Football

World XI: Football's starlets

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Neymar, 21, recently joined Barcelona (©GettyImages)
Neymar, 21, recently joined Barcelona (©GettyImages).

Football's future stars are currently playing in the European U21 Championships and look in good shape to take over from the current crop of seasoned footballers.

The new era of football requires speed, sharpness and agility in order to get the better of your opponent. 

Goalkeeper: Marc-André ter Stegen | Borussia Mönchengladbach and Germany

Ter Stegen is one of the best young goalkeepers in world football and despite his horrific error against the USA, he is rated highly. He is touted to replace Victor Valdes at Barcelona and could become their main goalkeeper for a long time if he decides to move.

Unfortunately for him he's playing in the same era as Manuel Neuer so his chances for the national side are limited. 

Right-back: Phil Jones | Manchester United and England

Described as the next Franco Baresi by Fabio Capello, Jones is arguably the most versatile young player around. Used as a right-back for the majority of last season, Jones's original position is in the middle of defence.

Jones reads the game very well and is brilliant at making a tackle. Sir Alex heaped praise on Jones after his professional performance against Aston Villa helped United keep a clean sheet and clinch the league title. 

Centre-back: Raphael Varane | Real Madrid and France

Varane's performances in the Champions League have made him one of the best young defenders in the world right now. He is very good in the tackle and is extremely quick too. He has provided some world class performances in the El Clasico too making him a fan favourite at Madrid. 

Centre-back: Matija Nastasic | Manchester City and Serbia

It is hard to believe that an inexperienced youngster like Nastasic adapted so well to the Premier League in such less time. Nastasic is giving seasoned professional Joleon Lescott a hard time to get into the first team due to his composed performances. He will only improve season-after-season and could become a world-class player in the near future. 

Left-back: David Alaba | Bayern Munich and Austria

Alaba is the best young left-back around, bar none. A regular starter for arguably the best ever Bayern side, Alaba has achieved a lot at the tender age of 20. Alaba is dangerous going forward and is also good in defending making him hard to get past.

Right-wing: Isco | Malaga and Spain

Winner of the Golden Boy award, Isco is technically the best young player in world football right now. A potent dribbler, Isco can get past defenders with ease and can also score good quality goals. He was the main reason why Malaga overachieved in this season's Champions League.

Centre-midfielder: Jack Wilshere | Arsenal and England

England's brightest prospect since Wayne Rooney, injuries have taken its toll on Wilshere but on his day he's one of the best young midfielders in the world.

Whether it is his sharp passing or blistering runs, Wilshere always provides energy to whichever side he plays for. His performance against Barcelona in 2011 was arguably the best ever midfield performance by a player under the age of 21. 

Centre-midfielder: Christian Eriksen | Ajax and Denmark

The best midfielder Denmark have seen since Michael Laudrup, Eriksen is an accurate passer of the ball and can shoot very well too. Danish hopes rely on him and he should seek a move away from Ajax so that everyone recognises his tremendous talent.

Attacking-midfielder: Mario Gotze | Bayern Munchen and Germany

He may not have started a game for Bayern yet but Gotze should be the main playmaker for the Bavarians next term despite his age. Gotze lit up the world stage when at Dortmund and was arguably the best young midfielder seen for a long time. He has all the tools for a playmaker and in a few years time you could expect him to compete for the Ballon d'Or. 

Left-wing: Neymar Jr. | Barcelona and Brazil

A left winger by nature, Neymar can also slot in at left midfield for club and country. The most popular young player in the world right now, Neymar has already scored many goals in his club career. A skilled dribbler, Neymar can take deadly shots too. 

Striker: Stephan El Shaarawy | AC Milan and Italy

El Shaarawy is one of the most lethal young finishers around and is a frequent goalscorer for AC Milan and sometimes Italy too. El Shaarawy started the season with a bang netting numerous goals in a small span of time and his stats were comparable to world class players like Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao but he slowly burned out this term but that isn't a worry because gradually he will improve his stamina and become even better. 

Substitutes bench:

Thibaut Courtois

De Sciglio

Marquinhos

Paul Pogba 

Lucas Moura

Philipp Coutinho 

Romelu Lukaku 

 

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