They say you can't win with the kids - but this list of football's wonderkids beg to differ.

Youth has been more important than ever in club football, with significant investment into academies to try and bring out the best in the young talent recruited.

Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax and Arsenal are all clubs that have produced some of the finest young players in their respective leagues and made them into world-class footballers.

Here are some of the best wonderkids, aged 21 or under, playing in the game today.

10. Christian Eriksen | Ajax

Eriksen is a player of sharpness and quality. A fantastic dribbler of the ball, overshadowed only by his instinctive vision and ability to know where his team-mates are and where the ball should be played.

Not only capable of setting up goals, he's rather prone to scoring them as well.

Add to this the wealth of experience he brings to the table: appearances at the World Cup and European Championships for Denmark, as well as almost 200 senior appearances to his name at the age of 21.

9. Raphael Varane | Real Madrid

The 20-year-old Real Madrid star has broken through the youth ranks and established himself as a senior squad member. Calm and collected on the ball, Varane is comfortable tactically on the pitch and is one of Europe's best young central defenders.

Strong and with a bit of pace on him as well, it would strike as no surprise if Varane was one of the hottest properties in European football in the coming years with his current form and clinical defending capabilities.

8. Lucas Ocampos | AS Monaco

With clubs such as Barcelona and Juventus trailing him shortly after the Under-17 World Cup, Lucas shocked the football world when he decided to move to AS Monaco.

He is the complete forward package, capable of playing on both wings as well as the role of striker. Standing at 6ft 2in tall, he is quick with the ball at his feet, strong and has that special something on the pitch that gives his team an extra attacking edge.

It's no wonder he has been compared to Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo. Oh, I almost forgot, he's only 18.

7. Raheem Sterling | Liverpool

Having only just turned 18 a few months ago, capped for England and regularly appearing in the Liverpool starting 11, Sterling has been touted as an England star of the future.

With his blistering pace and skill to beat his opposite number, Liverpool would do well to tie down their young star with Arsenal and Manchester United waiting on the sidelines for a chance to grab him. If he can just develop the killer instinct to get into the box and score goals, Sterling has the potential to go all the way and develop into a world-class player.

6. Thibaut Courtois | Chelsea

20-year-old Belgium international Courtois has been hitting all the right notes while on loan at Atletico Madrid in La Liga.

Standing at a towering 6ft 6in, Courtois is commanding, powerful in the air and an absolute hit with the fans. Making his debut for Genk at the tender age of 16, he has gone on to impress for club and country and will no doubt have many suitors who are willing to spend big on his services.

5. Jack Wilshere | Arsenal

There isn't much that can be said about the 21-year-old Englishman other than he brings nothing but class to the pitch.

Wilshere brings movement, vision, passing and, above all, the determination and leadership qualities that could well see him captain club and country in the future.

Praised by veterans such as Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, the future of Wilshere looks bright if he can recover successfully from his persistent injury problems.

4. Lucas Moura | Paris Saint-Germain

20-year-old Lucas Moura has been a revelation since signing for Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain. Initially rejecting a chance to move to the Premier League champions Manchester United, Moura has exceeded expectations at PSG and shown his class with some mesmerising performances in Europe.

With fantastic vision, slick flair and a creative mindset, Moura is set to become one of the next Brazilian magicians of the game for both club and country.

3. Stephan El Shaarawy | AC Milan

The 20-year-old was left to fill the void left by Zlatan Ibrahimovic's move to PSG - and didn't he do it well. El Shaarawy has established himself as an ever-present player for AC Milan, with his outstanding dribbling ability and immaculate first touch. Not only that, he's quite prone to have a pop at goal as well from outside the box, showcasing his powerful striking prowess.

With a few more seasons under his belt, he may well be leading the line for Milan for years to come.

2. Mario Gotze | Borussia Dortmund

Despite sensationally securing a move to rivals Bayern Munich in the summer, the 20-year-old was making headlines for all the right reasons well before the announcement.

With his technical ability, speed and playmaking vision, it's clear for all to see that Gotze is already claiming stakes to be a world-class player in the near future. Experienced in playing in the false 9 role, Pep Guardiola may well have found the Lionel Messi for his Bayern side.

1. Neymar | Santos

Sorry folks, but Neymar tops the wonderkid list for me.

Compared to the likes of Lionel Messi for his instinctive dribbling, creativity, technical skill and explosive finishing, Neymar is a player that could provide a boost of electricity into any team.

Recently rejecting a new deal at Santos, the thought is terrifying should he be playing on the same team as the Argentine wonder after the summer transfer window. With his ability to play either on the wings or middle of the park in an attacking midfielder role, Neymar provides the complete forward package.

The Brazilian has the potential and the ability to become a world-class player. Some may criticise him for having never played in Europe but even then, who's to say he wouldn't take it by storm?

Let us know below who would make your top ten wonderkids!

 

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