From the time he went on to score two, assisted one and impressed everyone at Manchester United with his dribbling skills and raw pace on his debut, Marcus Rashford has established himself as a fan favorite.
While his career graph does seem to have straightened out a bit after the initial rise and rise, there remains no doubt about his ability to create a moment of magic out of nowhere. He will take the field in Russia alongside a talented England squad full of possibilities and don’t be surprised if he goes on to produce some memorable moments this World Cup. He is still only 20 though!
Four years ago, the Manchester City forward was painting the streets barefoot to celebrate the World Cup in his homeland.
Then he was just a Palmeiras youth team player.
Now he is one of the hottest young striking talents on the planet.
Remember his performance at Rio 2016, bagging three goals as Brazil took gold?
The 20-year-old scored seven goals for the Selecao en route to Russia and has been equally prolific for the English champions – firing 17 this season.
So, a heavy burden of expectation heading into the World Cup then?
Not for Jesus.
“I am living my dream,” says the striker. “It isn’t a pressure at all.”
Paulo Dybala is one of the best prospects in world football. The talented winger has already had an amazing career with Italian giants Juventus but it can easily be much better next season. His short stature and impeccable dribbling may remind you of one or two more Argentine legends but he was able to carve a niche of his own establishing as a vital cog in the Juventus machine which went on to win yet another Serie A. With an ageing forward line, Argentina will be hoping that this young and talented player can help Argentina go the distance and do one better than the last World Cup. Definitely, a player to watch out for.
Germany possesses such an amazing array of young talent that an entire eleven could be chosen.
But Leipzig forward Timo Werner definitely deserves a mention.
The 22-year old made his national debut last year at Germany’s successful Confederations Cup campaign, scoring three times.
For one still young, Werner has an incredible amount of experience – he is the youngest ever player to make 150 appearances in the Bundesliga.
Lightning quick and ice-cool in front of goal (13 in the Bundesliga this season), he is being talked about as being the spearhead of Germany’s attack for the next ten years.
Now comes the chance to gain further recognition at the World Cup, as Germany look to become the first team since Brazil in 1962 to retain the trophy.
The youngest player to have ever been nominated for the Ballon d’Or, it would be no surprise if he takes the prize home when he reaches his peak. Kylian Mbappe has already shown enough promise in his very short career to suggest that he can set the stage alight at this World Cup. Part of a highly talented French team, he will have plenty of opportunities to showcase his talent, play with freedom and feed his fellow players with those perfectly weighted passes.
Few other young players to watch out for: –
A Real Madrid youth product, Achraf Hakimi could set the World Cup alight with his quick turn of pace, excellent crossing ability and stamina. Having already played for Real Madrid at a UEFA Champions League, the 18-year-old is not new to playing and performing on a big occasion.
The Mexican international, affectionately known as ‘Chucky’ in his homeland, had an excellent domestic season in the Dutch Eredivisie with PSV. If this skillful wide attacking player can replicate his domestic form for the national team in this World Cup, his stock will rise immensely after the tournament.
The 21-year-old central midfielder from Russia starred in the European under-17 championships in 2013 helping Russia win the tournament. He was again the star on the international stage when he helped Russia’s under-19s to the final of the European Championships in 2015. So, he has done excellently for Russia at youth level but can he replicate that at the senior level in the greatest stage in front of his home crowd? If he does that, his constant link-up rumors with some of the biggest clubs in Europe will certainly make more sense.