FIFA World Cup 2018: 5 relatively unheard-of young stars to watch
The FIFA World Cup 2018 starts in a couple of weeks in Russia, and national teams have begun to announce their final 23-man squads, with June 4th scheduled to be the last day to do so.
England’s squad announcement drew a mix of reactions, including bewilderment at the omissions of Jack Wilshere, Chris Smalling and of all people, Jonjo Shelvey. Even with them in the squad, they wouldn't have been anyone's favourites to win it, but they do have a group of young excitingly talented players who could spring a surprise or two.
The likes of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard (to be honest he's 25 this year but he still seems like one of the young ones), Dele Alli and Trent Alexander-Arnold have shown their capacity to perform on the big stage with their respective clubs, so it should be interesting to see them in action in Russia.
There have been some surprise omissions as well, especially with countries that are blessed with a multitude of talents like Belgium, Spain, France and Brazil. The likes of Radja Nainggolan, Alvaro Morata, Alexandre Lacazette and Alex Sandro have missed out on the trip to Russia.
Hopefully, this World Cup, like World Cups of the past, will see some players, players who are not household names yet, rise to the occasion, put in some fantastic performances, and make their countries proud, and possibly earn a big money move after the World Cup.
Javier Hernandez and James Rodriguez are some names that come to mind. There are rising talents in many of the squads heading to Russia who have performed well for their respective clubs this season, and these are a few who have caught my eye.
#5 Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Serbia, Lazio)
He has been excelled in midfield for Lazio this season, where his dribbling, strength and eye for goal has earned him rave reviews. Tall and imposing in midfield, he dictates play and holds possession well, and boy, can he shoot.
After almost helping Lazio qualify for the UEFA Champions League, his performances have attracted the attention of the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Manchester United, who according to certain reports are looking to negotiate a deal said to be worth £80 million.
If the United deal goes through, he will unite with compatriot Nemanja Matic in United’s midfield. However, perhaps United should wait and see how they perform together in Russia before moving to buy him.