During the last year or so, the whole Coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on many enjoyable things in life. However the magic of the beautiful game has been one thing keeping spirits high. Apart from the few months where football was put on hold, nearly every day since, we’ve had some sort of professional football game to get our teeth into.
With the strain of more and more matches in shorter periods of time, we’ve seen the development of many younger players who may not have got this opportunity otherwise, which is one positive of the hectic schedule. Below I will be ranking my top 10 footballing talents!
10: Jamal Musiala – Bayern Munich
Jamal Musiala originally came through the ranks at Chelsea, spending a good 8 years with the academy at Cobham, before signing with current Champions League winners Bayern. Musiala made his mark in 2020, working his way into the Bayern first team, and scoring his first professional goal in an 8-0 demolishing of Schalke. At just 17 years old, Musiala is one of the hottest talents in German football.
9: Eduardo Camavinga – Stade Rennais
2020 was a massive year for Camavinga. He left an outstanding impression on many watching Rennes in the Champions League. Having earned 41 appearances for Rennes, you’d think he was easily in his 20’s. However at only 18, Camavinga has started numerous games for not only club, but his country, the reigning World Champions, France. He scored his first goal for Les Bleus against Ukraine, making him the youngest goal scorer for the French, in 100 years. Oh, and he is well and truly on the radar for Real Madrid.
8: Dominik Szoboszlai – RB Leipzig
Szoboszlai often gets ignored due to spending all of his current professional career in Austria, a league that rarely gets recognised. However the talent that comes out of Leipzig’s sister club, RB Salzburg, is clear for all to see. With over 100 senior appearances and 12 full international caps for Hungary, the 20 year old heads to Germany with not only potential, but experience.
7: Callum Hudson-Odoi – Chelsea
As a player with so much talent in his favoured position around him, Hudson-Odoi has to fight hard for game time at Chelsea. However when given a chance, he always seems to deliver. Despite not being first choice, CHO has played over 70 games for The Blues, scoring 13 goals and assisting many more. I believe once he gets a run in the side, it will be very difficult to take him out of the starting XI.
6: Phil Foden – Manchester City
Lionel Messi has publicly come out and said that Phil Foden is in his list of players ‘on the rise’. If that wasn’t enough, the youngster from Stockport has also impressed his boss Pep Guardiola. Guardiola has come out and described Foden as “the most talented player I have ever seen”. Which isn’t a bad compliment from a manager who has worked with Lionel Messi and Co.
5: Mason Greenwood – Manchester United
Another young player plying his trade in Manchester, Greenwood has a ferocious strike on him, and has shown that scoring 11 goals in his time at United. He has struck up a good partnership with fellow Englishman Marcus Rashford, and with Bruno Fernandes behind them, goals are a sure thing. With an England cap under his belt, this 19 year old has a serious career ahead of him.
4: Ansu Fati – Barcelona
As an admirer of Spanish football I often see talent in La Liga. However Ansu Fati is a special player. In the latest El Classico between Barca and Real, it was a contest of Fati v Vinicius JR, and I was interested to see how it developed. In my opinion there was only one winner and Fati looked a class apart. He suffered an knee injury just before Christmas, which will see him on the sidelines until mid March, but that is just a small obstacle for this smart talented winger.
3: Alphonso Davies – Bayern Munich
As a starter in a Champions League Final, it is quite often overlooked that Davies is only 20 years old. He began his career in Vancouver with the Whitecaps, signing his first professional contract at 16, and later making his debut at the same age. During his time in the MLS it was clear for all to see that Davies was a special talent. He made the MLS all stars team in 2018 and on his final start in Canada, he scored both goals in a 2-1 win over the Portland Timbers, leaving his mark before departing. The young Canadian moved to Bayern Munich in January 2019 and hasn’t looked back since. Davies has won 2 leagues, 2 cups and the elusive Champions League in his 2 years in Munich, and I hope he has room in his trophy cabinet for many more.
2: Jadon Sancho – Borussia Dortmund
Jadon Sancho wasn’t afraid to leave Manchester City to pursue his career, and it looks like his move paid off. At Borussia Dortmund he’s done nothing but flourish into one of the best players in the world. At just 20 years old, he is already close to hitting 100 appearances for the German side, and he’s one of the first names on Gareth Southgate’s England team sheet. Sancho has been constantly linked with Manchester United and it will be interesting to see if he decides to stay in Germany, or return home to England.
1: Erling Braut Haaland – Borussia Dortmund
Clinical. Composed. Consistent. Erling Haaland is nothing short of spectacular, and ranks at number one. Signing for Dortmund from RB Salzburg at just 19, Haaland had many admirers, but chose to join the German side and his decision has paid off. In his 34 games for Dortmund, he has scored 35 goals. Over a goal a game for the young Norwegian, and he’s only just getting started. Haaland has attracted the attention of both Chelsea and Manchester United who are desperate to activate his release clause and bring him to the Premier League. As much as I love seeing him in the Bundesliga, I’d love to see Haaland in England!