100 Best Young Players to watch out for in 2014 - Part 3
Remember that this list contains only those players who are 20 and under, thus born on or after 1st January 1993. We have taken into consideration factors such as their performance in 2013 and expected performance in 2014. Only those players who have made a fairly regular run of senior football appearances in the top division on any country have been included.
20) Thorgan Hazard
Who is he?: Hazard is a 20 year old who plays for Chelsea and is currently on loan to Belgian side Zulte-Waregem. He plays for the Belgian U-21 side and is of course the younger brother of Eden Hazard.
Back in 2013: Hazard has spent the entire year on loan at Zulte-Waregem and will do so for the first half of 2014 as well. The first half of the year was the latter part of his first loan spell at the club and he was a regular starter for the club both in the last part of the regular league and in the playoffs. He played most of his games on either of the wings and scored 4 goals and 10 assists in the league. He returned on loan and has had an even better season featuring in a central role. He scored 1 and made the other in the opening league game of the season against Lierse. He also notably scored 1 and made 3 goals in a 4-3 win over Anderlecht. He’s started every one of the 21 league games chalking up 9 goals and 11 assists. He also played in every Europa League game scoring 2 goals and registering 3 assists.
Hazard is a part of the Belgian U-21 set up and has started 5 out of their 6 qualifiers thus far including a 3-1 win over Italy in which he scored. He’s also been capped at the senior level making a brief appearance against USA.
Looking to 2014: Despite apparent interest from Anderlecht, it looks like Hazard will complete this season on loan to Zulte. Of immediate concern will obviously be minimizing the gap at the top heading into the Playoffs. Attacking midfielders aren’t exactly a scarce commodity at Chelsea, so it remains to be seen where he’ll be playing next season. Hazard will also be hoping to make the senior squad for the World Cup.
19) Mateo Kovacic
Back in 2013: Kovacic started the year as a Dinamo Zagreb player but made the switch to the Italian giants in late January. He made 11 starts in the second half of the season registering an assist against Atalanta and played as a deep central midfielder for most part. He’s made 6 starts for Inter in this season and has been substituted a further 11 times. His versatility has enabled him to play a more advanced role when called upon to do so.
Kovacic is already a part of the national set up and appeared in the recent World Cup qualifiers. He started in the second leg of the playoff against Iceland and provided an assist in the 2-0 victory over them.Looking to 2014: With the World Cup on the horizon, Kovacic will definitely be looking to break into the starting line up at Inter and play more. Inter are still within touching distance of the Champions League qualification spot and will be hoping to push 0n in the second half of the season.