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FIFA World Cup 2022: Young talents to look out for

The 2022 World Cup is just around the corner and the excitement levels have reached a new high. The teams are touching down in Qatar ready for their opening group matches which start as early as Sunday afternoon. There is a whole host of talent on display as some of the best players in the world face off for the ultimate trophy in football.

Whilst it is easy to focus on the established names like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane there is a whole host of talented young players heading to the world cup. There are plenty of teenagers that have earned a seat on the plane to Qatar. Most people will be familiar with the likes of Jude Bellingham and Jamal Musiala who look set to play major roles for their respective countries. In this article, we will take a look at five lesser-known teenage stars that could make an impact in Qatar.

Xavi Simons, PSV Eindhoven & the Netherlands

[Shaun Botterill/FIFA]

Born in 2003, Xavi Simons already has a heavily impressive roster of clubs. The midfielder joined Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy aged seven where he progressed through the ranks until 2019. He then moved to Paris Saint Germain, starting in the youth ranks before progressing to the first team. He made 11 senior appearances in Paris before joining PSV in the summer. The 19-year-old has scored eight goals and provided four assists this season which has seen him earn his first senior international call-up. Whilst he may not feature from the start for the Netherlands, Louis van Gaal could turn to the youngster from the bench.

Yunus Musah, Valencia & USA

[Maddie Meyer/FIFA]

Despite Yunus Musah only being 19 years old he has already made 19 caps for his country. The midfielder was born in New York City but played the majority of his international youth career for England. Musah joined the Arsenal academy aged nine and spent seven years there. During this time he represented the Three Lions from U15s through to U18s before switching allegiance to the United States. He joined Valencia in 2019, playing his first season with the B team before being promoted to the senior team in summer 2020. A few months later he made his international debut. Expect him to feature heavily for USA due to his versatility. He can play anywhere across the midfield which makes him a great option for Gregg Berhalter.

Hannibal Mejbri, Birmingham City & Tunisia

[Catherine Ivill/FIFA]

Hannibal Mejbri is a name that has been known around Manchester United for a few years. The 19-year-old has been one of the brightest sparks in the United academy in recent years. Hannibal has made three Premier League appearances for United including a substitute appearance against Liverpool at Anfield last season where many considered him to be the best United player on the day. He is currently on loan at Birmingham City where he has made 15 appearances so far. The midfielder has already made 18 caps for Tunisia since his debut in 2021 and has made himself a key player for the national side. He’ll be hopeful of earning a spot in the starting 11 for their opening game with Denmark on Tuesday.

Jewison Bennette, Sunderland & Costa Rica

[Alex Caparros/FIFA]

Born in 2004, Jewison Bennette has already made quite an impression for Costa Rica. The forward has seven caps to date and has scored two goals for his country. After spending all of his youth career at his local club Herediano back in Costa Rica he joined Sunderland in August. After starting off in Premier League 2 with the U21s he has now made his mark in the first team. He has made nine Championship appearances this season and has scored one goal. He made his national team debut in 2021 and became the youngest ever player to feature in World Cup qualifying for Costa Rica. Bennette also assisted the goal that sealed Costa Rica’s place in the world cup. He looks set to play a key role as Costa Rica look to pull off an upset in Group E.

Youssoufa Moukoko, Borussia Dortmund & Germany

[Buda Mendes/FIFA]

Youssoufa Moukoko has made a big impression on Borussia Dortmund fans since joining the club as an 11-year-old. He has progressed through the ranks at Dortmund at a rapid pace and is already an established member of the first team at just 17. His record at youth level for Dortmund is unbelievable. The striker scored 141 goals and provided 27 assists in just 88 games across the various age groups. He became the youngest-ever player to play in the Bundesliga when he made his Dortmund debut in 2020, the day after his 16th birthday. Dortmund rate Moukoko so highly that instead of spending big on a replacement for Erling Haaland they opted to boost his game time instead. He has not let them down scoring 6 goals and providing 4 assists in 14 appearances which has earned him his first ever senior international call-up. He made his international debut in a warm-up match against Oman on Wednesday. Moukoko turns 18 on Sunday and he’ll be hoping that Hansi Flick gives him a late present of a world cup appearance in Germany’s opener against Japan.

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