This Premier League season has arguably been one of the most exciting in recent years, and we have seen a host of breakthrough stars arrive on the big stage; some of whom are very likely to further showcase their extraordinary talent in the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The most important footballing tournament in the world; it seems only right that the latest edition should be the most eagerly anticipated and most unpredictable, with many surely mulling over the latest FIFA World Cup odds with relish, with a host of strong international sides ready to take the tournament by the scuff of the neck.
There will be huge responsibility resting on many young men’s shoulders going into the summer, and you feel that some of the best young talent will have a big say in the outcome of the tournament.
Check out this five-strong list of young stars set to make a name for themselves on the biggest stage of all:
5. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arsenal and England, 20-years-old
The former Southampton man seems to have been around forever, but at still only 20, ‘the Ox’ could be one of the youngest stars of the tournament this summer.
Having recovered from injury that had restricted his appearances this season, Oxlade-Chamberlain has put in a number of excellent shifts for the Gunners, and has been pushed more central a number of times to great effect. Could work brilliantly in tandem with another name on this list…
4. Oscar, Chelsea and Brazil, 22-years-old
Although the Brazilian hasn’t been on top form for the Blues for quite some time, he remains a central cog in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Brazil side, and is seen as the perfect attacking foil to the maverick brilliance of Barcelona superstar Neymar.
With excellent footballing intelligence, and the ability to pick a perfect pass, Oscar could be one World Cup away from greatness.
3. Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea/Everton and Belgium, 20-years-old
The Belgian hitman has bagged an impressive 13 goals and nine assists for high-flying Everton this season, and with Christian Benteke ruled out of the World Cup with an achilles tendon injury, the 20-year-old is set to lead the line for his country in South America.
Deemed to be incompatible with Chelsea’s quick-fire, counter-attacking style; Lukaku has done all he can to prove Mourinho wrong this season, and was even among the goals in the last campaign on loan with West Brom, where he scored 17 goals, including a hat-trick at Old Trafford.
2. Adnan Januzaj, Manchester United and Belgium, 19-years-old
The big story of the week saw Manchester United’s young whizkid Januzaj pledge his international future to Belgium, much to the delight of coach Marc Wilmots.
The attacker has been one of few highlights this season for United, appearing out of the blue and starting an international battle for his allegiance following a number of stunning performances for his club.
Belgium have won that race, and will be a real threat going forward this summer.
1. Raheem Sterling, Liverpool and England, 19-years-old
One of Liverpool’s best players this season, there were doubts in the previous campaign over the young Englishman’s staying power at the highest level.
But this season he has proved doubters wrong with a host of devilish performances, in which he has scored crucial goals, and shown a maturity beyond his years.
Should adequately replace the stricken Theo Walcott in the side, and will surely be a real asset to Roy Hodgson in Brazil.
What do you think? Anyone I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below…