Young footballers get a bad press. The general perception of academy prospects trying to break through at the world’s biggest teams is often the same: they’re all obsessed with money and fame, and grow up with a sense of entitlement.
In 99 per cent of cases, however, that’s simply not true. To make it as a footballer nowadays, you have to dedicate your life to doing everything just right. And only if you’re lucky will you get there. The money and fame is what everyone sees: the sacrifice and dedication that goes into becoming one of the world’s best young players is something to be admired and a story in itself – a story we try to tell in this issue.
In his first major interview, PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe talks about learning to treat football as a job when he was 13 years old. Germany's new striker Timo Werner discusses the uneasiness he felt when signing autographs for fellow pupils at school. And Watford forward Richarlison reveals that his journey from Brazil to the Premier League involved having to overcome extreme poverty and gangland violence.
If you can emerge from that and still make it as one of the world's most promising young players, then you deserve all the fame and fortune...
This time last year, the 19-year-old had started just 19 senior matches for Monaco, was uncapped by France and largely unknown – now he’s a superstar who has Champions League and World Cup glory in his sights. FFT sits down the PSG superstar to find out more from the man himself...
He hasn’t even played in the Premier League yet, but some big clubs are circling. That’s no surprise, given that the Fulham wideman – who's already racked up more than 100 appearances for the Cottagers aged 17 – was taking the Championship by storm a few months after sitting his GCSEs.
Watford’s wing wizard had to grow up pretty fast on the mean streets of Brazil. That’s why the 20-year-old is so determined and ready to make the most of his big break.
Having made his Milan debut at 16 and first appearance for his country at 17, Gigio's well placed to establish himself as the next great Italian No.1. Now he just needs to win over his own fans…
"The aim is to be better than my dad." For most youngsters, that’s not too bold a statement. But when your old man has won four league titles, a bucketload of international caps and the Champions League, it’s quite a high bar.
The rookie right-back may not have been born when Ian Rush left Anfield, let alone when an ’80s advert immortalised the Welshman’s penchant for milk, but he’s aiming to repeat his Reds success one step at a time. We head to casade Alexander-Arnold to get his own take on life at Liverpool...
Tradition dictates that young players do their bit to keep things spick and span in the dressing room, but how did scraping the mud from Scott Parker’s studs help Harry Winks bowl over Real Madrid?
The 22-year-old RB Leipzig striker is thinking big. As well as matching Miroslav Klose’s World Cup scoring record for Germany, he’s got his eye on a move to either Manchester United or Liverpool...
In an era of big-money signings, the 20-year-old has proved a timely symbol of Manchester United’s proud history of player development. But can he rise to his toughest challenge and cement a first-team place? Only a fool would bet against it.
Meanwhile, in Israel...
Grudge matches in Glasgow, Buenos Aires and Istanbul might get heated, but they’re tepid compared to clashes between Israeli foes Beitar Jerusalem and Bnei Sakhnin. Now Donald Trump has poured oil on the flames...
Former Spurs and Netherlands playmaker Rafael van der Vaart answers YOUR questions, including: What was it like living on a trailer park? Why did he fall out with Zlatan? And how did he end up kissing an old lady when he was at Tottenham?
In our fun-packed front section, Steph Houghton answers some silly questions, Joe Cole tells us about life with Tampa Bay Rowdies and a possible date with Didier Drogba, and Didi Hamann recalls his greatest goal. Plus, columnist Lothar Matthaus reveals how living room games against his brother helped him become a legend.
From Pele’s pounding to Alf Ramsey’s shirt-swap squabble, there’s a case for the 1966 World Cup being the most violent finals in history. FFT takes a closer look, as well as uncovering some classic Aberdeen programmes, learning the origins of the stepover and recalling Julian Dicks’ ‘friendly’ testimonial match against Athletic Bilbao.
Everton’s young forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin talks to FourFourTwo Performance about cage football, loan spells and Wayne Rooney. We also give isotonic gels a try, find out why Hoffenheim manager Julian Nagelsmann let his players pick their captain, and get taught a core workout that helps you to twist and turn at speed.
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The April 2018 issue of FourFourTwo magazine was brought to you by Rafael van der Vaart, Steph Houghton, Michel Salgado, Kayden Jackson, Joe Cole, Didi Hamann, Lothar Matthaus, Kylian Mbappe, Ryan Sessegnon, Richarlison, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Justin Kluivert, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harry Winks, Timo Werner, Dwaine Rashford, Dave Horrocks, Paul McGuinness, Neil Ryan, Uri Levy, Ahmad Awesat, Roy Jankelowitz, Benny Ben Zaken, Tal Benin, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Denis Law.
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Gregg Davies is the Chief Sub Editor of FourFourTwo magazine, joining the team in January 2008 and spending seven years working on the website. He supports non-league behemoths Hereford and commentates on Bulls matches for Radio Hereford FC. His passions include chocolate hobnobs and attempting to shoehorn Ronnie Radford into any office conversation.
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