Marc-André ter Stegen
Team: Borussia Mönchengladbach
D.O.B: 30 April 1992 (aged 20)
In the last couple of seasons Marc-André ter Stegen has established himself at Borussia Mönchengladbach with countless eye-catching displays which have lead to him being compared to goalkeeping legend Oliver Kahn. His performances have earned him a call up to Joachim Low’s German national team and he helped guide his team to a fourth place finish in the Bundesliga and a Champions league play off tie. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to prevent his team being relegated to the Europa League instead of qualifying for the CL group stages and he is going to have to be at his best if they are to have another chance of reaching the Champions League next season.
Ricardo van Rhijn
Team: AFC Ajax
D.O.B: 13 June 1991 (aged 21)
Ricardo van Rhijn made 13 first team appearances for Dutch champions Ajax as understudy for Gregory Van der Wiel. With Van der Wiel moving to Paris Saint Germain in the latter stages of the summer transfer window, Van Rhijn will have his chance to cement his place in the starting XI. This season is pivotal for him.
Team: Real Madrid
D.O.B: 25 April 1993(aged 19)
After breaking into the first team at hometown club RC Lens, Raphael Varane got a transfer to Spanish Giants Real Madrid last summer and made 15 first team appearances, 9 in the league as the La Liga crown returned to Madrid. With Ricardo Carvalho out of Mourinho’s first team plans, Varane is bound to make even more appearances. He has already been given a call up to the France national team which shows what is to be expected of him in the near future.
D.O.B: 7 October 1990 (aged 21)
In his first season at Anfield, Sebastián Coates found it tough. He only made 10 Premier league appearances as he struggled to break into the team. However he produced a decent showing at the Olympic games and seems to have leap-frogged Jamie Carragher in the pecking order. He will be hoping he can break up the strong partnership of Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger this season and become a a key part of Liverpools starting 11.
Team: PSV Eindhoven
D.O.B: 30 March 1994 (aged 18)
Jetro Willems has made big strides in his career over the last 12 months. An injury to Erik Pieters meant that he became PSV’s first choice left back, an opportunity he would not take for granted. He made 29 appearances and with Pieters not being able to recover in time, Willems went to Euro 2012 as Hollands first choice left back, becoming the youngest player to ever play at the euros. With Pieters coming back from injury, Willems is going to have to be on the top of his game if he is to remain first choice for club and country.
Team: Borussia Dortmund
D.O.B: 8 December 1992 (aged 19)
Moritz Leitner enjoyed a successful first season in the German city of Dortmund. He made 24 appearances for the German champs as they won the Bundesliga title for the second year in a row along with the DFB-Pokal. This season he will be hoping to break into starting XI and become a big part of Jürgen Klopp’s plans for the season ahead. He might even be hoping to win his first cap for Germany, meaning he will have to make big strides this season to break in to the multi-talented German midfield.
D.O.B: 13 May 1991 (aged 21)
After going out on loan to French club Lorient, Francis Coquelin broke into the Arsenal first team. He was first called upon to face Manchester United at Old Trafford with Alex Song and fellow promotee, Emmanuel Frimpong suspended. Arsenal were beaten 8-2. Despite this drubbing Coquelin impressed and went on to make 16 more appearances for the Gunners that season, putting in more stellar displays in the middle of the park and even in both fullback positions amid another one of Arsenal’s frequent injury crisis’. With the sale of Alex Song and with Arsène Wenger showing faith in him by not bringing in another midfielder, Francis is going to have to show fans that Wenger was right in doing so.
Team: Paris Saint Germain
D.O.B: 5 November 1992 (aged 19)
Before making the big money move to mega rich French giants PSG, Marco Verratti guided former team Pescara to the Serie B title and promotion to Serie A. Dubbed ‘ the new Andrea Pirlo’, Verratti has also earned himself a cap for the Italian national team. This silky player certainly has all the attributes to become one of the greats of the beautiful game.
D.O.B: 8 December 1994 (aged 17)
After a couple years of producing eye catching performances at reserve level for Liverpool, including an FA youth cup match where he scored 5 goals against Southend, Raheem Sterling has been promoted to the first team by new manager Brendan Rodgers and even seems to have leap-frogged Stewart Downing for a place in the starting line up. The talented wing-man even received a call up to the England national team following an illness to Arsenal forward Theo Walcott. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to get on the pitch but receiving the call up itself bodes well for the future. He has been the bright spark in a Liverpool team that have suffered a poor start to the season and they will be hoping he continues his form and help them out of this slump.
Team: FC Schalke 04
D.O.B: 20 September 1993 (aged 18)
After breaking into the first team in 2010, Julian Draxler has become one of the first names on the teamsheet for Schalke last season becoming one of the brightest prospects in Europe. He has been producing quality performances week in week out with his delightful trickery and occasionaly adding in long range belters with whichever foot he chooses. He has also played twice for his country and I’m sure he will be eager to add to that. Draxler is one of the most talked about talents on the planet and I’m sure a few clubs will come sniffing soon.
Luuk De Jong
Team: Borussia Mönchengladbach
D.O.B: 27 August 1990 (aged 22)
Luuk De Jong had the attention of many clubs in Europe this summer after scoring 32 goals in 50 games for Dutch outfit, FC Twente. In the end Borussia Mönchengladbach won the race for him fending off interest from the likes of Newcastle and Liverpool. As I stated earlier in this piece ‘Gladbach failed to qualify for the Champions League group stages and as with new team mate Ter Stegen, Luuk will have to be at his very best for his new team this season. De Jong will also need to be in top form if he is to get ahead of Robin van Persie and Klass-Jan Huntelaar in the pecking order for the Dutch national team, but at just 22 years of age, he has time on his side.
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