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Ranked! The world's 15 best strikers aged 23 and under

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5. Patrick Cutrone

Seven goals in 12 Serie A starts, plus another six in the Europa League this season for Milan, constitutes an excellent campaign for 20-year-old Cutrone – a Rossoneri player since he was eight.

Cutrone is probably the truest No.9 on this list; a clinical finisher who plays on the shoulder of the last defender and is positionally excellent. He’s drawn comparisons to the purest of all poachers, Pippo Inzaghi, who coached him for a couple of seasons in the Milan youth teams.

Cutrone made his senior debut for Italy earlier this season, and with the national team in transition following their failure to qualify for the World Cup, he looks set to be part of a new-look Italy for a long time. When capped at youth level by the Azzurri, he has usually delivered – Cutrone has been prolific at every level from U15 to U21.

4. Marcus Rashford

Rashford will go to the World Cup with experience of a major international tournament already behind him, having been selected in Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 squad. Seventeen caps for England and more than 100 Manchester United appearances have all come before his 21st birthday, making for a whirlwind start to his career for club and country. 

Although his preferred position is through the middle, Rashford has been mostly used out wide and his goal contributions have suffered as a result. However, he has played a big part in League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League victories since breaking into United's team in 2016. The best is certainly yet to come for the rapid 20-year-old.

3. Timo Werner

Werner has improved exponentially since his 2016 move to RB Leipzig from hometown club Stuttgart. The 22-year-old is a thoroughly modern striker; quick, hard-working, selfless and prolific. He’s comfortable up top on his own or as part of a two, and equally adept as a No.9 or support striker.

Werner has caught the attentions of Europe’s top clubs and a summer move is looking increasingly likely, despite the player stating he would be happy to remain in Leipzig.

Joachim Löw will favour Werner over renaissance man Mario Gomez in the summer if both are fit and in form. Given the strength of Germany's squad, Werner may well add a World Cup to his trophy collection before his 23rd birthday.

2. Gabriel Jesus

The Brazilian joined Manchester City as a teenager in January 2017 and adapted almost instantly. He's played 34 Premier League matches since, scoring 17 goals and losing just one league match – making his £27 million transfer fee look frankly ludicrous already. 

In his first full season, Jesus has won the League Cup and Premier League title to add to his Olympic gold medal from 2016. Not bad for a player who celebrated his 21st birthday in April 2018.

The 21-year-old's seven goals in qualification helped fire Brazil to the World Cup too. They topped the South American qualifying table – a whopping 10 points clear of second-placed Uruguay – and lost just once in 18 games. That was their first game... when Jesus wasn’t called up to the squad.

1. Kylian Mbappe

Europe’s Golden Boy award winner, the second-most expensive player in history and nailed on for France at this summer’s World Cup in Russia – it’s easy to forget that Mbappe is just 19 years old.

After a seminal season in 2016/17, where the youngster's goals helped Monaco to the Ligue 1 title and semi-finals of the Champions League, PSG brought him home to Paris last summer. Mbappe has helped form a fearsome front three with Neymar and Edinson Cavani since, having been compared to both Thierry Henry and Brazilian Ronaldo from a very early age. 

He's already scooped the 2018 Ligue 1 title and Coupe de la Ligue with his new club, meaning he’s won league titles with two different clubs before his 20th birthday. Is there a World Cup on the horizon too? 

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