Zouma, Goretzka and Werner head football’s top teens of 2014
Southampton’s Luke Shaw, Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling and Nathan Redmond of Norwich are considered three of the brightest teenage talents currently plying their trade in the Premier League.
However, they are not the only teenagers in world football with bright futures and the hope of making a name for themselves in 2014.
Below are 11 players that are not the most well known at present, but are expected to be bigger household names by the end of the year.
GK – Odisseas Vlachodimos (Stuttgart)
Despite still being aged 19, Vlachodimos has represented Germany in all age groups from under 15 up to the under 20s and he is currently the first choice in the Stuttgart second team.
Vlachodimos has also made the substitute’s bench for Stuttgart in the Bundesliga this season and it may not be long before he is challenging Sven Ulreich for a more regular starting berth.
RB – Javier Manquillo (Atletico Madrid)
Manquillo signed a contract extension with Atletico in September, which ties him to the club until 2018 and was reportedly the target of a €6m bid from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer, but he opted to stay with the La Liga side.
A loan move does look increasingly likely, with Elche and Real Betis potential destinations and he should get chances at Atletico soon enough, with Juanfran the only natural right-back currently on the club’s books.
LB – Abner (Coritiba)
A summer move to Roma already looks on the cards for the 17-year-old dubbed as the next Roberto Carlos.
He is typically Brazilian in terms of his attacking forages, but also a better defender than the majority of his fellow countrymen.
CB – Kurt Zouma (Saint Etienne)
Chelsea are said to have already opened talks with Zouma, while Arsenal, Inter Milan and Monaco are additionally thought to be interested in the defender, who is regarded as one of the top tacklers in European football.
Zouma is also dominant in the air and strong in a positional sense, which allows him to make numerous interceptions. He is on track to being one of the best defenders in world football in the near future.
CB – Eric Dier (Sporting Lisbon)
Dier may be more well known than the majority of this list, having represented England at under-21 level, but having moved to Portugal in his younger years, it is at Sporting Lisbon where he is developing his career.
The 19-year-old has played six times for Lisbon this season as they are serious challengers in the Portuguese title race.
RM – Alen Halilovic (Dynamo Zagreb)
Arsenal and Tottenham have been linked with Halilovic, with the latter reportedly offering over £10m for his services over the summer.
The 17-year-old already being capped three times by Croatia, making him their youngest ever international player, while he is also the youngest scorer ever in the Croatian top-flight.
LM – Alvaro Vadillo (Real Betis)
Real Betis may be bottom of La Liga, but one bright spark has been the progress of Vadillo, who has the most assists within their squad and has seemingly fully overcome a previous torn cruciate ligament injury
Again, it is Arsenal and Tottenham that are said to be interested in the keen dribbler.
CM – Matthias Ginter (Freiberg)
Ginter has been an ever present for Freiberg and the fact that he can play in both central defence and central midfield is an additional string to his bow.
Bayern Munich have been sniffing around a potential deal, with links with Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal also present.
CM – Leon Goretzka (Schalke)
It isn’t every day that an 18-year-old is found that has already gained Champions League experience, but this is true of Goretzka, after a summer move from Bochum to Schalke.
The fact Julian Draxler is still at Schalke is helping to keep Goretzka somewhat under the radar, but given he wears the number eight shirt, more first-team appearances and perhaps an international debut in the next 18 months are not unrealistic.
AM – Timo Werner (Stuttgart)
Werner won the Fritz Walter Medal for being the best German in his age group last season and has continued to progress at a scintillating rate this campaign after being handed his Stuttgart debut at the age of 17.
Werner already has four goals and four assists in the first team and is a lot more old fashioned than many attacking players, being more about power than flair.
ST – Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo)
Berardi is 11th in the Serie A scoring charts this season with seven goals in 13 appearances, despite playing for lowly Sassuolo.
The Juventus loanee looks to have a bright future which has had its issues in the striking department in recent years and he seems to have all of the attributes to be a big success as a clinical finisher, a hard worker off the ball and the ability to link play.