With some of the best players in Britain reaching the back ends of thirty, some of the country’s major clubs have started looking at long term replacements for their older players. Legends like Ryan Giggs, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are all players that could be retiring in a few seasons and it almost time for the next generation to step up and get noticed. There is so much talent out there that just need the stage to perform on in order to make it into the elite, and hopefully one day a lot of the names which are in this list will one day be household names.
Anthony Knockaert – Leicester City, Winger
The Foxes beat competition from Newcastle and Tottenham in the summer to sign this French wizard. Twenty-two year old Anthony Knockaert can play up front but is best suited on the wing. An array of exceptional performances this season attracted interest from Arsenal in January, and City were lucky to keep him. Fans may remember him fondly for his scorpion kick goal against Huddersfield this season, but also for his great performances over the past nine months, where he has scored eight goals in 42 appearances. Trust me, this guy has the potential to be huge.
John Lundstram – Everton, Midfielder
At seventeen, this guy has already played for England U19’s and has even been described as ‘the complete midfielder’. Jamie Redknapp said the player is “dynamic and sets a tempo for his side.” Last year he was one of only two English players in the list of Europe’s best under seventeens.
Adryan – Flamengo, Attacking midfielder
Adryan is a dynamic Brazilian who has been scouted by some of the world’s best clubs for a good few years. The eighteen year old has been dubbed as the future of the Brazil national side and his silky skills have left managers and scouts across the globe drooling. Linked with Barcelona, he recently signed a new contract with Flamengo, signalling his ambition to continue and develop in his home country.
Lazar Markovic – Partizan Belgrade, Striker
If you’re not from Serbia the likelihood is you haven’t heard of this kid, but trust me, you will have soon. The pacy forward has made six appearance and scored one goal for his national side and is already a key member of the Partizan team, despite only being nineteen. In February he dismissed rumours linking him with Chelsea, but you can expect to see him at one of Europe’s top clubs soon.
Oliver Torres – Atletico Madrid, Midfielder
At only eighteen, the Spaniard is an established member of the Spain U21’s and has attracted interest from Chelsea and Arsenal already. Its only a matter of time before he is strutting his stuff in the Athletico first team and he has already earned a reputation for his excellent technique and great vision.
Leandro Paredes – Boca Juniors, Attacking Midfielder
The eighteen year old Boca midfielder has been described as an “exceptional passer” and is renowned for his creativity. It’s only a matter of time before one of Europe’s top clubs come in for the Argentinian, with AC Milan and Juventus reportedly already having had bids turned down.
Gerard Deulofeu – Barcelona, Winger
If Gerard Duelofeu doesn’t make the big time I will eat my own foot. The lightening quick nineteen year old can play on both the left and the right as well as up front and has already scored three goals as a regular in the Spanish U21’s. Both Manchester City and United have been linked with moves for the wonderkid, but a move is highly unlikely as he will definitely make the Barça first team soon. An integral part of the La Masia youth system, he is always my first signing on FIFA and will certainly become a world-class player. Watch this space.
Raheem Sterling – Liverpool, Winger
Most of the football fans in Britain have heard of eighteen year old Stirling. Starting off as a regular in Brendan Rodgers’ first team this season, it was only a thigh injury that cut his season short. His flying runs down the wing and cracking performances alongside the likes of Gerrard and Suarez have earned him England call ups and recognition from journalists and fans all over the country. Has the potential to become a clinical finisher and is a key part of the future at Anfield.
Viktor Fischer – Ajax, Striker
The eighteen year old has been noticed by fans and pundits alike all over Europe this season after his talent exploded into action for the Ajax first team. The Danish forward can also play on the wing and his clinical finishing and intelligence has earned him 10 goals this season. Linked with moves to Man United and Spurs, a massive transfer looks to be on the cards.
Max Clayton – Crewe Alexandra, Striker
Another product of Dario Gradi’s youth setup, eighteen year old Clayton has been tipped to make a big money move to the Premier League, following fellow Crewe youngster Nick Powell (now at Man Utd). He has scored a load of goals for England at all youth levels and has been the driving force in Crewe’s season. Linked with moves to Arsenal and Manchester United.
Jeff Schlupp – Leicester, Striker
German-born Schlupp has made appearances for the Ghana national side and is widely tipped to be a star of the future. He has spent the majority of the season on trial at Manchester United and has been dubbed by Alex Ferguson as a player who could make it big. He can play up front or out on the left, but has featured regularly at left back for Nigel Pearson’s Leicester and has been imperative in their push back into the Championship play-offs.
Raphael Varane – Real Madrid, Centre Back
At only nineteen, Varane is already one of the best centre backs in La Liga. His consistent performances have seen him become a regualr in Jose Mourinho’s side this season and he has repaid the faith in him by turning up good in the most important games. The dominant tackler loves to get forward and is perfectly capable of bringing the ball out from the back all by himself. Arguably the best teenager in the world at the moment.
Marquinhos – Roma, Centre back
At the start of the season, nobody had heard of him. Now, he is possibly the most sought after defender in Europe. The Brazilian is aerially dominant and a regular member of the Roma first team, widely tipped to be integral to Brazil’s future. Despite interest from Manchester City and Real Madrid, the eighteen year old has made it clear that he is not looking for a move, telling a leading Italian newspaper “I owe Roma a lot for the chance they have given me.”
Jordan Rossiter – Liverpool, Midfielder
The eighteen year old has been dubbed as “the new Steven Gerrard” by Anfield favourite Robbie Fowler, and he has shown that he could live up to that tag with a string of impressive performances. Has represented England at youth level and definitely has the qualities to make sure his praise does not to turn into pressure.
Will Hughes – Derby, Midfielder
This wonderkid has been widely tipped to make a move to Tottenham or Liverpool. The seventeen year old adds a spark to the Rams’ midfield that in recent years they have been lacking. Loves to get forward, has attracted the interest of Barcelona scouts when he represented England at a youth tournament in Portugal. Some say he can be as good as Frank Lampard.
Romelu Lukaku – Chelsea, Striker
The nineteen year old has spent the past season on loan at West Brom, and has played a key part in the Baggies’ excellent season. A vital member of the first team and a regular goalscorer, he has rasied many eyebrows with the quality he has shown. The 6’3″ beast is the latest in a string of Belgian masterclass youth developments, he is perfectly capable of heading a ball into the back of the net and can reach higher than most defenders. Widely expected to make another loan move next season, his thunderous left boot will be sought after from clubs all over Europe.
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