World XI: Teenage footballers
Raphael Varane, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain & Julian Draxler are some of the best teenage footballers in the world
Every year football seems to create younger talents as we now have players as young as 17 breaking into established first-team squads.
This squad of eleven players and seven subs are all 19 or younger at the time of writing. This makes them not just the next generation of footballers, but maybe even the generation after that.
Football has a very bright future.
Goalkeeper: Timo Horn | Cologne | Age: 19
Timo Horn has played for every Germany national team from Under-15 right through to Under-20. At just 19 years old he is already Cologne's number one as he has played all 28 of their league games this season and wears the number one shirt.
Horn has a very bright future with Cologne, who are currently fourth in the 2.Bundesliga and will undoubtedly make his Germany Under-21 debut this year.
Right-back: Andre Wisdom | Liverpool | Age: 19
Andre Wisdom has played 18 games for Liverpool this season and has a goal to his name from right-back. He has also played for and captained the England youth teams at various levels and even won the UEFA European Under-17 Championship in 2010 as captain.
He currently has five England Under-21 appearances and will be expected to break into the England first team if it wasn't for the challenge of Kyle Walker and Nathaniel Clyne to compete with.
Centre-back: Raphael Varane | Real Madrid | Age: 19
Any player who makes it into the Real Madrid starting line-up at just 19 is almost guaranteed to have a huge impact on football and a successful career ahead of them. Varane is no exception as he is already comfortable on both the technical and tactical levels; even scoring a few goals for Los Blancos.
He has four goals in 41 appearances for his club which is a phenomenal stat for a 19-year-old centre-back. At international level, Varane has played for every French team from Under-15 to Under-21 and got his first start for the France national team in March 2013, in a 3-1 victory over Georgia.
Centre-back: Kurt Zouma | Saint Étienne | Age: 18
Kurt Zouma made his professional debut for Saint Étienne in August 2011 at the age of 16. Since then has has played regularly with 32 appearances and two goals to his name. He has played for the France Under-16s, Under-17s and Under-19s but has not yet made the Under-21 or national teams.
This is set to change as he continues to impress for his club and many outstanding defensive performances have caught the eye of bigger clubs around Europe. He is a very flexible player as he has the determination and strength of a centre back as well as the playmaking abilities of a defensive midfielder.
Left-back: Luke Shaw | Southampton | Age: 17
Luke Shaw has been labelled the 'new Gareth Bale' by the media which is a promising reputation to have. According to the Independent, Shaw attracted much attention from several top flight clubs including the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City. This is not surprising as his performances at full-back have been outstanding for a player of his age.
At international level, he has represented the England Under-16 and Under-17 teams; and in January 2013 he was called up for the Under-21 squad but had to withdraw through injury. It won't be long before he breaks into the England first team.
Right-wing: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain | Arsenal | Age: 19
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain transferred from Southampton to Arsenal for around £12m. If a player moves to a club with Arsenal's reputation at 17 years of age for over £10m, there must be something special about them.
Oxlade-Chamberlain had shone for the Saints in his final season before joining Arsenal and had attracted interest from more clubs than just the Gunners. Nevertheless he joined Arsenal and since then has appeared in several important games. At the end of his first season at Arsenal, he was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year. He has six goals in 53 appearances for Arsenal and two goals in five appearances for England.
Centre-midfielder: Adam Maher | AZ Alkmaar | Age: 19
Adam Maher made his AZ Alkmaar debut in December 2010 in a Europa League game against FC BATE at just 16 years old. He scored on this debut which made him the youngest player ever to score in the Europa League and UEFA Cup for a Dutch team.
It was speculated in 2012 that several clubs including the likes of Arsenal, Newcastle and Barcelona were interested in signing him. Maher has 20 goals and 14 assists in 87 games for AZ Alkmaar and has a bright future ahead of him.
Centre-midfielder: Julian Draxler | FC Schalke 04 | Age: 19
Julian Draxler is one of the most promising talents in this team as at just 19 years old, he already has over 100 appearances for Schalke and is one of their most important first-team players. He started off as a left midfielder but after the arrival of Michel Bastos, Draxler moved into his preferred attacking midfield role.
He has a total of 19 goals and 15 assists in 103 games for Schalke including the goal of the month award in May 2011 for a 20-yard volley in the DFB-Pokal final. Draxler has represented Germany at the Under-21 level, scoring on his debut on 9th August 2011 in a 4-1 win over Cyprus Under-21. He was one of two uncapped players in the provisional Germany squad for Euro 2012 and had his senior Germany debut on 26th May 2012.
Left-wing: Raheem Sterling | Liverpool | Age: 18
Raheem Sterling signed for Liverpool from QPR in January 2010 for an initial fee of £600,000. He made his senior Liverpool debut after two years in the youth team in March 2012. He came on as a substitute against Wigan Athletic and at 17 years 107 days, was the second youngest player ever to play for Liverpool.
Two goals in 39 appearances suggests potential but very little experience for the young English winger. At international level, however, he has established himself in the England ranks. He has represented them at Under-16, Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 level before being capped at full level by the national side for the first time in November 2012.
Centre Forward: Juan Manuel Iturbe | River Plate | Age: 19
Juan Manuel Iturbe currently plays for River Plate but he is on loan from FC Porto. The young Argentinian is best known for his skill on the ball; getting past opponents at high speed. He can play on either wing or behind the striker which makes him flexible and versatile.
Iturbe began his international career with Paraguay but after a fall out with the manager, decided to play for Argentina. He was part of the Argentina 'sparring squad' which was formed by the most promising youth players in Argentina. These were taken to the 2010 World Cup to train with the senior squad and gain experience. He scored the winning goal against Brazil in the 2011 South American Under-20 championship and now has a very bright future.
Striker: Romelu Lukaku | West Bromwich Albion | Age: 19
Romelu Lukaku has already established himself as an influential Premier League striker, even at the young age of 19. He is currently playing for West Brom on loan from Chelsea and has 13 goals in 32 to appearances for West Brom this season. In total he has a staggering 52 goals in 122 appearances including three goals in 15 games for Belgium.
He started his career at Anderlecht and made his professional debut whilst still at school at just 16. He then joined Chelsea in August 2011 for an estimated £17 million but spent the majority of his first season playing for the reserves. Eventually in August 2012, he joined West Brom on a season long loan and has had an outstanding season for a player of his age in the Premier League.
Players that missed the cut into this squad include: Nathan Redmond (19 years old), Samuel Umtiti (19 years old), Ross Barkley (19 years old) and Leonardo Bittencourt (19 years old).
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeFootball.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeFootball.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.