FourFourTwo’s 100 Best Teenagers in the World 2017: 90-81
Two of England’s rising stars feature here – including the kid who spurned Pep Guardiola and grabbed Ousmane Dembele’s vacant No.7 shirt at Dortmund
90. Berkay Ozcan (Stuttgart)
Need to know: Compared to Mesut Ozil by some, Ozcan chose to represent Turkey even though he was born in Germany. That could prove significant in the future, because the midfielder showed great promise during Stuttgart's promotion campaign in 2016/17, playing in 21 matches, scoring two goals and providing three assists for his team-mates.
It took him a while to make his mark in the Bundesliga – the 19-year-old is still considered quite raw physically – but Ozcan has started Stuttgart's last two matches and grabbed two assists in their 3-0 win over Freiburg. Things are looking up.
Highlight so far: That recent display against Freiburg. Ozcan teed up goals for Daniel Ginczek and Benjamin Pavard late in the first half to help give his side a solid half-time lead; the first a cross, and his second via a free-kick.
89. Guus Til (AZ Alkmaar)
Need to know: A tall, attacking midfielder, Til combines technical skills with physical presence and is effective in the air.
Born in Zambia, he spent his early years in Mozambique and Namibia before settling in the Netherlands and becoming one of the top prospects of AZ Alkmaar’s academy.
After making his debut in September 2016, Til is now a certain starter for the Cheeseheads and has won half a dozen caps for the Dutch U20 side, too.
Highlight so far: Til has netted seven Eredivisie goals to date, with September’s winner against NAC Breda especially impressive. He's been on fire recently, striking both goals in a 2-1 win over Heerenveen before netting in the 3-2 victory against Willem II.
3:41 for Til’s goal
88. Gian-Luca Itter (Wolfsburg)
Need to know: Itter must have been delighted when Martin Schmidt was appointed as Wolfsburg coach in September 2017. The Swiss specialist loves giving youth players a chance, and the 18-year-old left-back has been given the opportunity to prove his worth in the Bundesliga.
Speedy, skilful, elegant and tactically alert, he’s a top prospect and many expect him to become a national team star.
Itter’s twin brother David-Jerome is also on Wolfsburg’s books, and both have been watched by Arsenal.
Highlight so far: Itter made his Bundesliga bow playing 90 minutes in the dramatic 2-2 draw at Bayern Munich in September, which proved to be the last league match of Carlo Ancelotti’s tenure.
87. Julien Ngoy (Stoke)
Need to know: Ngoy is so highly rated that Monaco considered signing him as a replacement for PSG-bound superstar Kylian Mbappe.
Powerful and skilful, the Belgian forward has potential, though his progress is taking a little more time than expected. Stoke nipped in ahead of Manchester United and Real Madrid to sign him in 2013, but he is yet to make a meaningful impact in Mark Hughes’s first-team squad yet having just turned 20.
Ngoy made only five Premier League substitute appearances during 2016/17 but penned a new five-year contract with the club in September.
Highlight so far: Playing against Manchester United for 17 minutes isn’t much of a highlight, but it’s the most he’s achieved so far.
86. Giovanni Troupee (Utrecht)
Need to know: Troupee wanted to be a pilot as a child, but had to settle for football and has emerged as the most promising young right-back in Holland.
He made his debut for Utrecht at the age of 17 and became a regular starter during 2016/17, featuring in 31 matches and combining tenacity, lightning speed and a desire to join attacks at every opportunity.
Carles Puyol is his role model and Troupee resembles the Barcelona defender even in hairstyle.
Highlight so far: Troupee scored three league goals in 2016/17, including one in a thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Feyenoord.
85. Ronaldo Vieira (Leeds)
Need to know: Named after the Brazilian great, Ronaldo has a twin brother called Romario and both have unusual career stories.
Born in Guinea-Bissau, Vieira emigrated to Portugal and later joined Benfica’s academy, but the family moved to England and Leeds were lucky enough to pick him up.
An all-around midfielder, he played in 34 Championship matches under Garry Monk last season and was subsequently called up to England’s U20s.
Highlight so far: Vieira scored a magnificent long-range injury-time winner at Norwich in November 2016 – his only goal for Leeds so far.
84. Rui Pires (Porto)
Need to know: A classy defensive midfielder, Pires has been hailed for his ball-winning skills and fine distribution, and is widely seen as the heir to Danilo in Porto’s side.
He has only featured for the reserves so far, having captained the youth team, but Pires has shown signs of promise and been praised by coach Antonio Folha. Many expect him to be promoted to the first team during 2017/18.
Highlight so far: Pires was influential as Portugal reached the final of the 2017 European U19 Championship in Georgia, and was deservedly included in the overall team of the tournament.
83. Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
Need to know: Could this be one of the biggest steals? Sancho, a winger with outrageous skills, was considered a top prospect at Manchester City but joined Borussia Dortmund in August 2017 as he felt his path to the senior side was blocked.
Keen to make his mark, he got his wish in Germany – and received the No.7 shirt vacated by Barcelona-bound Ousmane Dembele. BVB paid £8m for a player who’s hit 16 goals in 19 games for England U17s.
Highlight so far: Sancho became the first Englishman to play for Dortmund in the Bundesliga when he made his debut against Eintracht Frankfurt in October – and nearly scored, too.
82. Marquinhos Cipriano (Sao Paulo)
Need to know: Described as one of the biggest Brazilian prospects in his age group, Marquinhos has a release clause of €30 million.
Sao Paulo signed the attacking midfielder from Desportivo Brasil in 2015, and over the last two years he’s attracted interest from PSG, Porto, Manchester City, Arsenal and Juventus.
While frequently featuring for Brazil’s U20s, he is yet to star for the Sao Paulo first team.
Highlight so far: Marquinhos impressed for the Seleção U20s at the 2017 Toulon Tournament – won by England.
81. Federico Dimarco (Sion)
Need to know: An attack-minded and fast left-back with a decent shot, Dimarco sees Roberto Carlos as his role model. Somewhat amusingly, he was shown the door at Inter just like the Brazilian.
Born in Milan and raised at the academy, he made his debut for the Nerazzurri aged 17 but was considered surplus to requirements this summer after a loan spell at Empoli. Dimarco was sold to Sion with a buy-back clause, and plans to return to the San Siro after proving his worth for the Swiss Super League side.
Highlight so far: Dimarco scored twice – a penalty and a free-kick – to sink England in the semi-finals of the 2016 European U19 Championship, taking his overall tally in the tournament to four.
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FourFourTwo’s 100 Best Teenagers in the World 2017
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