When Ousmane Dembele moved to replace PSG’s world-record-fee signing Neymar at Barcelona, a little-known 17-year-old became the first Englishman to move to Germany—Borussia Dortmund. It was No 7-shirt Sancho, the boy who had already stolen the limelight at the European U-17 championships, where he was named UEFA’s Golden Player.
A £40-million deal in football is not abnormal, but paying that much for a player who is only ten days old in club soccer is rare. He just made his debut with Flamengo, when Real Madrid coughed up the money to get Junior, a forward blessed with raw pace and finishing skills. He shot to fame in March, helping Brazil win the U-17 S. American Championship, scoring seven goals.
In May this year, Gomes came on for Wayne Rooney in a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace, becoming the second youngest player to turn out for Man United since Busby Babe Duncan Edwards in 1953. An attacking midfielder who has already captained
England in three different age-groups, Gomes has been likened to greats like Ronaldinho for his skill and to Scholes
for his vision.
Touted as one of the future stars of the Bundesliga, the 17-year-old already stands at an impressive 1.87 metre. With Teutonic efficiency and ability of using both feet and his head, he can score a variety of goals inside the box. Currently captaining the German side at the tournament, the striker scored twice, helping his side cruise past Columbia into the quarterfinals with a 4-0 win.
It may be sticking our neck out propping up one of our own, but Aniket Jadhav has the bit between his teeth for the long haul. Born in Kohlapur, the 17-year-old is a Neymar fan, and can operate on the flanks courtesy slick, quick feet and the good habit of keeping his head up. Jadhav first played left-back, then moved up to the left wing, and now dreams of playing as a striker.
Lincoln Corrêa dos Santos
A cool customer, this World Cup is where the lad from Flamengo’s youth set-up is expected to flourish. He may be overshadowed by Vinicius, but Lincoln can hold his own on either wing, and can operate through the middle. He is strong, with a knack for finding the back of the net, and shone at the S.American Under-17 Championship where he scored five in eight appearances.
Scoring twice against the home side, he introduced himself to an Indian audience. Europe, however, had already woken up to the Ghanian sensation in July, when he was heavily linked with a move to Portuguese giant Porto. It was no surprise however, for a player who had made his name in the U-17 Nations Cup in May this year, his four goals helped Ghana to the final, where they eventually lost to Mali.
Already a prodigy, the Spaniard has been compared to Dutch legend Marco Van Basten and linked to several Premier League clubs, probably due to his 1.82-metre frame. However, Ruiz is already on the books of Barcelona, plays for the B-team, and is a La Masia product. He scored twice in the recent 4-0 Spanish demolition of Niger, alerting the likes of Arsenal, who are rumoured to have made contact already.