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With the kick-off to the biggest competition in World football only weeks away,

I’ve taken a look at some of the brightest prospects heading to Russia, who I expect to impress during the tournament.

Ten young players to watch at the 2018 World Cup#10 – Yerry Mina (Colombia)

Ten young players to watch at the 2018 World CupAt 23 years of age, Mina is arguably already a complete defender. He’s very comfortable playing from the back with a range of passing ability, as well as possessing an aerial threat thanks to being an imposing 6ft 5in.

He completed a dream move to Barcelona earlier this year in January, however, has found game time hard to come by so far, making only 5 appearances.

The World Cup gives him a great opportunity to test himself against the best players in the world and put himself firmly in Ernesto Valverde’s plans for next season.

#9 – Lucas Torreira (Uruguay)

Ten young players to watch at the 2018 World CupThe 22-year-old Uruguayan is currently playing for Sampdoria in Italy, where he’s impressed in his first two seasons at the club.

Playing in the defensive midfield position, he reads the game well beyond his years, as well as having a good mixture of play making ability to keep possession and start attacks.

He’s being touted the top, with several of Europe’s heavyweight clubs already being linked with him, and the World Cup gives him a great chance to prove his ability and put himself in the shop window.

#8 – Keita Balde (Senegal)

Ten young players to watch at the 2018 World CupThe 23-year-old Senegalese winger has is highly rated by many. He first shot to prominence in Italy with Lazio in the 2016/17 season, where he scored an impressive 16 goals in 31 games, which lead to French side Monaco paying £27m for his signature.

He enjoyed a moderately successful debut season scoring 8 goals in 23 appearances. He possesses frightening pace and dribbling skills which is enough to frighten even the world’s best defenders and is continually improving his composure in front of goal.

With him and Mane on the wings for Senegal, expect plenty of attacking flair from Senegal this summer!

#7 – Timo Werner (Germany)

Ten young players to watch at the 2018 World CupThe 22-year-old German Striker has already established himself as one of the best strikers in the Bundesliga. A key part of RB Leipzig’s team, he’s scored 42 goals in all competitions in just two seasons for the club since signing from Stuttgart.

He’s carried his scoring form in international football too, scoring an impressive 7 goals in 12 appearances for Die Mannschaft. Werner has the pace to burn and loves playing on the shoulder of the defender and has excellent finishing ability when through on goal.

It remains to be seen if Joachim Low will opt for the younger option of Werner or the more experienced option of Mario Gomez, however, I expect him to have an impact either starting or from the bench in what could well be back to back World Cup triumphs for Germany.

#6 – Goncalo Guedes (Portugal)

Ten young players to watch at the 2018 World CupThe 21-year-old Portuguese winger is coming into the World Cup in great form after an impressive season on loan at Spanish side Valencia from PSG.

He established himself as a key member of the team that helped secure a Champions League position for next season, scoring 5 goals and assisting 9. He has outstanding dribbling capability, which combined with his passing and crossing ability makes him a handful for fullbacks.

Expect him to create the chances for Portugal’s talisman Ronaldo to finish, as Portugal go for another trophy after their Euro 2016 triumph.

#5 – Marcus Rashford (England)

Ten young players to watch at the 2018 World CupThe 20-year-old English striker has shown glimpses of a world class player in the making. Since debuting for Manchester United in 2015, Rashford has become a fan favourite of the Old Trafford faithful, thanks to his blistering pace, and ability to take players on.

His development has arguably been stalled with him struggling to nail down a position in the starting XI, as well as Mourinho often playing him on the wings. It’s likely he could be employed in the same position in Russia for England with Harry Kane expected to lead the line.

Rashford will be keen to showcase his ability in Russia and show Mourinho that he has the ability to be a regular starter for United next season.

#4 – Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Serbia)

Ten young players to watch at the 2018 World CupThe 23-year-old Serbian midfielder is being tipped for the top and is arguably already the complete midfielder.

Currently playing in Italy for Lazio, Milinkovic-Savic has established himself as one of the best midfielders in the league thanks to his combination of aerial, passing, and shooting prowess.

Scoring 12 goals last season proves his ability, and he’ll be hoping to impress in Russia as Europe’s elite will undoubtedly be monitoring his performance.

#3 – Hirving Lozano (Mexico)

Ten young players to watch at the 2018 World CupThe 22-year-old Mexican winger is coming into the World Cup in scintillating form, having scored 17 goals, and assisted 8 for PSV in Holland.

He has outstanding crossing ability from both open play and dead ball situations and loves to cut inside from the right onto his stronger left foot. However, he has had issues with his discipline for PSV having been sent off twice this season which he needs to work on.

A good performance in the World Cup could make it very difficult for PSV to keep hold of him should Europe’s elite come calling for his services and he’ll be hoping to guide Mexico out of what is an incredibly tough group alongside Germany, Sweden and South Korea.

#2 – Kylian Mbappe (France)

Ten young players to watch at the 2018 World CupThe 19-year-old French Striker has enjoyed a whirlwind start to his professional career. He came to prominence for French side Monaco during the 2016/17 season where he scored 26 goals in all competitions to help Monaco to the title, as well as reaching the semi-final of the Champions League where he received rave reviews for his performances.

This led to rivals PSG agreeing to a transfer which will is believed to eventually reach over £100m. Mbappe continued his scoring form for PSG scoring 23 goals in 44 appearances, securing another Ligue 1 crown in the process. The complete forward, he possesses lighting pace, passing and unbelievable composure in front of goal. He’s been compared by many to Brazilian legend Ronaldo, high praise indeed for someone so young.

He will be hoping to guide France to World Cup success in what is arguably the best team of a generation with the likes of Pogba, Kante and Griezmann lining up alongside him.

#1 – Gabriel Jesus (Brazil)

Ten young players to watch at the 2018 World CupThe 21-year-old Brazilian Striker has the world at his feet after his impressive debut season in England with Manchester City.

Scoring 17 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions, Jesus has become one of hottest prospects in world football. It’s a great credit for such a young player to establish themselves in one of Europe’s elite sides in Manchester City so quickly, especially with fierce competition from the world-class Sergio Aguero to contend with.

He possesses pace, great passing and finishing ability, as well as being a true goal poacher thanks to his elusive movement off the ball. Jesus is expected to lead the line for Brazil with a countries reputation to restore, after their humiliating 7-0 defeat at the hands of Germany in their home World Cup in 2014 still fresh in the memory.

With the likes of Marcelo, Coutinho and Neymar lining up alongside side, expect Brazil to be serious contenders this Summer.

Post written by Jonathan Roberts
Blog: missingstudsfootball.wordpress.com, Twitter: @missingstuds

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