Photo: Raheem Sterling (Getty Images)
With just three days away from the start of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to kick-off, the world has turned its attention to South America. There are many injured stars that will be missing from the spectacle which has presented the chance for many young players to announce themselves to the football world. With that said, Yardie Sports takes a look at the top ten youngsters who could really make a big impression this summer at the 'Home of Football.'
The Jamaican-born English speedster had an excellent season in the Barclays Premier League for Liverpool scoring 10 goals while providing 7 assists in all competitions. The 19 year old has developed really well this season and shown a lot of maturity in his play. He seems to know when to use his pace, his skills and became composed in front of goal. His pace is absolutely frightening and combined with his trickery and flair it makes him very dangerous. He is very courageous, explosive and has a high work rate. He has a very good chance of featuring in the first 11 but with his pace and trickery could be a dangerous weapon for England coming off the substitute's bench.
Since he moved to Real Madrid in the summer of 2011, the big French centre back has developed into an excellent all-round player after being touted as a big talent during his time at Lens. He stands at 6ft 3in providing a big physical presence in the centre of defense while providing a threat from set pieces. He reads the game extremely well, has good anticipation and is quite brilliant in one-on-one situations. He also has good pace about him and more often than not he positions himself in the right areas. He should play a big part in Les Bleus's campaign in Brazil after lifting the Champions League trophy in May for Real Madrid.
At the start of the 2013/2014 season, William Carvalho was virtually unknown to the football world but is very much on the lips of everyone today. The big central midfielder from Sporting Lisbon spent the previous season on loan in Belgium at Cercle Brugge where he learned his trade and returned a top player. At 6ft 2in, the 22 years old is a dominant figure in the middle of the park with his excellent sense of positioning and his natural ability to sense danger quite early. He is very disciplined, sitting in front of the defense providing a shield but also distributing the ball with great accuracy. He is very much a fixture in Portugal's midfield and after a stellar season in the Portuguese Superliga, he is now set to make a big impression in Brazil.
Tipped as the natural successor to midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo, Verratti has been making quite a name for himself in France with PSG. The diminutive 21 year old dictator is highly rated in the football world due to his vision, technical ability and his composure on the ball at such a young age. The former Pescara man has nerves of steel and is very courageous, never afraid to get on the ball on top of his own penalty area even under immense pressure. His range of passing is at a very high level and at such a young age its quite astonishing. He seems to know where everyone is on the pitch and has the ability to get the better of the opponents with his quick feet. With Riccardo Montolivo ruled out due to injury the PSG man could play a major role in Italy's quest to become world champions.
The rise of the 22 year old has been astronomical over the last 18 months and has earned him a lot of high praises. He was even praised by Barcelona's Xavi who said the Atletico Madrid youngster is Spain's orchestrator for the next 10 years because he is an extraordinary player. Koke is very versatile being able to play from box-to-box as well as an attacking midfielder or out wide. He is quite physical and combined with his excellent technical qualities it makes him a unique Spanish player. Koke can score goals as well as make goals while working extremely hard for his team on both sides of the ball. He has everything to become a world class player and if he stays healthy he could achieve that status in the next couple of seasons.
After leaving Manchester United for Juventus in the summer of 2012, the 21 year old French starlet quickly established himself in Turin as a star of the future. Blessed with an excellent physique and technical brilliance, Pogba' style has likened him to French legend Patrick Vieira. He glides across the surface effortlessly, has a smooth technique and has a wide range of skills in his locker. He has tremendous self-belief and confidence and always backs himself when he goes onto the pitch. Pogba has the ability to get pass opponents with his pace and trickery while he packs a strong punch in his long range shooting which is very accurate and deadly. He will play a huge role in Les Bleus' march in Brazil and is very much the rising star of French Football.
Elegant, technically gifted, and dazzling are just a few ways in which this 19 year old has been described. In a miserable season at Old Trafford, the young Belgian has been a shining light on which the fans can reflect. He is super gifted in all departments and has even worked hard to get stronger in the gym. He has good pace and his tricks can get the better of any defender. He is never afraid to take on his markers and is very composed on the ball even when surrounded by several defenders. He can play anywhere in the attacking third and his smooth style and quick change of pace makes him difficult to defend against. He is very much a wild card selection by Marc Wilmots and in the absence of Christian Benteke, Januzaj could set World Cup alight for Belgium.
With Germany's most dangerous attacker (Marco Reus) ruled out due to injury, it presents a chance for Schalke's young dynamo Julian Draxler to stamp his authority on the German team. The 20 year old has been receiving a lot of praise throughout Europe as an exciting prodigy for the future. Draxler certainly has the skills, trickery, pace and finishing ability to become a great player. He has been troubled by injury in recent times but the Gelsenkirchen youngster now has the chance to prove his worth. He has the natural abilty to get the better of his opponents and is very dangerous in front of goal. In the absence of Reus, Draxler could be called upon and rest assured that he has the talent and ability to hurt any team.
On current form, the Chelsea goal machine is one of the best strikers in the world. Since his days at Anderlecht, the powerful striker has been grabbing the headlines for scoring goals and is seen as one to watch in the future. Over the last two season, the 21 year old sharp shooter has scored 33 goals in the Barclays Premier League on loan at West Brom and Everton. Lukaku was signed by Chelsea in the summer of 2011 as the direct replacement for Didier Drogba but never fit in immediately and was subsequently sent on loan. Lukaku has developed into a brilliant striker showing great pace, quick feet and running in-behind the defense. He is lethal in front of goal but also has the ability to make space for himself in tight spaces with his trickery and strength. He is the main striker for Belgium now that Benteke is out of the World Cup and he could very well be the tournament's top scorer based on his red hot form.
One of the most naturally gifted players in world football and one of the brightest prospects for Germany in the future is 22 year old Mario Gotze. Born in Bavaria, he learned his trade in the youth academy of Borussia Dortmund and burst onto the scene in 2010. He quickly became a household name and was awarded the Golden Boy Award in 2011 ahead of Eden Hazard and Neymar. The Bayern Munich attacker has everything in his locker to become the greatest German player of all time. He has excellent vision, wonderful technical qualities, pace, trickery and flair. He has the ability to make goals and his goal-scoring record is quite good. He will play a huge role in Germany's road to be world champions and he is more than capable of delivering success for Die Mannschaft.
There are other young players who will feature in Brazil who could leave a big statement on the tournament. The following are player who could also make an impression on the tournament.
Serge Aurier - Ivory Coast Ross Barkley - England
Juan Qunitero - Colombia Matthias Ginter - Germany
Josip Drmic - Switzerland Fabian Schar - Switzerland
Ricardo Rodriguez - Switzerland Mateo Kovacic - Croatia
Mattia De Sciglio - Italy Memphis Depay - Holland
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