Son of former soccer player Mark Chamberlain, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made his debut for Southampton at the tender age of 16. The winger’s performances for ‘The Saints’ soon caught the eyes of the big boys, and in 2011 he signed for Arsenal just a week short of his 18th birthday. Blessed with pace, skill and strength of an Ox, Chamberlain is the youngest Englishman every to score in the Champions League and has already been capped 9 times for England. Described by Holland legend Marco Van Basten as a ‘gem’, the Ox looks like he has a bright future ahead of him.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Sterling emigrated to London at the age of five. His soccer talents soon caught the eyes of Queen Parks Rangers, and he joined the South London team at the age of 10. Signed by Liverpool aged 15, the 17 year-old has been a sensation for Liverpool this season after being elevated to the first team, and recently became the second youngest player ever to score for the Reds. Backed by Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard to be a future Anfield great, Sterling is eligible to play international soccer for both Jamaica and England. Speaking of the possibility of playing for Jamaica, Sterling said, "If Jamaica calls for me, why not?"
Signed by Manchester United as a 16 year-old, Pogba was billed as a future replacement for Paul Scholes. However, having failed to break into the first team the young Frenchman decided not to renew his contract with the Red Devils and seek new pastures. During the summer he joined Juventus on a four-year contract, and has since impressed with his performances for the “old lady” of Italian football. After recently inspiring Juventus to a 2-1 win over Bologna, Pogba was dubbed as the new Patrick Viera. How United must regret letting Pogba get away.
Quintero made his professional debut in Colombia Premier division aged just 16. This summer he joined Italian outfit Pescara on loan from Colombian side Atlético Nacional and has already created a whirlpool of interest with his performances. At 5’5” Quintero is not the tallest of midfielders, but his dribbling ability and shooting skills have marked him out from the crowd, and he is already being touted to move to one of Europe’s big clubs in the not too distant future.
A product of the Partizan youth academy, Natasic secured a deadline day transfer to Manchester City after an impressive debut season in Seria A for Fiorentina. A good tackler, tidy in possession and tactically astute, Nastasic has all the qualities to be world-class defender. The Serbian defender has already started a few games for them this season, and looks like he may replace Joleon Lescott in the starting line-up, as City continue to experiment with their new 3-5-2 formation.
Draxler was the fourth youngest player ever to play in the Bundesliga when he made his debut back in 2011. Since then the winger has gone on to become a regular for the German side, and has already been capped twice by Germany. Draxler is not your typical blessed with pace winger, but what he does posses is good skill, a terrific cross and a blister shot.
Brought to Madrid after being highly recommended by France and Real legend Zinedine Zidane, Varane is one of the most promising young talents in the game at the moment. The Frenchman was restricted to a handful of appearances last season, but early season injuries to the Real backline have presented Varane with a starting berth, and he has impressed with his silky displays. Unlike most defenders his age, Varane plays with a maturity and confidence beyond his years. Solid in the tackle, good in the air and comfortable on the ball, the young defender could perhaps improve, but he is undoubtedly one of the best young defenders in the world.
The Italian midfielder's arrival at PSG went largely unnoticed in France as bigger names like Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Ezequiel Lavezzi grabbed the headlines. However, Verratti has already made his mark putting in some sensational performances in for the French side at home and abroad in the Champions league. The deep-lying playmaker has been dubbed the next Pirlo, and he possess the vision and passing skills just like the old master, but with a breakneck turn of pace. Watch this space.
The youngest player ever to play and score for Athletic Bilbao, Iker Muniain made his debut for the Basque giants at just 16. The young talent is already an outstanding player and has notched over 100 appearances for his club during his short career. Short, skillful, and fast the diminutive winger glides past defenders with ease, leading him to be dubbed “the Spainish Messi”. A future world player of the year, only time will tell, but it looks like the sky is the limit for Muniain.
Making his debut at just 16 years of age, Kovacic is one of the most promising young talents ever to come out of Croatia. His huge talent and fast development have seen him compared to Wanye Rooney, Lioanel Messi and even Diego Maradona in his home country, and Croatia U-17 coach said he had not seen a player with so much talent since Croatian legend Robert Prosinečki. The midfielder who Arsenal is said to be watching closely recently became the second youngest player to score in the Champions league.