The 9 players to get most excited about at the U17 World Cup
Jann-Fiete Arp, Germany (forward)
The Hamburg product is yet to make a Bundesliga appearance, though his prodigious scoring rate and fox-in-the-box ability makes him a strong contender to finish as the World Cup’s top scorer. Arp was linked with a move to Chelsea earlier this year before renewing his contract with Hamburg, an indication of the attention he has already drawn to himself.
His star turn came earlier this year at the UEFA U17 Championship, when he scored seven goals – including two hat-tricks in the group stage. A classic poacher who can finish everything in and around the box, Arp has a trick or two up his sleeve; he's excellent playing off his team-mates, and packs a decent shot from distance. If Germany are to perform to expectations in India, they will need a big performance from their No.9.
Amine Gouiri, France (forward)
Pipping Arp as the top scorer at this year’s UEFA U17 Championship, Gouiri is another player nudging out of the ridiculous pipeline of talent France is churning out. The Lyon striker is an excellent finisher, and can also create off the dribble for either himself or his team-mates.
Gouiri has quick feet and is built well enough to match up physically with opposing centre-backs. He scored seven goals in three group games at qualifying, and matchups against New Caledonia, Japan and Honduras are certain to lead to more goals for the forward.
Yadir Meneses, Colombia (midfielder)
A left-footed attacking midfielder from Envigado, Meneses elicits the comparisons of compatriot James Rodriguez because of his background and playing style similarities. Meneses now has a World Cup platform of his own to shine on, starting with a group that includes host nation India, Ghana and the United States.
Meneses is an interesting case, since he’s played his way into the Colombian side in the wake of the South American U17 Championship. While it’s always unfair to compare teenagers to much-accomplished counterparts, the graceful midfielder will soon have a chance to prove just how well he matches up to his elder counterpart.
Aminu Mohammed, Ghana (forward)
A force to be reckoned with at any World Cup, Ghana arrive in India with another impressive squad of rising stars. One of those who has emerged at this point is Mohammed, an exciting attacking player who has been linked to a handful of prominent European clubs.
His current club, Wafa SC of Ghana, earlier this month denied that he has already been sold to Manchester City. Whether a move has been lined up or not, Aminu’s chance to compete at this World Cup is the perfect one for a talent like him to be spotted.
He’s an impressive blend of speed and technique in the final third and should have a field day against opposing U17 defences.