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European XI: 2014 breakout stars

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GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen

Age: 21 Team: Borussia Monchengladbach

He is a major reason why Monchengladbach sit third in the Bundesliga, having conceded 19 goals in 17 matches. He commands the third best defence in Germany, and is now even being courted by Barcelona as a long term replacement for Victor Valdes. That is quite a compliment.

He may not be in the German team for Brazil this year, but watch for him to still have an incredible year.

RB: Lucas Digne

Age: 20 Team: Paris Saint-Germain

Digne has only made nine appearances so far this season but has responded remarkably when called upon. He has secured a Whoscored.com rating of 7.49 which places him behind only Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva in the PSG team.

That is quite an accomplishment for a 20-year-old defender. With Gregory van der Wiel slightly out of favour, Digne will find more chances in the first-team and he will be sure to grab them.

CB: Marc Bartra

Age: 22 Team: FC Barcelona

Barca have conceded only four times while Bartra has been on the field which has prompted Gerardo Martino to give him more chances to start. He has made 13 appearances, starting nine times this season.

Bartra was a member of the U-21 Spain team that won the European Cup, and he earned his first full cap for Spain on November 19. If he continues to get playing time he may well sneak into the World Cup team.

CB: Serge Aurier

Age: 21 Team: Toulouse FC

One of the lesser known names in this team, Aurier is currently in the middle of a breakout season. So far he has a Whoscored.com rating of 7.43 in 16 matches. That is incredible consistency from such a young defender.

He has cemented himself as the anchor of the Toulouse defence and should see regular playing time until the World Cup. He is very likely to be in Brazil come the summer.

LB: Ricardo Rodriquez

Age: 21 Team: VfL Wolfsburg

Rodriquez is having a simply brilliant year by any standards. He has contributed three goals and three assists from the back, while partnering Naldo in a solid back-line.

He has proven himself as a consistent option at left-back and cemented himself in the Swiss national team with 18 caps. He is almost a guarantee to be in Brazil.

CM: Sergi Roberto

Age: 21 Team: FC Barcelona

So far this season Roberto hasn’t been given much time in the team with only two starts and nine substitute appearances. With Xavi getting older he is sure to be given more time later in the year.

He plays with a style similar to Iniesta and although he is yet to record a goal or assist he is noted for an impressive passing range and great vision. He surely won’t be in the World Cup team but he really has a chance to make a mark this year.

CM: Julian Draxler

Age: 20 Team: Schalke 04

At only 20 years of age, Draxler has already proven himself as a valuable asset to the starting eleven. In 19 matches this season he has four goals and five assists to go along with a Whoscored.com rating of 7.62 in all competitions.

He has played admirably in the Champions League and scored a brilliant volley against FC Basel. He has 10 caps for Germany and is quite likely to feature in the World Cup squad.

CM: Clement Grenier

Age: 22 Team: Olympique Lyon

Grenier popped onto the scene last year with two beautiful free-kicks towards the end of the Ligue 1 season, and this season he has picked up right where he left off. He has four goals and four assists in 21 matches with a Whoscored.com rating of 7.19.

Although he has a tendency to lose focus during games he has had some terrific displays. He simply drips of class and is only going to get better. He has three caps for France and I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds himself in Brazil.

RW: Koke

Age: 21 Team: Atletico Madrid

Koke is one of the brightest young players in the world, and he has thoroughly demonstrated that this season. He has four goals and nine assists in 24 matches with a Whoscored.com rating of 7.48.

With form like that United are now after his signature. And it’s easy to see why; he has shown himself to be one of the best upcoming playmakers. He can play anywhere effectively in the midfield and has a very balanced, well rounded style. He has seven caps for Spain and it would be a shame if it didn’t go to Brazil.

CF: Pierre-Michel Lasogga

Age: 22 Team: Hamburger SV

Quite unknown before this year and new to the Bundesliga, he has been in remarkable form. In 13 matches he has scored nine times including a hat-trick in a 5-0 demolition of Nurnberg in October.

Although he has slowed down slightly as of late, he has all the quality to pick things up again. With no caps for Germany yet it is unlikely that he will be in the World Cup.

LW: Jese Rodriquez

Age: 20 Team: Real Madrid CF

Jese is a special young player; he has come up from Real Madrid Castilla and has started to make a mark this season albeit off the bench. He has 13 appearances with only one start but that hasn’t stopped him from scoring twice and adding three assists.

He has proven that he can play under pressure with the winner against Valencia and the winning assist against Celta Vigo. He too was part of the U-21 Championship Spain side in the summer. He is yet to play for Spain and probably will not feature in the World Cup but he is a player loaded with quality. Watch for him to become a superstar.

Honourable Mentions:

Lucas Piazon, Zakaria Bakkali, Luca Antei, Antoine Griezmann, Heung-Min Son.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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