More than Pulisic: Five U-20 USMNT prospects with bright futures

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Gedion Zelalem, VVV-Venlo (on loan from Arsenal) midfielder

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the lack of a regular first-team role at the club level – whether at Arsenal, Rangers or, so far, at VVV-Venlo – Zelalem remains a quality player, both at his age group and in the U.S. player pool.

Recently turned 20, Zelalem is entering a critical stage both for his club future and national-team prospects. Few players in the pool can match his quality on the ball, and he oozes class with smoothness in possession.

The knock against him is his lack of a clear position: Is he an 8, 6 or 10? He’s yet to show the ability to create chances and pass incisively to play as an attacking midfielder, and he lacks the physical robustness and athleticism to excel in the Premier League. A move away from Arsenal this summer would certainly benefit him, and with Venlo on course to win the Eerste Divisie, he could get released from club duties for a second U-20 World Cup role.

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