There are two messages that come with this title, one, when you pass the newsstand keep your eyes up, do not look down. Whilst certain unnamed anonymous Neil Ashton's get paid £3000 a week to write the stuff you see on those pages, it doesn't mean they earn it. Wait, did I say anonymous?
More prominently however, I'm talking about who to keep your eyes on, because at the end of the day, we're not just Chelsea fans we're football fans, and when the next star is on the horizon, it's always interesting to know about it. This article is mainly serving, hopefully, as a bit of a spark of debate and suggestion from you guys, people to keep an eye out for, even if they're obvious.
As the mighty enemies of football, conquerors of media darlings, and leaders of stockpiling legions, it is our duty to maintain the highest of standards in our youth squads, amassing a ton of potential future stars, but who else is there to look out for this silly season? People who may perhaps have slipped the net, and more vitally, people who we might catch a glimpse of as the most prestigious competition in world football comes to what can only be described as the only nation where football takes precedent over all else. Where hosting a mightily expensive World Cup makes more sense than say, public transport or healthcare - but hell, I'm not complaining, it's going to be incredible (and on that note I'm one of the lucky ones who has his tickets booked).
My personal list of youngsters is pretty much never-ending, and seems to be added to with every new youth cup final we win too... But he's just a few to get you started:
Some We All Know
- Ross Barkley, 19. Everton, England, World Cup Prospects: High. Two-footed technical midfielder with an eye for goal, he could be taking up a Lampard-esque box-to-box-attacking-midfield-mutant role in the near future. And has notably been in Chelsea's scope in the rumours, though, for an extortionate English prestige price of £30m.
- Gerard Deulofeu, 19. Everton (on loan from Barcelona B). World Cup Prospects: Low. Wonderful little player who has caused problems for every Premier League defence he's played against. Whilst this world cup might not be his time, he may have an interesting summer as I doubt he'll want to stick around next season to fight his place against the likes Messi, Neymar and Sanchez. Whether loan or perhaps permanent, his next move deserves attention.
- Thorgan Hazard, 20. Zulte-Waregem (on loan from Chelsea). World Cup Prospects: Existent, but minute. I need not say much about Thorgan, and the only reason I include him is because there have been murmurings of the small possibility of him getting into the World Cup squad. It wouldn't be unheard of, he's been the star of the Jupiler League, and personally he's impressed me far more than Adnan Januzaj. Furthermore given his preferred role is in the centre, it is distinctly possible that we see a future Hazardous (sorry, I just had to) duo, ripping up the premier league. (again, sorry)
Ones You Might Not Know Of
The World Cup Hopefuls
- Son Heung-Min - Seeing a South Korean amongst a list of future stars still seems a slightly foreign concept to me, they're small population and relatively low export quality has limited past stars though
- Bernard - After a move to Shakthar this year, Bernard looks to have great things ahead of him and is expected to be getting plenty of minutes in the World Cup whenever the Selecao look to rest their players with a healthy lead, but make no mistake, bringing on this kid isn't exactly a downgrade.
- Lorenzo Insigne - A Winger heralding from Napoli and the Italian national team, Insigne is unlikely to be in the starting 11, but expect to watch him wreak havoc in his cameos when he does play. This 21 year old is very, very quick, and has a low centre of gravity akin to Hazard (Eden) that makes him very tough to defend against.
- Raheem Sterling - I didn't want to put him in. I tried my best. I promise you. Young Sterling is a young scouse boy heralding from the Liverpool youth side. Personally I'm not a huge fan, and believe his success has been buoyed by those (Suarez) around him (seriously, I mean, Suarez), bagging 10 goals (mostly created by or involving the movement of, you guessed it, Suarez) and 7 assists (Suarez). Joking aside, he has shown a little flair and direct running that will be welcome in the England camp alongside the standard pace we seem to have in abundance throughout our youths, and honestly, he does have some kind of potential other than just playing next to Suarez... But mostly, it's the whole Suarez thing, anyone got 40,000,001 pounds under their couch?
Ones With A Longer Wait
- Mosquito and Nathan (ST and AM respectively) - Two 17 year old Brazilians who have demonstrated great understanding playing for the youth ranks of Brazil and Atletico Paranaense, whilst both making break throughs this season, they've already shown what they're capable of at U17 level in the 2013 U17 World Cup, where Nathan was accoladed and voted second best for the tournament.
- Florian Thauvin - He's been touted as a possible outside choice here for the WC, with a small chance at making the squad, however I would suggest he'll have a year or two to wait yet, and the Euro's in 2016 look a more probable opportunity to make his mark. An attacking midfielder with a sharp creative mind, he's been stellar when he's played for Marseille this year in Ligue 1 with 10 goals and 4 assists in 27 appearances in all competitions for Marseille this year.
Now I've only scraped the surface here, and have cut myself short below 1000 words as my main intention is to spark debate, so, over to you...