Football Talent Spotter: The 10 Next Wonderkids of World Football 2013
When working on the wonderkids list for Football Manager 2013, I realized that many of the players is rather unknown for the ordinary football fans, as they regularly play for reserve teams and/or in minor leagues, or is based in an foreign country, which you are not fully acquainted with.
For the coming days we will give you the chance to get acquainted with the top ten young talents in world football 2013; ones to watch. These young talents are already super stars; as they possess the right mix of raw potential and skills to be described as great wonderkids of world football! All of these players have the ability to become the next Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi or Neymar, when it comes to fame and player success.
When trying to pick ten young talents out of tenth of possible choices, I have tried to sort the list by who have the most potential and their chances to become the next world class player, and how likely it will be for them to succeed on international or national level in 2013.
We have limited the list of containing players born after 01.01.1993, which makes them eligible for the UEFA European Under-21 Championship and UEFA European Under-19 Championship later this football season.
If you have come to this page to look for the best Wonderkids in Football Manager 2013, please check out our Wonderkids shortlist for FM13
LOOKING FOR MORE AMAZING EMERGING TALENTS? CHECK OUT: The new Football Manager 2014 Wonderkids
Kurt Zouma (18), Defender, France
Date of birth: October 27th 1994 (18)
Place of birth: Lyon
Club: AS Saint-Etienne
Nation: France, Central African Republic
National level: France U19
Position: Central Defender
Preferred Foot: Right
Height / Weight: 187, 85kg
France is well-known for producing quality talents. This time, there is no difference, by producing maybe one of the brightest talents in the football world at his age. Kurt Zouma is a young starlet with a shining future, and could be the next Marcel Desailly...
Image is provided by KevFB (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
Kurt Zouma was raised in the outskirt of Lyon, and got his first lessons of football tutoring at a minor youth club, Vaulx-en-Velin.
At the age of 15 he got spotted by AS Saint-Etienne, where he signed a youth contract. At the age of only 16(!) he got his debut against Bordeaux, and has recorded 27 appearances the last two years. For the 2012-2013 season,
he has recorded 10 appearances in the Ligue 1.
Kurt Zouma is still a young player, but has immense strength and is regarded as a pure athlete. The towering defender, has everything he needs to withstand every sort of threat for the future. At his best he is good in positioning and heading, but what might stand out the most, is his passing, acceleration and speed, which is vital for a modern defender. Because of his young age, there are several areas of his defending play that needs to be improved, but Kurt Zouma has the professionalism to develop further. In additional to raw physic, which has impressed both fans and scouts, he has good leadership qualities (both on and off the pitch) and has excellent jumping.
Since breaking into the first team, he has been targeted by the best clubs in the world. Clubs like Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Manchester United is ready to cash in on this highly rated wonderkid.
At the moment, Kurt Zouma features in the Under-19 National squad of France, but got the most attention in 2011, when featuring in the Fifa Under-17 World Cup and UEFA European Under-17 Championship for France Under-17, where he has capped 17 matches in his career.
He has also earned 6 appearances for France Under-16.
Lucas Digne (19) Defender, France
Date of birth: 20 July 1993 (19)
Place of birth: Meaux
Club: Lille OSC
National level: France U21
Position: Left Back, Wide Midfielder left
Preferred Foot: Left
Height / Weight: 178, 74kg
Maybe I'm soft for french footballers, but at these days I think France is one of the best nations in Europe to produce quality youngsters, just behind Spain and Barcelonas La Masia.
Lucas Digne is already an established member of the first team of Lille OSC, and could be the most obvious candidate to replace Gael Clichy or Patrice Evra for the France national team, in only two to three years ahead.
Image is provided by Liondartois (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
Lucas Digne joined LOSC in 2005, only 12 years old, and have been nurtured in one of Frances best talent academies. In their past, LOSC have developed players like Kader Keita, Mathieu Debuchy and Mathieu Delpierre, amongst many interesting youngsters in the current youth setup. Lucas Digne got his first-team breakthrough in 2011 and is contracted to LOSC until 2017. In his entire playing career, he has recorded 33 matches for the first team, which 17 of the total appearances are from the current season.
Lucas Digne is also a familiar player to the youth levels of the France national team, and have experiences from France Under-16, U17, U18 and latest Under-19. He has recently been moved to France Under-21, but has not earned any caps for the squad, maybe beacuse of being one of the youngest players in the squad. He has recorded over 50 appearances since the debut for France U16, and who knows how many more he would get before moving to Les Bleus?!
Lucas Digne has because of impressive performances the last campaign become one of the most obvious candidates to succeed at the highest level of football in 2013. World class clubs like Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United are all monitoring this ambitious wonderkid, and it is no doubt why. Lucas Digne has already proved his abilities in a demanding position, where the modern day fullback should balance the team and support both when attacking and defending.
Despite his age, he has the stamina and pace to conquer the left wing and is pretty good at positioning himself according to situations.
When it comes to defensive qualities he has pretty much what he needs to succeed; good positioning, good tackling, very good heading and good vision / anticipation.
Lucas Digne has the abilities to play as a left midfielder or a winger if needed. He is also fairly good in attacking play by moving with the ball, dribbling and passing as his main strengths. He might lack a little bit in crossing, first touch and technique in addition to defending one on one. Rudi Garcia has earlier stated that Lucas Digne is a mature player, and we at My Passion for Football Manager believes he has the professionalism and ambition to improve and become a world class player already within this year.
Will Hughes (17), Midfielder, England
Date of birth: 7 April 1995 (17)
Place of birth: Weybridge
Club: Derby County
National level: England U19
Position: Attacking Midfielder (Right, Central)
Preferred Foot: Left
Height / Weight: 185, 73kg
Finally an English player on the list! This young wonder kid have already established himself in the nPower Championship, and is the next starlet coming through the ranks of Derby.
Image is provided by Matlock-Photo from Derbyshire, England CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
William James Hughes can almost be considered to be an local Derby player, as he moved with his family to Derby when he was just two years old. He started his youth career at Mickleover Jubilee and joined Derby County Under-18 squad in early 2011. He got quickly noted as a gifted player and amazed both coaches and players with his performances for Derby U18. After impressing for both Derby Under-18 and reserve team, he earned his professional debut in November 2011, at the age of just 16(!). Hughes scored his first ever goal, as a professional player against Watford on September the 1st 2012.
Will Hughes has recorded 31 caps for Derby County and have been a regular face in the Derby line-up this season (2012-2013 season), which makes it to 28 of 28 caps, as we speak. He has proved his talent by scoring two goals and serve two assists.
Despite his short professional career he has already been promoted from England Under-17 to the England Under-21 squad, but has only been trusted with 7 appearances, scoring one goal, for England U17 (6) and England U21 (1). The debut in November 2012, made him the second youngest debutant for England Under-21.
The left footed attacking midfielder has amazed football fans and scouts with intelligent moves, good technique and nice passes. As an admirer of Spanish football (read Barcelona), he has developed his skills to include good technique, impressive dribbling and great work rate. Will Hughes is regarded as an mature and professional player with good vision and creativity, and is excellent on creating spaces for his teammates (both with and without the ball). He could be described as an natural box to box midfielder, but also have the tackling strength to win the ball all over the pitch because of his stamina.
The future of this young starlet looks bright, as he is targeted by Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester City and Barcelona. Perhaps he will make a surprise move already this summer, after good display in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship...?
- second youngest England under-21 debutant (November 2012)
- voted "Young player of the month" in the nPower Championship for November 2012.
Victor Andrade (17), Attacker, Brazil
Date of birth: 30 September 1995 (17)
Place of birth: Carmopolis, Aracajú
Club: Santos FC
National level: Brazil U20
Position: Striker, winger
Preferred Foot: Right
Height / Weight: 171, 60kg
It's a really hard task to select one Brazilian starlet out of many possible choices. Brazil is one of the top producers of youth talents and have exported players like Lucas Piazon, Phillipe Coutinho, Alex Sandro and Danilo to European top clubs just the recent years.
From the club who nurtured Edison Arantes do Nascimento aka Pele, we will introduce one of the brightest talents in Brazil.
Victor Andrade Santos joined Santos Futebol Clube at only 11 years old, when rejecting a move to European football and more precisely the Portuguese club Benfica. The talented youngster spend his first years at Santos Under-13 and Under-17 where he put in some good performances and scoring tenth of goals. At the age of 15-16 he got quickly noticed by his coach, Muricy Ramalho, who saw his huge potential. Victor Andrade was only 16(!) years old when handed the debut for Santos' first team, a team with many excellent players and promising talents.
He got a lot of attention from football journalists around the world, as he signed a professional contract with a buy-out clause of astonishing €50Mill, (€5Mill more than fellow teammate Neymar), in the summer of 2012.
Victor Andrade has recorded 14 Brasileirão Série A appearances this season (2012), and has recorded two goals. Since the start of his professional career he has recorded 20 appearances, scoring 3 goals in the Serie A for Santos. Because of his young age, he has not yet debuted for the Brazilian national team, but has featured in an Eight nations tournament in South Africa for Brazil Under-20.
Santos' fans, coaches and teammates have much praise for this talented youngster and have drawn similarities to both Robinho and Neymar, might because of his excellent quickness, dribbling skills, eminent technique and first touch. As Robinho and Neymar he knows where the goal is, and has the ability to score goals from all over the pitch either by lobbing the goalkeeper or shooting from outside the area.
Much has happen for this young starlet in a short time, and world class clubs like Barcelona, Manchester City and Manchester United is all been linked to the player.
Victor Andrades professional career has just begun, and despite of huge amount of pressure, we believe 2013 will be the kick-off on his national and international career, as he will feature in the Brazil Under-20 squad and play regularly for Santos in the Brasileirão Série A.
Note! Andrade will turn 18 years old this year (end of September), which makes him available to sign for foreign clubs.
Riechedly Bazoer, Defender, Holland
Date of birth: 12 October 1996 (16)
Place of birth: Utrecht
Club: Ajax Amsterdam
National level: Holland Under-17
Position: Central Defender
Preferred Foot: N/A
Height / Weight: N/A, N/A
Holland is also one of the top producers of Football talents with the famous Ajax academy as the main supplier. This time we want to introduce you to a young starlet partially developed at PSV, and with the potential to become one of the best Dutch defenders of International football.
Riechedly Bazoer is a young starlet born in 1996 in Utrecht, the birthplace of Wesley Sneijder.
His youth career startet at USV Elinkwijk, a team known for producing top star talents such as Marco van Basten and Ismail Aisatti.
At the age of ten Riechedly Bazoer joined the PSV youth academy. At the PSV academy he moved up the ranks very quickly and played under the leadership of Philip Cocu for a period. He got international experience at PSV by featuring in the NextGen series, a youth tournament with the same model as UEFA Champions League.
Riechedly Bazoer is an ambitious youngster and decided at the end of 2012 to enhance his career and join Ajax Amsterdam, where he was promised full backing and chance to earn a regular first team spot.
Riechedly Bazoer has made this comment of why he left PSV for Ajax Amsterdam; "I have chosen Ajax because here I think I can be a better footballer. I was very impressed with the sportive plan. Beside that it is very positive how they see the future with me. I'm very grateful to all the trainers and guiders at PSV for everything they have done for me. I have learned a lot and made many friends. But I think Ajax is currently the best club for me to make my dreams come true. PSV will always have a special place in my heart. But now I have chosen for my development".
Contrary to the previous players in this article, Riechedly Bazoer has not been handed any professional appearance for the first team of Ajax yet. But it is important to remember that he has only been at Ajax since 20 November 2012. He is tied to Ajax Amsterdam until 2016.
Riechedly Bazoer have also experience from international football, as he has featured in the Holland Under-17 squad, where he has recorded 8 caps only in the last year. Bazoer debuted for the Holland Under-17 national team in March 2012 and featured as the Holland captain in five matches in the UEFA European Championship 2012, where Holland won the final match 5-4 on penalties against Germany, a team full of promising youngsters such as Timo Werner, Julian Brandt, Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka. Bazoer played the whole match and put in a good performance.
Riechedly Bazoer could also be one of the stars and profiles for the coming Under-17 tournaments in 2013 (World Cup and UEFA European Championship).
Riechedly Bazoer is a versatile and cultured central defender, but can also play as a defensive midfielder.
He is a player with good technique and dribbling, in additional to good leadership. Despite his young age he is an intelligent player with great physic and quickness. His playing style could be compared to Thiago Silva.
The future of this young wonderkid looks bright, as he is targeted by Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Newcastle, in additional to unknown Italian and Spanish clubs. We firmly believe 2013 could become the year of his professional breakthrough and succeed in both national and international football.
Douglas Baggio (18), Forward, Brazil
Date of birth: 2 February 1995 (18)
Place of birth: Jaboatão dos Guararapes
Club: Flamengo U19
National level: N/A
Position: Attacking Midfielder, Forward
Preferred Foot: Right
Height / Weight: N/A, N/A
From one of the oldest professional football clubs in Brazil, who have three wonderkids in their squad, Flamengo CF have spend their money wisely when signing Ronaldinho in 2011. Douglas Baggios idol is Ronaldinho, he is often compared to him because of his playing style, and he does have this little x-factor who might make him to the new Brazilian wonderboy. young shining football talent
From the club who developed Renato Augusto and Diego Maurício we want to introduce to you the next wonderkid of Brazilian football.
Douglas Baggio de Oliveira Costa, who recently turned 18 years old, was raised in the outskirt of Recife and started his youth football career at Santa Cruz. In 2010 he joined the youth academy of Flamengo CF and has spend his last years playing for Flamengo Under-17 and Under-19.
In the youth ranks of Flamengo he has been one of the true stars, scoring and creating goals on almost a daily basis.
He had some impressive performances at the Brazilian local Carioca Under-17 Championship, scoring 46 goals helping Flamengo to win the competition.
In the prestigous Copa Rio Championship 2012 he achieved to be the best goal scorer and player of the tournament, which caught the attention from scouts from some of the most leading European clubs.
Douglas Baggio has an overall record of 72(!) goals in 53 matches in 2012, in only 5 competitions! Who could beat that at his age, Lionel Messi?!
Even though Douglas Baggio is still a teenager, he is on the verge of breaking into the first team of Flamengo CF, joining two other Brazilian wonderkids. Adryan (18) and Mattheus (18) have already been featured in the first team squad and might become one of the best players in the world, if the development continues.
As mention before Douglas Baggios playing style is quite similar to Ronaldinho. Like Ronaldinho he can both play as a striker or as an attacking midfielder, known as trequartista.
Douglas Baggio is quick with the ball, have good power, and speed (pace and acceleration). But he has also the vision, intelligence and creativity to create, assist and open space for others. Douglas Baggio is known for his goals, but should be remembered for his great passing range and good technique. Despite being good at every passing range he has a composure and a coolness in front of the goal, which makes him the center of attention for both teammates and football fans. He uses his creativity to add something special in his performances such as Ronaldinho once did and Neymar does at present. This is the guy you want to pass the ball to!
Douglas Baggio, named after the famous Italian Roberto Baggio, has still not played any official matches for Flamengo, but have trained with the fist team for quite some time. Nor has he played for any of the Brazilian youth levels of national squad, but with his huge amount of potential, it is only a matter of time. Maybe 2013 would be the year he get his official professional Brazilian Serie A debut and call up to the Brazilian Under-19 or Under-21 squad.
This youth star have been targeted by world class clubs the last couple of year. Clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Napoli, AC Milan and Inter Milan are all eager to put his name on a professional contract. Now that he has turned 18 and he is contracted to Flamengo until 2014, summer of 2013 might be the time we'll see the race hots up for this talented youngster.
Gerard Deulofeu Lazaro (18), Winger, Spain
Date of birth: 13 March 1994 (18)
Place of birth: Riudarenes, Girona
Club: Barcelona B
National level: Spain U21
Preferred Foot: Right
Height / Weight: 180cm, 70kg
From the best talent academy of the world(?), from the famous La Masia we want to introduce to you one of the most promising youth talents coming through the ranks of FC Barcelona. While Lionel Messi has bagged in amazingly 38 goals in La Liga, this Spanish wonderkid is the joint top scorer of Segunda Division with 15 goals.
Could Gerard Deulofeu be the one who inherit the position of Alexis Sanchez next season?!
Creative Commons 2.0 by Catherine Kõrtsmik from Tallinn, Estonia, via Wikimedia Commons
Gerard Deulofeu Lazaro, who turnes 19 next month, was raised in Riudarenes in the outskirt of Girona. Gerard started his youth football career at Barcelona by joining Benjami (a youth for players around 10 years old). Gerard Deulofeu has spent his entire career at Barcelona, and is 100% a Blaugrana product.
As a youth player, Gerard, amazed both scouts and football fans. At only 14(!) he was dubbed the next Ronaldinho and signed an advertising contract with Nike. Since joining the La Masia youth academy the player has caught attention from world class managers and clubs, such as Rafa Benitez, Manchester City and Chelsea.
There have always been much hype about this Lionel Messi type-of-player, as he has featured in much older youth teams than his actual age.
Gerard was handed his first professional competitive match for Barcelona B in March 2011, while still being part of the junior team. One month later he was called up to the senior team of FC Barcelona, but was never handed his official debut, as he never came of the bench. He had to wait until end of October before he was handed his first official appearance for FC Barcelona.
Despite his young age, he has recorded amazingly 58 caps for Barcelona B, and in the last two years he has recorded 24 goals and showed his potential to be the future winner of Fifa Ballon D'Or.
This season, Gerard Deulofeu, has played 23 matches and scoring 15 goals, which makes him a joint top scorer in Segunda Division.
Despite his young age he has received much international experiences. He has featured in the different youth levels of Spain national team, from Under-16 all the way up to Under-21. Since breaking into international youth level of Spain he has recorded 48 matches scoring 15 goals. He participated in 2011 and 2013 in the UEFA European Championship by helping Spain Under-19 to win the tournament both years. In 2012 he won the prestigious award Golden player of UEFA Under-19 Championship, where he scored 2 goals and having 3 assists. (Real Madrids hot prospect Jese Rodriguez became the Top scorer of the tournament with 5 goals.)
When talking about his style of play, Gerard Deulofeu is a very versatile player in the attacking line. Ordinary developed as an winger or inside forward, this young wonderkid can feature as a trequartista or a striker similar to Lionel Messi.
Gerard Deulofeu is widely known for his quickness and direct running. He is very quick when running with the ball and is an exceptional dribbler who often terrorizes the opponents defensive line with his creativity and speed.
Despite lacking a little in strength he has very good balance and first touch which is important when being closing down.
In additional to being a "Chance-creator" he's a highly goal scorer threat. He has scored some remarkable goals in his career and has a real eye for the goal mostly because of his world-class flair to cut in from wide.
He has been targeted by world class clubs since joining La Masia. Only time will show how 2013 will end up for one of the most exceptional talents coming through the famous La Masia academy. 2013 will be the year where he has to prove to Sandro Rosell that he deserves a new contract as the present contract ends in 2014. No matter how his future ends up, he is a young starlet with huge potential. If Gerard Deulofeu succeeds and continue his rapid development he might become one of the best Spanish footballers coming through the ranks of FC Barcelona.
Max Meyer (17), Midfielder, Germany
Date of birth: 18 September 1995 (17)
Place of birth: Oberhausen
Club: Schalke 04
National level: Germany U17
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Preferred Foot: Both
Height / Weight: 169cm, 65kg
From the country who have nurtured Mesut Özil, Marco Reus, Mario Götze and most recently Julian Draxler, we wants to introduce to you one of the most exciting young talents in German at the present!
This young wonderkid is only 169cm tall, but what he lacks in height he makes up for in technical skills, similar to Lionel Messi, his football role model!
Maximilian Meyer, is according to German experts, one of the biggest talents in German football EVER?!
Max Meyer is one of the products of the massive overhaul of the German youth development system in 2002. He was born in Oberhausen in North-Rhine Westfalen in 1995. Oberhausen is one of many neighbor cities to Gelsenkirchen. Max Meyer started his football career at Rot-Weiss Oberhausen where he played until 9 years old, before transferring to MSV Duisburg where he spend five important years of his youth development. At the age of 14, he joined Schalke 04's youth team, where he will follow in the footsteps of Joel Matip, Lewis Holtby and Julian Draxler.
Meyer was quickly promoted to the Schalke 04's Under-19 team, a team mainly consisting of much older players than this young little gem, after recording 10 assists, 11 goals in only 17 matches for the Under-17!
In the previous season (2011-2012), Max recorded a tremendous statistic despite his young age. Max Meyer played 46 matches in total, scoring 24 goals and creating 17 assists for both Schalke Under-19 and Germany Under-17. Schalke 04 Under-19 became German Champions for the third time in club history. One major reason of the great achievement to the Under-19 youth team was outstanding displays of this young star player! So far in the 2012/13 season, Max Meyer has recorded 16 appearances, scoring 12 goals and ranking up 9 assists, which of course caught the eye of Schalke 04's Sport Director, who quickly offered him a professional contract until 2015. In January 2013, he was promoted to the Schalke 04 first team and added to the UEFA Champions League squad for the remainder of the tournament, where he will replace Lewis Holtby in the long run.
At the February 16th 2013 it was a pride moment for the young wonderkid, where he capped his first official professional appearance against Mainz. He came on the pitch 20 minutes before the end of the match and quickly recorded a lovely assist to Michel Bastos 1-1 goal. So far Max Meyer has slowly been introduced to the first team by recording two competitive matches coming off from the bench.
Maximilian Meyer has earned much international experience. He has played for both Germany Under-15 (1 cap / 1 goal), Germany Under-16 (6 caps / 2 goals) and most recently Germany Under-17. He made his debut for Germany Under-17 back in October 2011 and has later recorded a total of 18 appearances, scoring 9 goals. Max Meyer was part of the U17 squad who ended as runner-up in 2012 in the honorable UEFA European Under-17 Championship. He was later hailed as the Golden Player of the tournament and was also handed the award "The Golden shoe" as he ended up as the top scorer of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship. He recorded 3 goals in 5 appearances.
Max Meyers style of play can be described as a traditional number 10 and can play as an creative playmaker up-front (mainly behind the striker or deeper in the central similar to Xavi). Meyer has also the ability to cut in from wide positions (play as an inside forward similar to Marco Reus) and take on opposite defenders on his own, with some amazing dribbles and direct running.
Unlike many other great footballers, he is equally strong at both feet and possesses good first touch, which adds something special to his game. He possesses great technical and ball control skills in additional to the required anticipation and flair. He is remarkable at finding space and create the required space for his team mates. What impresses me, coaches and fellow team mates the most is his direct running, eye for the goal and his unique vision to make the final killer pass to better positioned team mates. In additional to excellent passing and technique, Max Meyer have scored some incredible goals in his career.
What the future holds for this young wonderkid is difficult to predict, but 2013 might be the year Max Meyer takes the step up into the international arena, by professional debut in UEFA Champions League and/or being called up to the Germany Under-19 squad.
Tonny Trindade de Vilhena (18), Midfielder, Feyenoord
Date of birth: 3 January 1995 (18)
Place of birth: Maassluis
Nation: Netherland, Angola
National level: Holland
Position: Central / attacking Midfielder
Preferred Foot: left
Height / Weight: 175cm, N/A
From the Dutch club who, maybe surprisingly for some, developed Robin van Persie, we want to introduce you to one of the most promising Dutch talents. While Victor Fischer (18) has blossomed into an excellent player the last year, and could well be on the list among the top talents of 2013, we have decided to give our attention to this young starlet, who might have become in the shadow of the Ajax-talents.
Image is provided by Robert Hertel (Flickr: 20121122_091) CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Tonny Emilio Trindade de Vilhena aka Tonny Vilhena was born in a little town called Maassluis in the outskirt of Rotterdam. He spend his first years of football tutoring in the local club before joining the youth academy of Feyenoord Rotterdam in 2003. After joining the Feyenoord youth academy, this young starlet has taken some big steps in regard to reaching his potential. While the best Dutch players in the last decade has been produced by Ajax and PSV, the Feyenoord fans may be very proud of their young star.
Tonny Vilhena earned his debut for Ronald Koemans side in January of 2012 against VVV Venlo after excellent performances for the Dutch under-17 squad in the previous month, lets come back to this later on. He scored his first official goal for Feyenoord in November 2012 against AZ Alkmaar. In the season of 2011/2012 he recorded 6 apperances, and was part of the first team by featuring on the bench as sub in 12 occasions. This season (2012/13) Tonny Vilhena has been trusted with the number 21 shirt and is now a permanent member of the Feyenoords first team. Credits must go to former Dutch legend, now Feyenoord manager, Ronald Koeman who have shown faith in this remarkable talent. Tonny Vilhena and the other young players of Feyenoord (Jordi Clasie (21), Stefan de Vrij (21), Anass Achahbar (19) and Jean-Paul Boëtius (19)) have been incredible this season despite the huge amount of pressure on the young lads shoulders. Don't forget it's been 14 years since they last won the league title, and now they are on a good run only four points behind Ajax Amsterdam.
Even though there have been many proud moments for this young wonderkid, we wish to highlight his two goals scored on the 3rd of February 2013 against Willem II, which makes him the youngest ever single goalscorer of two goals in a match! So far in the campaign, Tonny Vilhena has recorded four goals, one assists in 21 appearances, and might be one of the key players for the coming years for further Feyenoord success.
Tonny Trindade de Vilhena might be a familiar name for many of you. I remember the first times I saw him in action. It was the spring of 2011, and for me unknown players, in the Holland Under-17 squad kept on impressing me by direct attacking fluid football. One of the players who remarked me was Tonny Vilhena, who scored 2 goals in the final, and became joint top scorer with 3 goals in the tournament together with more famous names like Samed Yeşil and Kyle Ebecilio (awarded the Golden player of the tournament). Holland Under-17 won the final of UEFA European Under-17 Championship 2011 against Germany 2011, a tournament where Viktor Fischer also participated in. I felt it was a close call between Kyle Ebecillo and Tonny Trindade to be named the golden player of the European Under-17 Championship 2011, as both players scored 3 goals and recorded one assists. Tonny Trindade was also one of the important players in the UEFA European Under-17 Championship of 2012, a tournament where Holland Under-17 retained their second trophy. Despite not being as excellent as in the tournament of 2011 he scored the decisive penalty goal against Germany. Tonny Vilhena has recorded an overall of 8 goals in 20 matches for Holland U17.
P.S. Maximilian Meyer became the golden player of the tournament.
Tonny Vilhena got later called up for the Dutch Under-19 squad in 2012, and recorded one goal in four matches. This year have started sensational for this young wonderkid. After a short spell for Holland Under-21, where he scored 1 goal in two matches, he got called up for the senior side of the Dutch national team. Even though he has not yet recorded any caps for Holland national team, it is only a matter of time.
Tonny Trindade de Vilhena could be described as a left footed central midfielder, who can both play as an box-to-box midfielder or attacking midfielder, but can also be an excellent playmaker as he possess accurate passing play, great anticipation and vision. What I've noticed with his style of play is his great technique, pace and direct style of play. Tonny has good dribbling and off the ball to both create spaces for his teammates and ease past his opponents. Tonny Vilhena is a professional and ambitious player who also have the physical strength to win possession and the maturity on the pitch to shine at top level. Tonny Vilhena could be compared to Edgar Davids or Clarence Seedorf. Despite he has scored some quite amazing goals I reckon him as a chance creator above a goal-scorer.
It migth also be worth mentioned that Tonny Vilhena's agent is Mino Raiola, most famous as the agent of Paul Pogba, who left Manchester United for Juventus and Zlatan Ibrahimovic amongst others. The 2013 has started excellent for Tonny Vilhena, and with his rapid development he might be one to claim a spot in the Dutch squad for the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil. Tonny Vilhena has been wanted by many world class clubs in the previous month, but as he recently signed a contract extension until 2016, it might put a dent on all future transfer rumours, as the price tag might be quite expensive.
Tonny Vilhena and Jean-Paul Boëtius, who have grown up together through the years of the Feyenoord academy, have a great relationship on the pitch, as it could only be described as telepathic. These two excellent young stars might become the next dreaded Dutch duo. Lastly I recommend you checking out some of the skills of Tonny Vilhena and see showcases of his few but amazing career goals at Youtube.
Neal Maupay (16), Forward, France
Date of birth: 14 August 1996 (16)
Place of birth: Versailles, France
Club: OGC Nice
National level: France U17
Position: Striker, Winger
Preferred Foot: Right
Height / Weight: 171cm, 69kg
Claude Puel is the man behind some of the best French talents coming through in the last decade. Players like Eric Abidal (20, 2000), Yohan Cabaye (18, 2004), Mathieu Debuchy (18, 2004) and Eden Hazard (16, 2007) has debuted under Claude Puel. Claude Puel is no stranger to letting young promising talents be trusted with first team experience.
This time, there is no difference, by trusting the most promising French talent ever, Neal Maupay, get his Nice debut!
Image is provided by Matseo (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
On our radar as a great football gem is the French young hot prospect Neal Maupay. Neal, who have both French and Argentinian blood in his veins similar to Gonzalo Higuain, was born in the western part of Paris, in the city of Versailles in 1996. At the age of six, Neal Maupay moved from the culture capitol to the good valley of Provence Alpes, to the minor city of Valbonne, which is located some miles north of Antibes. After great development at the local club US Valbonne, Neal Maupay got spotted by OGC Nice who signed him in 2007. By joining the professional Ligue 1 club of OGC Nice, Neal Maupay progressed rapidly to one of the best talents in their ranks, and was quickly trusted with his professional debut, under Claude Puel at 14th September of 2012 after coming in as a substitute, after amazing play for Nice II two weeks earlier, where he recorded a hat-trick. After being promoted to the senior side of Nice before 2012-13 season, he has recorded 7 goals in 7 appearances for Nice II. His first goal for the first team of OGC Nice came in the middle of December of 2012, against Evian. 2013 have been an remarkable year for this young wonder kid, in January he has recorded 2 goals in 5 appearances. He has an overall of 3 goals in 15 caps for OGC Nice, which is a quite impressing. If we compare him to Bojan Krkic, who got his professional debut at 17 for Barcelona in 2007/08, he recorded 10 goals in 31 appearances, which is in-reach for Neal Maupay.
The 171 cm tall striker have also gained international experience for the youth levels of the France national team. Neal Maupay got his debut for France Under-16 in 2011, and was a regular part of the U16 squad in the season of 2011-2012. He was promoted to the France Under-17 before this season and got his debut in the September of 2012 against Bosnia. In the elite round of U17 European Championship he wore the captain band, which shows some of his reputation and qualifications within the team. He has recorded 8 goals in 19 appearances for U16 and U17.
Neal Maupay can play as both an inside forward and a striker. When Claude Puel gave him the professional debut in 2012, he became one of the youngest players to be playing at the highest level of football in the world! Neal Maupay is an exceptional talent, which is highlighted by his maturity. What this gem lacks in height he covers in vision, intelligent movement and quickness. The few goals of Neal Maupay in his career shows some of his on-pitch football knowledge. This highly rated star reminds me of something between a young Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet (once a profilic duo), as Neal also has the anticipation to pop up in front of goal, place shot from wide in the back of the net or make crucial tap ins. Similar to David Trezeguet he has the quickness to run off his marker. Neal has a great composure, which makes him a huge goalscorer threat both at the moment and in the future, when he gains even more experience. Despite his short height and low weight, he has great strength and good natural fitness. Neal Maupay could be compared to Sergio Aguero because of his low gravity, excellent technique and pretty good passing ability. Neal Maupay could be described as a poacher, a player role who ain't the most used these days.
World class clubs such as AC Milan are all keen on getting this young star into their ranks.
Neal Maupay could be described as one of the best French talents coming through the last years. Perhaps Mbaye Niang and Neal Maupay could become the next French dreaded duo?!
Please share your own favorite wonderkids and amazing football talents in the comments field below. Perhaps you got some suggestions on future world stars which should be highlighted?