These kids are good! Here is a run down of the top teenage talents in the world, players who in the very near future will surely become the legends of the future!
TEN) Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)
Arsene Wenger has a very young squad at his disposal but even some of his batch must look upon Wilshere as a youngster after all we are talking about a midfielder who won’t turn 17 until New Years Day! The way the teenager impressed in first the youth team and then the reserves left the Gunners boss with no choice but to give him the first team squad place his performances merited regardless of his age. Such is the ability of the attacking midfielder that in the two and a bit games he has taken part in the team has managed to net 10 times, coincidence, I think not!
NINE) Alberto Paloschi (AC Milan)
This 18 year old AC Milan striker had the kind of debut we would all dream about (and wake up disappointed) when he came on for his first Serie A match as a sub and promptly scored with literally his first touch of the ball. The impish finisher has continued to impress but perhaps wisely the San Siro side have opted to loan out the Italian Under 20 international to Parma.
EIGHT) Rafael (Manchester United)
When I first saw this 18 year old right wing back in action in a friendly against Peterborough in pre-season he looked awesome but then I guess it’s easy to impress against lowly opposition in a pretty much meaningless match. However when he came on as sub for Gary Neville in the huge crunch match against Arsenal at the Emirates he confirmed to me and anyone else watching, just what potential Sir Alex Ferguson has managed to secure. Such was the lad’s impact that had the game had a few more minutes to run he could have helped his side to a draw. This teenager seems to have it all, speed and determination and perhaps most importantly the ability fight back and tackle.
SEVEN) Mario Balotelli (Inter Milan)
Having only turned 18 a few months ago Sicilian born striker Balotelli has the kind of future in the game that one can only dream of, all he needs to do now is try to unseat some fairly big names in the Inter Milan strike force in order to show Serie A his potential. The well built striker has made an instant impact in the first team but given the likes of Ibrahimovic, Crespo, Cruz, Adriano et al are also plying their striking trade at the club it may be that Italian Under 21 international looks to a move abroad to secure his bright future and given his talents there are no doubt a flock of top tier clubs ready and waiting to offer Jose Mourinho large sums of money for this teenager.
SIX) Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich)
This teenage Bayern Munich star is already being compared to former favourite, and national team legend, Michael Ballack and it’s easy to see why he is so lauded by the Bundesliga club. He made his first team debut at age 17 and was an instant hit and his performances helped his side complete the German League and Cup double. Perhaps even more impressive has been his impact at international level. He was named the player of the tournament at the FIFA Under 17 world cup and has recently made his Under 21 debut aged just 18. His creativity and determination will surely lead him to a full senior call up before long and he could well be a German legend of the future.
FIVE) Gareth Bale (Tottenham)
This Welsh international may only be 19 years of age but this is already his fourth season of professional football and he has shown a great deal of potential in the last few years and it’s no wonder that clubs such as Liverpool and Manchester United are interested in this left sided player. Although occasionally sidelined with aggravating injuries when Bale has been on show he has on the whole impressed his White Hart Lane support. His ability going forward may overshadow his defensive prowess but given time he will no doubt resolve any uncertainty at the back. He also possesses great ability from set pieces and has the kind of determination that has made him a cult hero at Tottenham.
FOUR) Carlos Vela (Arsenal)
This 19 year old Mexican’s footballing progression has been as speedy as it has been superb. After signing for Arsenal at 16 Arsene Wenger wisely then loaned out the attacker to Celta Vigo and then with big success to Salamanca. Next came a season in La Liga with Osasuna and pretty much every team in Spain’s top tier looked on in awe and tried to prise the youngster away from the Emirates outfit. Now having secured a work permit he is wowing the north London clubs supporters with his deft touch, turn of pace and amazing finishing. It won’t be long before Nicklas Bendtner is finally shown the door and then Carlos will be the little bit closer to becoming a first choice player. Truly awesome talent!
THREE) Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
Another product of the impressive youth academy at Southampton, Theo Walcott has risen dramatically in the last 12 months and is surely set to be a legend at the Emirates. The 19 year old already has over 100 appearances to his name and became a national hero with his incredible hat-trick in Croatia. Whilst the winger/striker is still raw under Arsene Wenger’s guidance he is sure to go from strength to strength. The question may be whether he continues to play out wide or possibly move to front man, he has the ability to play both roles and his speed and technique has defenders quaking in their boots.
TWO) Bojan Krki? Pérez (Barcelona)
The sign of a truly gifted youngster is the ability to get yourself noticed, and selected, for a team that already has a huge squad full of talented internationals and Bojan has done just that and more at the Camp Nou. In his first season at the club the teenager managed to score 12 goals in 20 starts and perhaps more impressively found himself appearing in an incredible 48 matches in 07-08, thus showing his importance to the team. He has a great footballing brain and his incisive runs and clever touches suit the current squad perfectly and are a joy to watch. The 18 year old striker has now been capped at senior level and will no doubt be a cult hero at the Catalan club for some time to come.
ONE) Alexandre Pato (AC Milan)
This AC Milan and Brazil striker’s ability is frankly frightening and he could well be the key to both his club and country becoming the forces to be reckoned with that they once used to be. Such was the faith in his ability the San Siro side forked out an astonishing 18m for the then 17 year old, it was the kind of fee that would force most youngsters to feel a huge weight of pressure and expectation, fortunately the slightly built striker had no problems dealing with the price tag and promptly scored on his debut and managed 9 goals in 18 appearances for a team who as a whole had a poor season. He will surely learn from the likes of Kaka, Ronaldinho and Shevchenko whilst at the Milan side and will undoubtedly become a huge star!