Too easily nowadays is a youngster branded as ‘the next big thing’, however not all given this title live up to it.
While some are able to at least make a fist of proving this title correct, others find themselves fall well short of superstardom.
Let’s take a look back at some of the footballers in the past ten years who have crumbled under this title.
Royston Drenthe came onto the scene back in 2007 at the European under-21 Championships for Netherlands. His form from this earned himself at a move to Real Madrid.
At the tender age of just 20, Drenthe never seemed to push on and become a mainstay in the Madrid side. Since his time with the Galacticos, Drenthe has had spells at Everton, Reading and even away in Russia.
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Drenthe currently finds himself out on loan at Sheffield Wednesday, and it is fair to say he hasn’t quite lived up to the hype.
At the under-21 championship, Ryan Babel was a teammate of Drenthe’s. Babel did achieve more than his teammate, however many will say there was still so much more to come.
Babel was also rewarded with a move in 2007, but his was to Liverpool. After four seasons at the club, he moved onto Hoffenheim and Ajax. Babel now plays for Turkish side Kasimpasa.
He was blessed with so many raw physical attributes and it was widely felt he could become one of the best in the world.
One for any fans of early Football Manager games is Freddy Adu. He was widely spoken about being a star and was linked with all the European giants of the game before he signed a professional contract at the age of 14.
Adu’s big move came also in 2007, when he joined Benfica. But this was top be the peak of the hotly rated youngster's career, and it did not last long, with only 20 appearances to speak of. He now finds himself playing in the Serbian national league for Jagodina.
This list would not be complete without an Englishman. David Bentley was the first Englishman to score at the new Wembley in 2007 against Italy in an under-21 international.
Bentley, was tipped by many to be England’s new David Beckham, with a similar delivery and style of play. Despite playing for both Arsenal and Tottenham, his best performances came whilst playing for Blackburn.
His failure to produce consistent form drew him many critics and moved to FC Rostov in 2012. He subsequently retired last year, at the age of just 29. Bentley claims he fell out love with the game.
Bentley is the only one of the four to express such dismay, but you wouldn’t bet against the others saying the same. The media attention, pressure and scrutiny may very well be the reason these ‘wonderkids’ turned to ‘flops’.
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