FourFourTwo’s 100 Best Teenagers in the World 2017: 20-11
15. Toni Lato (Valencia)
Need to know: A homegrown left-back looking to follow in the footsteps of Jose Gaya, Valencia’s Lato has caught the eye with some fine performances in 2017.
The 19-year-old was handed his first La Liga outing in January and hasn’t looked out of place since then, demonstrating an ability to contribute in both the attacking and defensive phases.
A fast, athletic full-back who is also comfortable in possession, Lato has been linked with Liverpool in successive summers.
Highlight so far: Lato was superb for Valencia’s trip to Real Madrid in August, defending well against Gareth Bale and providing an assist as Los Che drew 2-2.
14. Matheusinho (America Mineiro)
Need to know: A diminutive attacking midfielder who stands at just a shade over 5ft 4in, Matheusinho is one of the most talented young players in Brazil right now.
With lightning-quick feet and a low centre of gravity, the 19-year-old drifts past opponents with ease whether playing out wide or through the middle.
Matheusinho has also improved his end product in recent months, but his progress will be checked following a knee ligament rupture in October’s 1-1 draw with Parana.
Highlight so far: Matheusinho scored the winner in a crunch Serie B clash with Santa Cruz earlier this season, keeping America Mineiro on track for promotion.
13. Timothy Fosu-Mensah (Crystal Palace, on loan from Manchester United)
Need to know: After eight years in the Ajax youth ranks, Fosu-Mensah was snapped up by Manchester United at the age of 16 in 2014. He made his senior bow under Louis van Gaal two years later, appearing alongside fellow Premier League debutant Marcus Rashford in a 3-2 victory over Arsenal at Old Trafford.
Currently on a season-long loan at struggling Crystal Palace, the versatile Dutchman can play at right-back, left-back, centre-half or in midfield.
Highlight so far: Fosu-Mensah started United’s FA Cup semi-final victory over Everton in 2015/16, when Van Gaal’s men went on to beat Crystal Palace in the final.
12. Felix Passlack (Hoffenheim, on loan from Borussia Dortmund)
Need to know: Borussia Dortmund have a tremendous track record of producing talented young players, and Passlack is among the latest starlets off the production line.
Currently on loan at Hoffenheim, the right-back has been compared with Bayern Munich’s Rafinha due to his pace, dynamism and composure on the ball.
“I could start crying knowing that I won't be coaching this guy,” Jurgen Klopp said before his Dortmund departure in 2015. We hope someone passed him a tissue.
Highlight so far: Passlack captained his country at the 2015 European U17 Championship, where he scored three goals and played every minute as Germany reached the final.
11. Tom Davies (Everton)
Need to know: The Everton academy graduate became a regular first-teamer last term, having made his Premier League bow the previous season.
An energetic, box-to-box midfielder who possesses both physical and technical gifts, Davies was named young player of the year at Goodison Park in 2016/17, after making 25 appearances in all competition.
The 19-year-old nephew of former Toffees man Alan Whittle has also represented England at U16, U17, U18, U19 and U21 levels, and was invited to train with the senior squad in 2015.
Highlight so far: Davies was superb in Everton’s 4-0 thrashing of Manchester City in January, scoring a brilliant individual strike which earned him the club’s goal-of-the-season award.
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