Football fans are always eager to catch their first glimpses of the stars of tomorrow and supporters are currently being treated to some stellar performances from a host of teenage talents.
Jadon Sancho, Erling Haaland and Alphonso Davies are just some of the notable names to recently leave their teens and enter their twenties, but there are a wealth of other talented youngsters on the rise.
Breaking into one of Europe’s leading sides at such a young age requires the perfect mix of talent and temperament, though these future phenomenons are already making quite the impact at the highest level.
We’ve decided to look at some of the most precociously talented footballers on the continent at present, here are six of the most exciting teenagers in European football right now:
Barcelona moved swiftly to secure the signing of Pedri from Las Palmas, before loaning the youngster back to the Canary Islands club to continue his development last season.
The teenager has since linked up with the Catalans and has quickly made an impression as the Ronald Koeman era has been ushered in at the Camp Nou, featuring in each of the club’s 10 fixtures in all competitions this season.
The 17-year-old scored his first goal for Barcelona in their Champions League thrashing of Ferencvaros, though it was his performance in the Spanish side’s victory at Juventus that truly catapulted him into the headlines.
Pedri was sensational as Barcelona won 2-0 at the Italian champions, the comparisons to Andres Iniesta seemingly justified as he delivered a performance of supreme confidence, completing 40 of his 42 passes and five of his six attempted dribbles.
It was a breakthrough performance for a player who has taken to playing for one of world football’s superpowers in his stride, with Spanish publication, Marca, branding the youngster ‘the signing of the decade’ following his display in Turin.
There is a great deal of hype surrounding a player comfortable in a variety of attacking midfield roles, Pedri – alongside fellow teenager Ansu Fati – viewed as the great hopes of Barcelona’s future.
Jude Bellingham has enjoyed a meteoric rise since becoming the youngest player and goalscorer in Birmingham City’s history a little over a year ago, his first season in professional football seeing the midfielder attract attention from some of Europe’s leading clubs.
Manchester United had expressed an interest in his signature but he opted to follow the now well-trodden path to the Bundesliga, swapping the Championship for the Champions League after moving to the Westfalenstadion.
Bellingham has began brightly in German football and has scored once – becoming the club’s youngest goalscorer in 68 years – in 10 appearances for Dortmund so far, featuring as part of a vibrant line-up including Erling Haaland, Gio Reyna and compatriot Jadon Sancho.
The 17-year-old is a complete midfield talent in the form of a traditional number eight, equally capable of breaking up the play as he is carrying the ball forward and making things happen.
Bundesliga Debut ✅
Champions League Debut ✅
England U21 Debut ✅
England NT 🔜
Congrats to Jude Bellingham on getting his first #ThreeLions call-up!
What a year it’s been so far! 🌟🏴 pic.twitter.com/6eBANSHOYF
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) November 10, 2020
Just two months ago he jumped four age groups with a call-up to the England U21 side and has since scored once in four appearances for the Young Lions, enough to earn a senior inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s squad for November’s internationals.
After appearing in England’s win over Ireland last night, he became the third youngest player in the history of the national side behind only Theo Walcott and Wayne Rooney.
Lyon have a long history of producing leading talent from their academy system and it appears the French side have unearthed another gem in Rayan Cherki, the attacking midfielder having made an instant impression after making his senior bow last season.
After impressing at youth level the teenager was handed his opportunity and made his debut aged just 16 years and 63 days in October of last year, before becoming Lyon’s youngest ever goalscorer during a 7-0 Coupe de France thrashing of Bourg-Péronnas in January.
His true breakthrough came later that month in the same competition, however, as he starred in a thrilling 4-3 win at Nantes, scoring twice and providing a further two assists.
He became the youngest ever player to play in a European semi-final after coming on as a substitute in Lyon’s defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League’s last four, Cherki reportedly being monitored by a host of Europe’s elite.
A technical talent with quick feet and excellent vision, Cherki has made four league appearances so far this season and will hope to establish himself in the Lyon side, with hopes high the attacker can prove the perfect addition to a creative line-up including the likes of Memphis Depay and Houssem Aouar.
Karim Benzema, Corentin Tolisso and Samuel Umtiti are just some of the names to have come through Lyon’s academy before moving on to European giants, Cherki – who has described Real Madrid as his dream move – another touted for the very top.
The name of Takefusa Kubo is one which has been in the headlines for several years despite his inexperience, with the player regarded as Asian football’s brightest young talent.
Kubo previously spent four years in the famed La Masia academy system at Barcelona where he was dubbed the ‘Japanese Messi’ for his performances at youth level, only to return to Japan as one of several players released after the club were found guilty of transfer breaches relating to international youths.
After turning 18-years-old last year he was again on the radar of several leading clubs before signing for Real Madrid, moving to the Bernabeu before being sent on-loan to Mallorca to fast-track his development.
Despite the club’s relegation the Japanese starlet proved the bright spark in their season, scoring four goals and providing four assists and impressing with his neat footwork and sharp skills.
Real Madrid have chosen to send the teenager out on loan again this season and a move to Villarreal appeared the perfect platform to nurture his talents, the Yellow Submarine in continental competition and competing towards the top of the division.
Unai Emery has been reluctant to unleash the youngster thus far, however, with Kubo making just one league start, though he has thrived in the Europa League with a goal and three assists in just three games.
Real Madrid will be monitoring his selection closely with hopes high that the diminutive Kubo can emerge as a genuine star at the Bernabeu in the coming seasons.
Many of the names featured on this list are already the property of Europe’s elite clubs, though Eduardo Camavinga is a player who is likely to have world football’s superpowers scrambling for his signature in the near future.
Camavinga only turned 18 this week but has has already made a huge impact for both club and country, bursting onto the scene with Rennes as a 16-year-old before becoming France’s youngest player and goalscorer at senior level for over a century.
The midfielder is a player whose best role is yet to be defined but one who can seemingly do everything in the engine room, averaging more tackles-per-game than any other player in Ligue 1 last season.
🇫🇷 Eduardo Camavinga 🎯
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) November 10, 2020
Camavinga is also comfortable carrying the ball in possession and scored a brilliant solo goal against Montpellier last season, quickly exchanging passes with two teammates before a slaloming dribble and composed finish.
Real Madrid are reportedly huge admirers of the player and it is little surprise to see the teenager linked with the Spanish champions, Camavinga a player any leading side can confidently build their team around for the next decade and longer.
The son of two former US internationals in Claudio and Danielle Egan Reyna, it’s fair to say that football runs in the family for Borussia Dortmund prospect Giovanni Reyna.
Reyna came to prominence in the academy system of New York City before making the move to the Bundesliga last year, wasting little time in proving he deserved an opportunity at senior level.
Reyna broke the record of Christian Pulisic as the youngest American to feature in the Bundesliga when making his debut in January, before becoming the youngest goalscorer in German Cup history when scoring his first professional goal with a stunning strike against Werder Bremen.
Since then the creative midfielder has grown in both stature and confidence, making a host of cameo appearances last season before earning a starting berth under Lucien Favre during the current campaign.
The 17-year-old has started six of Dortmund’s seven league fixtures, scoring once and providing four assists, including three in a single fixture against Freiburg.
Reyna’s flawless close control and ability to ghost past challenges has seen him likened to compatriot and former Dortmund star Pulisic, though there are many who feel the youngster could eclipse the now Chelsea star as the new face of US football.
Reyna’s rapid side has seen him included in the senior national side for this month’s international break and it could be the first of many appearances for a player backed to revive his nation’s fortunes.