It's hard to believe that Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil centre-back, Marquinhos, is just 24-years-old
Team selection is one of the hardest tasks for a national team coach as he has to choose from a wide range of players having various kinds of skillsets and exposure.
Most of the teams at the World Cup 2018 this year have experienced, world-class defenders at their disposal. However, coaches are turning to youngsters to replace them and most of them have performed brilliantly at the highest level.
In-form players, irrespective of their age, are being prioritized over old stalwarts.
Some of these in-form players have made it to the World Cup squads in the past too, such as Mattia De Sciglio, Lucas Digne, Erik Durm and Jose Gimenez for their respective countries in 2014.
There's going to be plenty of talent on display at the FIFA World Cup this year, and on that note, let's take a look at 5 young and gifted defenders who are expected to feature on the grandest stage of world football:
#5 Marquinhos - Brazil
The 24-year old from Sao Paulo has been the first choice centre-back for Paris Saint-Germain for the past 2 seasons and has formed a solid defensive partnership with club captain Thiago Silva.
Marquinhos played for Brazil Under-21 at the 2014 Toulon Tournament, featuring in all five of their matches as Brazil won the tournament. Notably, he was also part of Brazil's gold medal-winning team at the 2016 Olympics.
Marquinhos is a versatile centre-back who can also play on the right side of the defence. His initial experience in Italy with Roma has moulded him into a mature and decisive defender. He is a ball-playing centre-back who is always well positioned to deal with danger. His light frame gives him speed, which helps him tackle quick centre-forwards.
While his Brazilian teammate Thiago Silva is more of a physical defender, he is quite the opposite, as he impresses with his interceptions, calm demeanour and astute reading of the game. They complement each other very well and this defensive duo has laid the foundation for PSG's recent success, and could successfully hold the fort for Brazil at the World Cup as well.