Ones to Watch at this Summer’s World Cup

Ones to Watch at this Summer’s World Cup

Ones to Watch at this summer’s World Cup

With this summer’s World Cup now just around the corner, we’re all getting increasingly more excited to see who will write their name in the history books in Russia. Each of the favourite nations have squads packed full of real quality, but there are going to be some really standout players present next month, ready and willing to steal the show for their respective nations in their quest for World Cup glory.

Of course, just like in any major international competition players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar & Eden Hazard will be the obvious candidates for the golden ball, however we’ve taken a look at 6 of the most promising young prospects heading to Russia in June, analysing their strengths and what makes them such a strong threat ahead of the biggest competition in world football. Give it a read and let us know your thoughts by tweeting us @Oddschanger!

Paulo Dybala – Argentina

Juventus front man Paulo Dybala is one of the hottest prospects in the world right now. The 24-year-old striker has just won his 3rd Serie A title with Juve, scoring 26 goals throughout a gruelling 10 month campaign with the Italian powerhouses. Dybala was one of the standout performers in another successful season in Turin; not only did they clinch their 7th consecutive league title after fighting off chasers Napoli right at the death, but they also yet again won the Coppa Italia for the 13th time in their history and that’s largely thanks to Dybala’s performances.

At just 24 years of age, Dybala is still only young, yet has plenty of experience performing at the top level. He’s already played almost 100 senior games for Juventus and has picked up 12 caps for Argentina prior to this summer’s World Cup. His style of play is extremely reminiscent of fellow countryman Lionel Messi, the player in which he is so often compared to. The way he carries the ball so effortlessly past defenders, shimmying through teams with ease before sitting whichever goalkeeper is unfortunate enough to be in front of him down and scoring is so similar to the Barcelona superstar, so the fact Argentina will have them both present in their side this summer is quite frightening.

Kylian Mbappe – France

PSG forward Kylian Mbappe has been on the scene for a while now, despite being just 19-years-old. The Monaco loanee, who is expected to make a permanent switch to the Parc des Princes this summer for a fee in the region of €145million is the complete package. Mbappe has strength, agility and pace to burn; he has an unbelievably good eye for goal and makes beating defenders look so easy. The young attacker shows shades of former France striker Thierry Henry in his game; the way he elegantly glides across the field and opens his right foot up to place a finessed finish into the corner of the goal is reminiscent of the Arsenal legend in his heyday. Some comparison, eh?

Mbappe has scored 21 goals in all competitions for PSG throughout an incredibly successful season in the French capital where they won both Ligue 1 & the Coupe de France. He’s also bagged an impressive 16 assists (all competitions) this time around, linking up perfectly with fellow strike partners Neymar and Edinson Cavani when in the final third. He’ll have players like Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele and Lyon’s Nabil Fekir supporting him in the France attack this summer, all players of real quality who can help him really steal the show in Russia. Will he take his opportunity to shine in his first major international tournament though, in front of an expectant crowd all eagerly anticipating nothing but greatness from the teenager…

Timo Werner – Germany

Germany striker Timo Werner has made headlines this season by scoring 21 goals for Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig. The £50 million rated 22-year-old has attracted interest from some of Europe’s most elite clubs following his performances for both club and country, with both Liverpool and Manchester United rumoured to be interested in obtaining his services for the forthcoming season. Werner is one of the quickest strikers in world football, meaning he can get in behind defences with ease, latching onto through balls from the midfield. This, as you can imagine makes him such a threat for Germany at this years World Cup, especially when you consider who the Germans have got in the middle of the park – Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil & Ilkay Gundogan, to name a few.

As Germany’s only real recognised out-and-out striker, Werner will be relied upon heavily in Russia. You could argue that that sort of pressure would overwhelm a player as young as Werner, however with 7 goals in his first 12 games for the senior side, it’s clear to see that he can handle competing at the very top level. With already one tournament win under his belt for Germany (last summer’s Confederations Cup), Werner will be keen to bag his first World Cup before turning 23 in March and with a squad as talented as Germany’s, it’s more than a realistic possibility that he will do should he play to his full potential.

Gabriel Jesus – Brazil

Manchester City front man Gabriel Jesus endured a promising debut season in the Premier League, winning the title at a canter with the Citizens whilst also lifting the EFL Cup back in February. Considering the 21-year-old hasn’t ever had a guaranteed start in City’s side this term (sharing that main striker role with none other than Sergio Aguero), he’s done extremely well to still score 17 goals, whilst also contributing to a further 5 assists in all competitions. Jesus is as quick as lightening, strong on the ball and has a real eye for goal so will prove to be such a threat for the Brazilians at this summers tournament.

With a squad packed full of so much quality, Jesus won’t go short of chances in front of goal in Russia. He’ll start every game for Tite’s men providing he stays fit at the World Cup, and with teams like Serbia, Costa Rica & Switzerland all in their group, he has the perfect opportunity to put himself in real contention to claim the Golden Boot in July. Brazil are the favourites to lift the trophy with some bookmakers, and with players like Jesus leading the line it’s clear to see why.

Isco – Spain

Spain have a fantastic chance of winning the World Cup this year. Their squad on paper is arguably the strongest out of everyone’s, with players such as David de Gea, Cezar Azpilicueta, David Silva, Andreas Iniesta and Diego Costa all securing their place on the plane to Russia. Perhaps Spains biggest threat however is Real Madrid playmaker Isco. The 26-year-old is slightly older than the rest of the players in this list, but his quality as a footballer has the potential to completely steal the limelight in Russia. Playing in a dynamic midfield alongside Barcelona anchorman Sergio Busquets and Manchester City magician David Silva, Isco can cut through teams at ease. His passing range is as good as anyone’s and tactical awareness is unquestionable. He can glide past opponents with his quick burst of pace and phenomenal close control, whilst also chipping in with vital goals from outside the area.

Isco has been Spain’s key player in the build up to this years World Cup, he scored hat-trick in their recent 6-1 decapitation of Argentina at the end of March, and also bagged a further 5 goals throughout Spain’s triumphant qualifying campaign, where they won their group comfortably following nine wins and one draw in ten games. Every time he gets hold of the ball in the middle of the park he looks to break forward, supplying frontmen Iago Aspas and Diego Costa with the chances in the final third. His contribution this summer will be paramount to Spains success this summer, but will he step up on the main stage when it matters most though?

Raheem Sterling – England

Since he stepped onto the scene as a 17-year-old at Liverpool, Raheem Sterling has had people raving about his potential in an England shirt. Now 23 years of age, Sterling has enjoyed a fantastic season with Premier League winners Manchester City, finishing the campaign with 23 goals in all competitions whilst also assisting a further 17 goals for his teammates at the Etihad. Sterling has been one of many standout players for Pep Guardiola’s dominant Sky Blues this term, he seems to have really matured under the guidance of former Barcelona boss Guardiola so will be looking to carry this promising form into the World Cup in a few weeks time.

Sterling will be the first name on Gareth Southgate’s team sheet in Russia, more than likely sitting alongside leading front man Harry Kane in a 3-5-2 formation due to the use of wing-backs as opposed to out-and-out wingers. With his blistering pace, positional sense and much improved knowledge of the game considered, we’re really excited to see how Sterling performs in Russia after a disappointing time at the Euro’s back in 2016. No pressure, Raheem…