Pedri, Bukayo Saka and Eduardo Camavinga are just three of the young footballers to have shone in 2021.
Each year, it’s always fascinating to see which new starlets break on to the scene and lay down their claim to the status of the next big thing in the beautiful game.
Besides, there’s such a thrilling romanticism to the idea that your team or one of the world’s best clubs might have stumbled upon a player who could dominate the sport in the coming years.
Rising stars in football
Or, of course, there is the element of jeopardy that comes with overhyping a young player too much and seeing them follow in the footsteps of players like Alexandre Pato or Mario Balotelli.
However, you can’t help looking at the sustained form of 2021’s finest youngsters and feel confident that very few of them will become the latest in a long line of wonderkids to fade away.
Leeds 1-4 Arsenal Match Reaction (Football Terrace)
From the lethal finishing of Mason Greenwood to the midfield balling of Jude Bellingham, there has arguably never been a better time to be coming through the ranks of a leading football club.
But with so much talent comes so much competition and the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) have tried to name the very best of football’s starlets in 2021.
Best team of youngsters in 2021
The revered statisticians picked the IFFHS Men’s Youth (U20) World Teams 2021 with players, judging by the selections, being able to qualify if they were under 20 at some point this year.
In other words, there are a few 20-year-olds in the line-up contrary to the title, but the moral of the story is that wonderkids like Erling Haaland, Phil Foden and Alphonso Davies are too old now.
However, that doesn’t make the XI any less stacked with up and coming talent, so be sure to enjoy who the IFFHS consider to be finest young players of the year in the thrilling team down below:
GK: Anatoliy Trubin (Shakhtar Donetsk)
CB: Benoît Badiashile (AS Monaco)
CB: Eric Garcia (Manchester City and Barcelona)
CB: Nuno Mendes (Sporting CP and Paris Saint-Germain)
RM: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)
CM: Eduardo Camavinga (Stade Rennes and Real Madrid)
CM: Pedri (Barcelona)
LM: Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
RW: Rodrygo (Real Madrid)
LW: Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich)
Plenty of wonderkids to get excited about
Talent, talent everywhere. Now that starting XI was cause some serious damage.
It really is exciting times for football and the English game in particular with two members of the Three Lions’ Euro 2020 squad, as well as the sensational Greenwood, getting the call up from the IFFHS.
And that’s no small feat when you consider they’re lining up against potential future world-beaters like Pedri, Mendes, Camavinga and Musaila, who all play for some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
That’s not to mention the fact that the competition was so high that players like Gavi, Florian Wirtz, Ansu Fati, Giovanni Reyna and Gabriel Martinell were forced to miss out amongst all the quality.
In fact, perhaps the only selection that caught is off guard was Rodrygo’s presence in the front three because it hasn’t exactly been a vintage year for the Real prodigy despite his undoubted talent.
The 20-year-old has seen his transfer value sink down to €35.00 million on the back of 12 months where he amassed just three goals and five assists in the famous white jersey.
But at the point where we’re splitting hairs over one of Brazil’s most exciting prospects, you know that there’s plenty to shout about in a starting XI that could dominate football for the next 15 years.