Manchester City’s future, with the other two being former teammates Jadon Sancho and Brahim Diaz. While the other two have chosen to continue their development overseas, Foden has stayed put at Manchester City and has been rewarded with cameos in the Premier League and regular cup football under Per Guardiola.
Possessing great control, speed and a fearsome shot, Foden is an academy product who is all ready to play on the big stages. However, with a stacked midfield filled with the likes of Bernardo Silva, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan, the young English attacking midfielder will have to be patient if he wants to succeed at Manchester City.
Another young English talent on our list, the 18-year-old winger was the subject of three huge bids from German Champions Bayern Munich in the January transfer window. It is not hard to see his star quality, even in his limited cup appearances under Maurizio Sarri, as he already has two goals and four assists in his seven domestic cup appearances. Unafraid to take defenders on with his direct style of play, he usually beats his man with a combination of nimble feet and explosive pace, and then has the composure and skill to deliver a dangerous cross into the box.
The budding star certainly has the x-factor to be at the very top of the game, but he may need to look elsewhere for more game time to aid his development.Leave a comment