Karim Adeyemi, Antony, Yeremi among the U21 stars who could shine in Qatar

Karim Adeyemi, Antony, Yeremi among the U21 stars who could shine in Qatar

It is now less than a year to go to the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar on November 21, with a number of teams already confirming their participation in the recent international hiatus.

The World Cup often offers young players a chance to shine on the biggest stage of all and Qatar will be no different. Here are nine players under the age of 21, from some of the qualifying nations, who could announce themselves next year when the action kicks off.

Dusan Vlahovic, 21, Fiorentina / Serbia

Already an established Serie A striker with Fiorentina, the Serbian international helped his country secure an automatic World Cup spot in the 2-1 victory over Portugal and, if his development continues at the current pace, the Balkan nation could even have a potential Golden Boot Winner in their ranks.

While Vlahovic’s progress may have escaped the radar of a global audience, he scored 21 goals in Serie A last season, scored 12 in 14 games this season, and perfected his game to likely become a top 10. center forward of European football.

In addition to his excellent finishing skills, able to score from any distance or position in or around the penalty area, Vlahovic has also improved his linking game and overall involvement in the construction phase (protection and circulation of the ball, free win kicks when he goes deep.) His contractual dispute with Fiorentina could get messy before his terms expire in 2023, but his position as the focal point of Serbia’s attacks is not in doubt.

Karim Adeyemi, 19, FC Salzburg / Germany

Born in Munich to Nigerian and Romanian parents, the 19-year-old is one of the most exciting young forwards in European football. After playing for a few years at Bayern academy, he moved on to fourth division SpVgg Unterhaching for six years and several clubs (including Bayern and Chelsea) lost when he signed for Austrian side FC Salzburg in 2018.

Adeyemi possesses excellent balance, finishing ability and the ability to position herself well for rebounds, but it’s her remarkable pace and immediacy that inevitably draw the most attention. Very fast on the mark, he also accelerates when he catches the ball and almost always seems to have another gear. With a powerful left foot, quick changes of direction and calm finishing skills, the striker has every chance to make his mark in Qatar based on his 14 goals in 18 games this season. He has already scored his first senior goal for Germany, marking his September debut against Armenia, and has plenty of top clubs watching him again.

Antony, 21, Ajax / Brazil

Called up for the first time in the Brazilian senior team in October after a decent performance at the Olympics and a great start to the season with Ajax, Antony is going from strength to strength.

He is a left-handed winger who usually lines up on the right side – although he prefers to reduce his stronger foot – gifted with very fast feet and able to beat his full back with his tricks and moves. Always positive in his game – whether he’s looking for quick rallies, overlaps, repercussions or a shot from outside the box – his progression has been rapid this season. However, he still tends to run out of energy towards the end of matches and can struggle to line up properly with his teammates for long periods. Brazil have a lot of offensive options, but Anthony could be a big impact player off the bench.

Charles De Ketelaere, 20, Club Brugge / Belgium

Awarded with his first start for Belgium against Estonia on November 13, the multifunctional striker makes a somewhat atypical figure for a modern 6-foot-3 striker. inverted wing on both sides, as a central attacking midfielder or in attack, it is obvious that the 20-year-old is more a matter of inspiration, intelligence and movement than protection or head. the ball (although he can too.)

Despite his size, De Ketelaere has impressive poise and mastery of his body, often evading challenges with quick changes of direction or a masked shot. He also has a nice round of pace, especially when he finds space in large areas where he can leave the full backs behind. With the fast developing forward, he may not be at Club Brugge by the end of January, but he is expected to play a role for Belgium next year.

Julian Alvarez, 21, River Plate / Argentina

Alvarez has long been considered Argentina’s best striker, but it’s only now that the River Plate striker is starting to produce the numbers that could see a European giant take a chance on him. Indeed, with 19 goals in 40 games this season, there is every chance a club will pay its € 25m release clause in January.

Now moved to a more central position, Alvarez has started scoring more regularly and recently scored four goals in a league match against Patronato. Aside from his technical ability, pace and powerful shot, it’s his positioning, opportunism and instinctive finishing with a twist that make Alvarez special. A member of Argentina’s Copa America winning squad, he stepped off the bench in World Cup qualifiers against Brazil last week and should have a better chance to shine soon.

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Rayan Cherki, 18, Lyon / France

Although Cherki’s first priority is to claim a starting spot for Lyon and France Under-21, based on his recent performances it could only be a matter of months or even weeks before the attacking midfielder breaks through the big moment. He’s still prone to trying one shot too many and a deception bordering on show – which will surely need to be resolved before France manager Didier Deschamps offers him a look for the senior squad – and it often feels like he’s so full of ideas that left in two minds about what to do next.

However, the ball tends to stick to his foot and can reverse the game with a decisive and penetrating pass or a quick and well-executed one-two, either by hitting his favorite left foot from the right (even if his right foot. weaker is so strong that he also uses it for direct free kicks) or playing in a more central role. A player with true superstar potential who could be an interesting wildcard pick as France set out to attempt to become the first men’s national team in 60 years to hold the World Cup.

Yeremi Pino, 19, Villarreal / Spain

Another of the many young prospects such as Ansu Fati, Gavi and Pedri who are the future of the Spanish national team, Yeremi had a chance to shine for Spain when some of his senior players were forced to leave the squad due to COVID-19. of June and made his debut in the Nations League semi-final against Italy last month.

He scored seven goals for Villarreal last season when he made the leap to their first team and, unlike some of his peers, the 19-year-old stands out for his practical interpretation of football. Play head-on, always scanning and preparing his move before receiving the ball, which often results in a positive pass with one or two touches or, when needed, a quick dribble to gain space or get out of a tight spot. .

Until recently Yeremi was primarily used as an impact substitute to change the pace of the attack or add unpredictability, but with his improving defensive contribution he is regularly given a starting spot for the Europa League champions, where he recently signed a new contract.

Mohammed Daramy, 19, Ajax / Denmark

Over the span of a year, Daramy went from being a work in progress at FC Copenhagen to signing a € 12m transfer to Ajax and making his first team debut with Denmark in September. Operating primarily on the left flank, he is exceptionally dangerous when opening up space in transition situations, but is also capable of beating a full-back from a more static starting point, either through quick body feints or simply pushing the ball in front of the defender and in office past.

Even more impressive, Daramy plays at a high intensity in his game, both when attacking with the ball and looking for one-twos or combinations, while his pressing game is also good. Given his recent progress and Ajax’s legacy of perfecting talent, he is expected to improve in the next year under Erik ten Haag to become even more important to Denmark in 2022.

Luka Sucic, 19, FC Salzburg / Croatia

It can be said that Luka Sucic, born in Austria, grew up watching the master of Croatian midfielder Luka Modric. Though a few inches taller than his namesake at 6-foot-1 and left-handed, he shares the same clear ambition as Modric, who finished as number 10.

Sucic’s positive passing play, efficient ball transport, and the confidence with which he executes his long passes and game changes are impressive for a 19-year-old. He is also quick on the turn, often wiggling and distorting from his markers. Susic, who was first brought into the Croatian fold in October, also boasts excellent shooting technique. He often starts on the right side of FC Salzburg’s midfield, but probably sees his future in a more central role as his idol.


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