Six stars to watch at the FIFA U-17 World Cup
A selection of top-level talent that can burst onto the scene in Indonesia.
It’s that time. A three week football frenzy descends upon Indonesia this Friday as the FIFA Under-17 World Cup kicks off.
Japan, Senegal, Mexico, Brazil, New Zealand and Germany are all in attendance as champions of their respective confederations, joined by a throng of other teams all vying for a taste of the international success we saw Uruguay achieve earlier this year at the U-20 equivalent.
While the U-20 World Cup is full of established senior-level players and well-known up-and-coming talents, this tournament is cut from a completely different cloth, and must be watched accordingly.
We’re looking for outliers. These are players with outstanding attributes that set them apart, make them different, project favourably for turning them into high-level senior regulars. Think of the ball-striking and technique we’ve seen from Lamine Yamal at Barcelona this season, or the pure, consistent, incredibly mature class of Paris Saint-Germain’s Warren Zaire-Emery.
Look at that list above. How many of those names do you recognise? We’d suggest not many. There’s the Fàbregas and Kroos, Foden and Osimhen, then a sub-section of cult classics like Vela, Donovan and Sinama Pongolle. Look at the 2019 edition winners, Gabriel Veron and Sontje Hansen - where are they now? One’s lucky to get any minutes as a bit-part player at Porto, the other has only just got out of Ajax’s B team. They’re both 21 years old.
The fact of the matter is there are still so many more obstacles for these players to overcome. They’re only 17, some are even 16. Being good at this age is no guarantee of being good in five years time, and that’s before you factor variables such as injuries and the like.
The best part about these tournaments? It encompasses the whole world. It showcases players that even we - SCOUTED, youth football nerds - will be watching for the very first time. This is a chance to learn something new, to track and analyse the development of these players as they move up the ranks.
PSA: If you want to watch the U-17 World Cup yourself, you can do so for free (in most regions) on FIFA+. Here’s the link you need.
But first, we’ll give you a taster of a few players we already know a little bit about. This is just the start of our unrivalled coverage. Stick with us for more.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to SCOUTED Notebook to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.