Youth players seem to excite football fans, bringing a promise of future glories and victories.
Nowadays, footballers are breaking onto the scene earlier and earlier, with several stars making their first-team debuts during their teenage years.
Bearing that in mind, here is a list of the brightest teenagers in football at the moment, and a little bit about them.
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GK – Gianluigi Donnarumma
At the start of this season, there were very few people who knew the name of this Italian goalkeeper, possibly due to him only being 16 years and eight months old when he made his debut for AC Milan this season.
Yet, make his debut he did, and he's held a place in the team since. The keeper has made 29 appearances and has impressed many for his physique and reflexes, with some comparing him to a future Gianluigi Buffon.
It is very clear that we will be seeing a lot more of Donnarumma, for club and probably for country.
RB – Timothy Fosu-Mensah
One of the batches of Manchester United players that seem to have been brought to light, Fosu-Mensah has been one of the most impressive.
The defender, who can play in midfield, shows a genuine desire to make tackles and put his body on the line, something that seems to become rarer in the game.
His midfield background means he is confident on the ball and can pass forwards. Although he has only played the equivalent of fewer than three games, he has already registered an assist, and at 18-years-old, has plenty of time hone his skills.
CB – Jairo Riedewald
Ajax places a lot of faith in their youth, and Riedewald is no exception.
The Netherlands international, who has already earned three caps is the epitome of a Dutch defender. With great athleticism, solid tackling and the ability to pick his head up and pass the ball, the centre-back is already attracting attention at 19-years-old.
Already he holds a record as the youngest debutant goal scorer for club and league, knocking in at the age of 17 years and 104 days. The future seems bright for the player if he can continue the fine talent he has demonstrated already.
CB – Reece Oxford
West Ham have been full of surprises this season, their incredible form in the league, the inspiring ability of Dimitri Payet, and their results against top clubs.
One of these results was against Arsenal, in their first game of the season, which also coincided with Oxford’s debut.
Oxford, was 16 at the time, and waiting for his previous summer exam results, is now 17, and impressing in every game he plays.
At such a tender age, he shows good poise and physicality. Also, Oxford has been able to play as a holding midfielder, only further showing his calibre as a player.
LB – Kieran Tierney
Tierney has come to the forefront as Premier League clubs like Liverpool and Manchester City scouting him with interest.
The Manx-born, Scottish international, has nailed himself a place in the Celtic side. Known for his willingness to get forwards and defend, the player has already earned himself a cap for Scotland.
He has earned himself praise from people like Chris Sutton who said: “Celtic have unearthed a real with the youngster.”
Tierney could be a great talent in the future, and one to watch.
DM – Riechedly Bazoer
Bazoer has really nailed himself a place in the Ajax team this season, playing 29 times in the Eredivisie, knocking in five goals over that period.
The midfielder seems to have it all at such a young age, using his entire 6’0 ft to his advantage with excellent strength and good tackling.
The midfielder can manipulate the ball in any way, with great passing and the ability to dribble the ball into space.
Like some other players in this team, Bazoer has benefitted from being able to grow and develop at a smaller club, but world class clubs are looking at him with serious interest.
CM – Youri Tielemans
The Belgian is an incredibly talented young midfielder. He has a good range of passing, is excellent with both feet, and has goals in his game.
He has scored five goals in the Pro Belgian League, an impressive tally at 19-years-old.
There is a lot of hype about the player, he is the youngest player to make a competitive debut in the Champions League, and has impressed many top clubs in Europe.
CM – Renato Sanches
A Portuguese player who has been making headlines after his £27.5m transfer to Bayern Munich, but the player was earning attention before his move.
Some players are born with blistering pace, which helps them bring them to the next level. Sanches is not one of those players, but his technical ability completely makes up for it. He has been described as a box to box midfielder, with great composure on the ball.
His capacity to play the ball out means he has been known to pull strings in midfield, which will be an attribute that will add to any team.
AM – Martin Odegaard
Last year, this Norwegian took the media by storm after Real Madrid signed him at the age of 15.
Coverage of him has died down since, as he is still developing in the Real Madrid B team.
Odegaard has been compared to the likes of David Silva and Lionel Messi – A smart midfielder, with quick feet, seemingly impossible balance, and an excellent attacking mindset.
If he managed to reach the heights of the players he has been compared to, the Norwegian will be incredibly satisfied.
ST – Marcus Rashford
Rashford seems to be everywhere at the moment, whether in a discussion about a spot for England, or just discussions about his prospects as a young player. Whatever the conversation, it certainly contains high praise for the 18-year-old.
If the ball falls to Rashford in the box, it has gotten to the point where it would be surprising if he didn’t bag a goal. To couple his finishing, he has pace, and incredibly intelligent movement.
The striker has scored seven in 16 games and seems to be a perfect replacement for Wayne Rooney when he makes his move into midfield.
ST – Gabriel Barbosa
The Brazilian, more commonly known as Gabriel has the benefit of playing for the club where players such as Neymar have started their career.
Gabriel has nailed himself a place in the Santos team at the age of 19 and has started adding goals to his game. With seven goals in 17 appearances in the State League, he could be called the modern forward – excellent pace and great finishing.
Whether a club will be tempted to purchase the young striker remains to be seen, being linked to Manchester United in recent weeks.
Have we missed any teenagers out from this XI? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!
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