Starting 11 for young footballers


July 9, 2013 by backofthenetjl



Here, we have a contribution from Daniel Marland, who has written a piece on the best young starting eleven of footballers in the game at the moment.

Lots of young players are overrated in world football these days, but some youngsters show great potential, and I feel that the following players could possibly be world beaters in the near future.

As the article states, it is a starting 11, meaning I am talking about best goalkeeper, left back, centre back etc. At the end of the article, I will be putting the team together, into a suitable formation.


Name: Marc Andre Ter Stegen

Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach

Country: Germany

Age: 20 Years Old

Marc Andre Ter Stegen is a young upcoming goalkeeper in the Bundesliga, who plays for Borussia Mönchengladbach, in my opinion he is possibly one of Germanys best teams for bringing in young players to their team, examples with players such as Marco Reus and Luuk De Jong. Ter Stegen may only be 20, but he can command his box like some of the best. Also, he has amazing flexibility, and has helped steady a shaky Mönchengladbach in 8th position, where they have finished this season. Ter Stegen has been touted to preplace Manuel Neuer in-between the sticks for his native Germany, and has been linked with a move from Germany, Barcelona being a possible pursuer. Wherever he goes, Ter Stegen has the potential to be one of the best keepers in world football.


Name: Mattia De Sciglio

Club: AC Milan

Country: Italy

Age: 20

Mattia Di Sciglio is a young right-back in Serie A in Italy, and plays for AC Milan. De Sciglio has been hailed in recent weeks by French teammate Mathieu Flamini, who was quoted saying,

“De Sciglio is doing very well. He is a simple and discreet lad, so it pleases me. I consider him to be ‘ready’ for the big time and this season he is the young player who has amazed me the most.”

He has also been billed as “a sign of AC Milan’s renewal” he has all the quality needed to be a right-back, speed, strength, and a good understanding of the game. De Sciglio, however, does face stiff competition at the San Siro, with Inzigio Abate stamping authority on the right side of defence. However, De Sciglio could be a centre-back, with his physical presence. De Sciglio could be the future captain at AC Milan, and just what they need to return to European Dominance.


Name: Matija Nastasić

Club: Manchester City

Country: Serbia

Age: 19

Matija Nastasić is a Centre-Back who is playing in the Barclays Premier League for the current Premiership Champions Manchester City. Nastasić is a new face around the Etihad, arriving this summer from Serie A outfit Fiorentina for an estimated £8 million, with former City defender Stefan Savic moving to Fiorentina. Nastasić is known for his passing ability, combined with speed and strength. He is normally utilized with 3 at the back for City, offering the pace needed if City’s main Centre-Back, Vincent Kompany, is beaten. Nastasić has been played in a few big games this year, including the Manchester derby, where he put in a calm and composed display, on a large world scale. He has proven that he can do it at Premiership level, but he could also be the missing piece in Manchester City’s defence, as although they won the league, Kompany still needs a steady Centre Back partner, which he has not had since his arrival. Nastasić could be the man who offers that extra dimension to Manchester City’s defence, but only time will tell.


Name: Raphaël Varane

Club: Real Madrid

Country: France

Age: 19

Raphaël Varane is possibly one of the hottest young talents in all of world football, as he is playing regular 1st team football at Spanish giants Real Madrid, and at the age of 19, partnering Sergio Ramos in the heart of defence, keeping seasoned veteran Pepe out of the squad. Varane is well known for his combination of speed and strength, but also shows enthusiasm and confidence in everything he does. Due to his quality appearances as a substitute, he now holds the defence with Ramos like he’d been at it for years. He also has big match experience, featuring in games against Barcelona, (he scored in his first El Clásico) and the 2 games against Manchester United in the Champions League this season. He has also earned call-ups the French national team. Varane shows lots of promise, and it is almost impossible for him to slide down the leagues now.


Name: Luke Shaw

Club: Southampton

Country: England

Age: 17

Luke Shaw is a left-back playing in the Barclays Premiership for a Southampton side that have done better than most expected this season. Despite only being a starter since November 5th 2012, Shaw has made the Left-Back position his own in recent months, pushing Danny Fox out of the Starting 11. Shaw has also earned interest from some of the giants in English football, such as Chelsea and Arsenal. Shaw has lots of confidence playing on the left, as he is not afraid to dart forward to take a defender on, and if he is dispossessed, he will work to get the ball back for the Saints. Also, let’s not forget he is only 17, so has lots of potential to grow. It’s almost a certainty at this point he will be England’s first choice left back in 10 years, but where he will be playing is unknown, as, no disrespect to Southampton, he is destined for great things.

Central Defensive Midfielder:

Name: Paul Pogba

Club: Juventus

Country: France

Age: 20

Despite his apparent arrogant attitude, Paul Pogba does have the skill to become a great player. Pogba was known for being a star in Manchester United’s youth academy, playing his trade as a holding midfielder. However, lots of reports have said Pogba was disgruntled at how little he played at Old Trafford, and decided to leave for Juventus in2012 after his United contract ran out. Despite many United fans claiming he is overrated, he has proved in Italy that he has talent, regularly featuring for the current Serie A champions, and has a few goals to his name, including a goal of sheer class against Udinese. However, in Juventus’ title winning game this season against Palermo, Pogba was sent off after spitting at Palermo’s Italian defender Salvatore Aronica. Pogba may have an attitude problem, the truth is not exactly known, but Pogba has got talent, but it’s up to him if it is fully realized.

Central Defensive Midfielder:

Name: Marco Verratti

Club: PSG (Paris St Germain)

Country: Italy

Age: 20

Most football fans will only know Marco Verratti as the player who came on for David Beckham in the 1st Leg of this year’s Champions League against Barcelona. However, if you look into him, Verratti is a fantastic young footballer with the vision and passing ability you have come to expect from an Italian. He also possesses a rare thing in defensive midfielders, and that’s agility and pace. He has been linked to Manchester United in recent months, however the Pescara youth player, who transferred to PSG in 2012, has said he is willing to commit his future to the French Ligue 1 champions, as you have to assume he will heavily feature in future plans. He already seems to have a understanding with French teammate Blaise Matuidi in the heart of PSG’s midfield, so only time will tell if Verratti will be as remembered as fellow Italian midfielders such as Andrea Pirlo Or Claudio Marchisio.


Name: Neymar (da Silva Santos Júnior)

Club: Barcelona

Country: Brazil

Age: 21

Neymar is considered the best in the world already by some people. However, some say he is an over-hyped pretty boy who would be “battered” in a more competitive league. No matter what way you look at it however, he does have talent. Playing in his native Brazil for Santos, where he has been since the age of 11, Neymar has flourished in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A (commonly known as the Liga Do Brazil) Where he has 54 goals in 102 games, and has shown a wide array of skills that some footballers can only dream of doing. Despite this however, he has failed to show up in big occasions, noticeably in the London 2012 Olympics football final against Mexico, and more recently a friendly against England, where Brazil lost both games. Despite this, he has recently been snapped up by Catalan giants Barcelona for a estimated fee of 50 million Euros. However, only time will tell if the 21 year old does have the talent to play in Europe’s top leagues, or If he will follow the route of fellow Brazilian Robinho, offering so much promise in his homeland, but falling flat on a world stage.

Centre-Attacking Midfielder (CAM)

Name: Mario Götze

Club: Borussia Dortmund (Will be Bayern Munich as of July 1st 2013, as release clause has been met)

Country: Germany

Age: 20

Mario Götze is noticed around the world as one of the hottest young talents in world football. Currently playing for Borussia Dortmund, Götze has been nabbed by German champions Bayern Munich for a fee of around €37 million Euros, matching his release clause at Dortmund. It’s not surprising Götze has been snatched away from Dortmund, as he contains a cultured style of play, and sharpness about his approach to the game, resulting in a crazy amount of creativity from a 20 year old. Götze is also a regular starter for the German national team, which is a feat itself, as the squad contains amazing amounts of Attacking Midfielders, such as Mesut Özil, Toni Kroos, and Thomas Müller. Götze is also a 2 time Bundesliga winner, after helping Dortmund to 2 back-to-back League titles. And he has all this to show, and he has only just left his teenage years. Götze’s career could probably be considered a success right now, but with a big money move to Bayern Munich on the cards, the sky is the limit for Mario Götze.

Right Midfielder:

Name: Lucas (Rodrigues Moura da Silva)

Club: PSG (Paris St Germain)

Country: Brazil

Age: 20

Many will know the name, but very few will know the face. Lucas Moura is the man who cost PSG €45m Euros from Brazilian side São Paulo , and who was being followed incredibly heavily by Manchester United. He seems to have become a forgotten man in football since he finally moved to PSG in January 2013, but though he may have slid under the radar, he is showing his talent in Ligue 1, albeit, most likely not worth the €45m Euros paid for him. He has only played 9 games for PSG so far, and has not scored a single goal. However, he has provided a few assists, and also stood out in PSG’s first leg Champions League Quarter Final tie against Barcelona. He has also been praised by current teammate, and retiring David Beckham in recent days. Lucas’ problem won’t be proving that he has talent, but proving that paying €45m Euros was a good price for PSG, however, it has not been up to yet. Only time will tell if he becomes the player he has the potential to become, but his surplus of dribbling and crossing talents certainly offer us a glimpse of his talent.


Name: Stephan El Shaarawy

Club: AC Milan

Country: Italy

Age: 20

Stephan El Shaarawy is a young forward who literally dragged his club, AC Milan, up the league this season in Serie A. Milan where in need of a shining beacon of talent to get their season going, after the departures of Zlatan Ibrahimović and Thiago Silva to PSG. Then stepped up 20 year old El Shaarawy. He has scored 16 goals from 30 games this season, meaning he has (on average) scored in half of his games this season, rocketing Milan up the table to 3rd place. El Shaarawy’s ability to carry a team to this stature in the league almost single handily Is a feat amongst itself, and he can also dribble magnificently, and also has a great shot on him. Manchester City have shown interest in him recently, but El Shaarawy committed his future to the San Siro by signing a year extension on his contract, keeping him at the Rossoneri until 2016 at least. Despite slowing down in form after the arrival of fellow Italian Mario Ballotelli in January, El Shaarawy still holds the sheer talent to make it far in world football, whether this be leading AC Milan back to former glory, or with another team, nobody yet knows.

Honourable Mentions:

These players won’t be given a breakdown, but I will be mentioning them as they could easily fit into this team, given more space.

Centre Back:

Name: Kyriakos Papadopoulos

Club: Schalke 04

Country: Greece

Age: 21

Centre Back/Right Back/ Defensive Midfielder

Name: Phil Jones

Club: Manchester United

Country: England

Age: 21

Central Midfielder:

Name: Jack Wilshere

Club: Arsenal

Country: England

Age: 21

Centre-Attacking Midfielder:

Name: Oscar (dos Santos Emboaba Júnior)

Club: Chelsea

Country: Brazil

Age: 21

Striker/Attacking Midfielder

Name: Erik Lamela

Club: AS Roma

Country: Argentina

Age: 21


Name: Romelu Lukaku

Club: West Bromwich Albion (on loan from Chelsea)

Country: Belgium

Age: 20


This is the final team of footballers under 21 years of age (Honourable Mentions not included) in my opinion

This team could be one of the best sides in the world, however, some of these players will meet their potentials, some even higher. However, some may fall flat on their face.

Follow Danny on twitter: @TheCruyffTurnn
Follow me in twitter: @DisguisedPass


3 thoughts on “Starting 11 for young footballers

  1. raffers10 says:

    Great team with much potential, although I feel in the diagram Pogba and Verratti are pushed up too high for the DMC position, and El Sharaawy is rather deep for the CF position. I’d be unsure of Neymar’s defensive capability too, leaving Shaw so exposed down the left, but Verratti would have to drift over to help cover when defending. Pogba is key here, for this team to work he must keep his temper and be extremely tactically disciplined. The bedrock and foundation of the team rests on his shoulders.

    Like the post though! Keep it up.

  2. mattingham87 says:

    Great to see Nastasic and Luke Shaw on here. Not enough praise for these lads, both have a unbelievable amount of potential and i’m sure will be world beaters in time.

  3. Alex says:

    Nice. However El Shaarawy isn’t a striker but rather a left-winger (LW) or could even deploy him as a second striker.

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