Southampton's Luke Shaw & Football's 10 Best Teenagers...
10) LUKE SHAW
A Premier League regular for Southampton at the age of 18, it will surely not be too long until his club face a financially irresistible offer for the young left-back. Now part of the England U21 set-up, Shaw’s reading of the game and ability to time his challenges are superb for a player his age.
9) MBAYE NIANG
After spending time on trial with various English clubs, including Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, Niang, a powerful striker who can also operate as a winger, eventually earned a move to AC Milan last summer. The France youth international failed to score a league goal for the Italian side, but did find the net in the Cup and earned a new contract with the club that lasts until 2017.
8) GEDION ZELALEM
Rarely has there been so much hype about a player yet to play a senior game, but with Gedion Zelalem the level of expectation appears to be justified. Capable of unlocking defences singlehandedly with precise through-balls, the German U16 international remains somewhat slight physically, but has already been promoted to the Arsenal first-team squad this season at the age of just 16.
7) RAHEEM STERLING
Sterling’s off the field misdemeanours have been well documented, but on the pitch the youngster has excelled after he broke into the Liverpool first-team with some outstanding performances last season. The winger also made his senior England debut against Sweden and, although he faces competition from the likes of Wilfried Zaha, could soon become a regular fixture in Roy Hodgson’s squad.
6) ALEX GRIMALDO
Now firmly installed as the regular left-back for Barcelona’s B team, Grimaldo is set for an incredibly bright future. Already a Spanish U21 international at the age of 17, the youngster, who previously spent time at Valencia’s academy, frequently rampages down the left flank, creating an abundance of goalscoring opportunities for his team-mates.
5) ANTHONY MARTIAL
It is an indication of this young French striker’s talent that he recently made the switch from Lyon to Monaco for around €5 million. The move came after the French U21 international had made just three league appearances for Lyon, and it will certainly be a challenge for him to live up to the hefty price tag, but Martial does have an impressive goalscoring record for France’s youth teams.
4) OLIVER TORRES
As would be expected from a Spanish U21 international, Torres is a sublime passer of the ball, but it is the sharpness of his decision-making that marks him out as a major talent for the future. Having come through the ranks at Atletico Madrid, he broke into their senior squad last season after helping Spain to win the U19 European Championships.
3) VIKTOR FISCHER
Predominantly used on the left flank, Fischer was named Ajax’s Talent of the Year last season following a breakthrough campaign in which he scored 12 goals for the first-team. Extremely dangerous when on the ball, the Danish international has been persistently linked with a move elsewhere but has so far decided to remain in Holland.
2) JULIAN DRAXLER
Already capped seven times by Germany at just 19 years of age, Draxler has long been regarded as one of his country’s supreme talents. Extremely comfortable in possession and capable of dribbling past opponents with ease, the Schalke midfielder has also scored several important goals in the Bundesliga.
1) GERARD DEULOFEU
Extremely quick and capable of delivering precise and dangerous crosses, Deulofeu has surprisingly been scarcely used by Everton since joining Roberto Martinez’s side on loan. However, the winger frequently demonstrated his class for Barcelona and Spain’s youth sides and seems destined for a highly successful career at the top level.