The Youngsters Set to Light up the World Cup
The talking is over, we’re just days away from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and anticipation for the greatest sporting spectacle on earth is at fever pitch. Aside from the passion, the drama and the pageantry on the pitch, one of the things that always gets fans excited at the World Cup is seeing which young players will use the tournament to announce themselves as superstars on a global stage. Every time the tournament rolls around there are inevitably a couple of young talents ready to stand out and make their mark so the entire world can take note.
It’ll be a dream come true for most young players who will get their first taste of World Cup football and with some of the world’s best playing in this illustrious tournament. There are some teams that can ill-afford to leave these youngsters on the bench if they are to keep dreams of lifting the famous golden globe aloft come December.
There are plenty of names capable of turning the tide in their side’s favour at crucial moments in the game so who will come up with goods and help their team go all the way in Qatar? Here’s our list of generational talents to keep an eye on during the tournament.
Jude Bellingham, England
England is one of the favourites for the tournament largely in part to the plethora of young talent at their disposal such as 19-year-old Jude Bellingham. Already touted as the most sought-after midfielder of next summer’s transfer window with Spanish giants Real Madrid and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool already heavily linked with the youngster, Bellingham has shown in a number of performances for his club, Borussia Dortmund, and country this season that he has all the attributes to be able to slot into an elite side.
Bellingham’s England is +650 to win the World Cup according to the best soccer betting sites. He has earned 15 caps for England and looks set to play a starring role at the World Cup with the nature of England’s tactics meaning there will be a huge emphasis on Bellingham as the midfield creator. With nine goals and three assists from 27 games this season he is in excellent form and primed to make an impact; he may not start every match for England at the tournament, but expect Bellingham to be heavily involved.
The Barcelona midfielder may still only be 19-years-old but he has already been hailed as a generational talent and his club manager Xavi describes him as a “superlative footballer”. The midfielder, whose importance to Barcelona in the centre of the pitch has earned him comparisons with his manager, is without question one of the most gifted young footballers on the planet.
Alongside Gavi, it looks like Barcelona have found their new killer midfield partnership. Pedri is a world-class talent in the making and could dominate Spanish football for years to come. He has already earned 12 caps for the national side and whilst the Spain team he is playing in is not at the same level as the one his mentor pulled the strings in, that will not faze Pedri. The Young Player of Euro 2020 last year is sure to light up the International stage once again.
Keeping with Spain for a moment, it would be amiss to leave Pedri’s partner in crime off this list. One of Xavi’s prodigies rebuilding Barca right now, there is so much expected of this exciting young talent. He is La Roja’s youngest-ever player and the youngest to score a goal and the teenager is showing no signs of stopping. He is a key part of Luis Enrique’s side with his creativity, passing ability and pressing making him too much to handle. His maturity at such a young age has impressed and he is set to sign a new deal at Barcelona who realise they have something special on their hands. At 18 years old he is arguably the most intriguing prospect this World Cup. Already playing for Spain, he looks like he has the world at his feet.
Giovanni Reyna, USA
The son of one former Manchester City star has caught the headlines this summer in the shape of Erling Haaland but his good friend Gio Reyna is one to keep an eye on in Qatar. The 19-year-old Borussia Dortmund winger has been a marvel for the Bundesliga side and has also been fast-tracked into the senior team. In his short spell in the International setup, he has already amassed four goals and an assist whilst wearing the stars and stripes. Reyna’s pace and dribbling ability make him a real joy to watch. The USA will need to produce some special performances to get past the group stage and Reyna will look to make a name for himself in Qatar and showcase his ultimate potential where it matters the most.
Eduardo Camavinga, France
If you’re a key man turning heads at Real Madrid at 19 years old and have a price tag of £40million you must be doing something right. That’s very much the case for Camavinga, who is one of European football’s brightest prospects and has been for some time. Carlo Ancelotti eased the young France international into life at Real Madrid, understandably, but there should be big things to come.
France are coming into the tournament as defending champions and have a better-than-good chance of retaining their crown this December with Camavinga set to play a crucial role if that were to happen. The fact that Eduardo Camavinga is already at Real Madrid tells you a lot about the French star. A Champions League winner and still only 19, he looks the natural successor to Paul Pogba at international level. Keep an eye out for him in Qatar.
Vinicius Jr. , Brazil
Vinicius has quickly established himself as one of the world’s best attacking footballers and with good reason. His 22-goal haul for Los Blancos last season, which included the Champions League Final winner, was second only to Karim Benzema, and rightfully earned him the Champions League young player of the season by UEFA.
With all the attacking talent at Brazil manager Tite’s disposal, he might not be able to field Vinicius and Antony together all that much, but we could definitely see them both making a huge impact. While he hasn’t been quite as prolific with Brazil, Vini Jr is part of a Brazilian setup that hasn’t tasted defeat in three years making them the outright favourites to win it all.