Five youngsters to watch out for at FIFA World Cup 2014
1.Paul Pogba, France. Age: 21
Pogba, 21, joined Juventus in 2012 after becoming frustrated by the lack of opportunities presented to him at English giants Manchester United and the move proved an immediate success as he won the Scudetto in his first two seasons in Serie A. A central midfielder with considerable range, Pogba is blessed with exceptional technique and has earned a reputation in Italy for scoring spectacular goals from long range. "He manages to ally athletic presence with power and beautiful technique," says France manager Didier Deschamps; himself a former Juventus midfielder. "He has everything you need."
2. Adnan Januzaj, Belgium. Age: 19
After a stunning breakthrough campaign with Manchester United, 19-year-old winger Januzaj was awarded a surprise World Cup call-up by Belgium coach Marc Wilmots. The slight, left-footed player, who hit the headlines with a fine brace of goals in a 2-1 win at Sunderland last October, chose to play for Belgium despite also being eligible to represent Albania, Turkey, Serbia and non-FIFA-affiliated Kosovo. "Adnan is the kind of player who could light up a World Cup, whether that is starting games or off the bench," said one-time United teammate Ryan Giggs, who has just retired. "He floats with the ball effortlessly. He is just one of those players you love watching."
3. Raheem Sterling, England. Age: 19
A dazzling wide player, Sterling emerged as one of the stars of the Premier League season after scoring a number of crucial goals in Liverpool's ultimately futile title bid. Occasionally used in a central role alongside Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge by club manager Brendan Rodgers, 19-year-old Sterling will be looking to capitalise on an injury to Arsenal rival Theo Walcott by making England's right-wing berth his own. "He has balance, pace and can go past players," says England manager Roy Hodgson. "And you can't bully him."
4. William Carvalho, Portugal. Age: 22
Carvalho is the latest promising graduate from Sporting Lisbon's famed youth academy, following in the footsteps of such Portuguese greats as Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo. An imposing holding midfielder, the 22-year-old made his international debut in the second leg of Portugal's qualifying play-off victory over Sweden in November and has been linked with some of Europe's most glamorous clubs. "There's no limit for him," says Sporting teammate Diego Capel. "People will talk about him a lot in the future."
5. Serge Aurier, Ivory Coast. Age: 21
A quick and powerful right-sided wing-back, Toulouse defender Aurier was one of the breakthrough stars of the 2013-14 Ligue 1 season. The 21-year-old, who made his top-flight debut for Lens aged just 16, scored six goals and contributed six assists during the league campaign, earning him a place in the Ligue 1 team of the year. His stock is already rising with teams like Arsenal reportedly vying for his signature. "In terms of right-backs, he's one of the best — if not the best — in Ligue 1," says Toulouse coach Alain Casanova. "He's still got a lot to improve, but his potential is huge."