Vinicius Jr, about to join Real Madrid, and USA forward Josh Sargent are among the game’s best prospects
The 2017 FIFA Under-17 World Cup is just around the corner and with barely three weeks to go, the air is filled with utter excitement. Touted as the uppermost rung on the FIFA tournament ladder and a major standard for youth tourneys the world over, the mega-event serves as a beacon light for dozens of players from under-scouted countries.
And for the first time, India will take part in a FIFA tournament as the largest country in the subcontinent is also hosting the 17th edition of the tournament.
The tournament officially kicks off on October 6 as 24 countries from six confederations go head-to-head to be crowned as youth world champions.
Ahead of the tournament, APN profile 5 players to watch out for the month-long extravaganza that starts next month.
Abel Ruiz (Spain)
The Almussafes born 17-year-old is record all-time goal scorer with 29 goals for the U17 levels. He also led U17 Spain side to win the European Championship in May defeating England in the finals. A product of the Barcelona’s legendary La Masia academy, he will be the most capped player for the U17 Spanish side when he plays in the upcoming FIFA World Cup.
Jann-Fiete Arp (Germany)
Touted as the Bundesliga star of tomorrow, the Hamburg striker is the chief among the attacking threats for Germany. Flaunting a number nine jersey, Jann-Fiete Arp is the only player to have scored two hat-tricks in one UEFA tournament, one being the fastest in the European U17 Championship history in just 13 minutes. A Harry Kane fan, Arp once scored 16 goals in a match while playing for the Hamburger SV U-12 side.
Komal Thatal (India)
The poster boy of Blue Cubs, Sikkim’s Komal Thatal is the first Indian player ever to score against Brazil at last year’s BRICS U-17 tournament in Goa. Hailed as India’s wonder kid, he was trained by Sunil Chettri before getting inducted into the AIFF Academy in Bangalore. A two-footed attacking midfielder, he will be the key in India’s progress in the tournament.
Vinicius Jr (Brazil)
A Brazilian prodigy, Vinicius Jr has been already involved in a fancy transfer deal with mighty Real Madrid. Heralded as the next big superstar to come out of the great South American nation, Vinicius is a player who can play on both wings and carries a heavy pace to terrorise the biggest of defenders. Widely tipped to become the next ‘Neymar’, he was the top scorer and best player of the South American Championship.
Josh Sargent (USA)
The 17-year-old Missouri native has already starred at the U-20 World Cup this year with four goals and an assist, and will now lead the USA U-17 next month. The US national team forward will now become only the second player to represent the United States in two World Cups in the same year. The catalyst for USA U-17 side, Sargent boasts of 19 goals and nine assists in international games so far. Sargent’s penchant for goal scoring will be the main threat to India as they face-off in World Cup opener.