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FutureStarrFuture Football Stars 2017
Do you want to develop Australia’s next great football superstar? The Future Football Stars of 2017 are just completing their final team training session. Let’s find out what skills they will take away to their respective teams!
Alexander Isak made his senior debut in April, aged 16. He is now 17 but it still seems as if he has been around for some time. Partly this is because the way of the football world, with its insatiable desire for gossip and the next big thing, is more keen than ever to hype any youngster who shows promise. But it is also because, according to just about everyone who has seen him, this kid is special. “He was considered a top prospect but it was impossible to predict this kind of success,” Bjorn Wesstrom, the sporting director of his current club, AIK, told ESPN in November. “He is a great talent. He has great potential and I absolutely believe he will go far,” said Chinedu Obasi, another forward at AIK. “Everyone who worked with Alexander Isak during adolescence has known that we will be sitting there one day and see him deciding a derby,” said Peter Wennberg, AIK’s assistant coach, after he scored against their Stockholm rivals, Djurgarden. What stands out is an ability to score many different types of goal, brilliant close control and a clearness in thinking. All of that suggests the hype might just be right – and it is no surprise Real Madrid are rumoured to be interested. Nick Miller
The Peterborough chairman, Darragh MacAnthony, is rarely backwards in coming forward and was frank as ever when asked about the potential of his club’s young midfielder. “All the way to a top-four club and then further to [a] European top club honestly,” MacAnthony said and, while it is early to make bold predictions about a player who turned 18 on 30 November, it is not hard to understand his thinking. Lopes, who was born in Lisbon but joined Peterborough’s academy at 14 after playing junior football in the area, looks a remarkable talent and this season has looked an old head on young shoulders for Grant McCann’s vibrant young League One side. Tottenham are among those linked and they would be getting someone who could one day be the complete package: Lopes is exceptional at winning the ball, tackling with a cleanness that reminds one of the art’s validity, and carries it upfield slickly, posing a threat further forward too. His sole goal this season, a fierce drive in an EFL Cup tie against Swansea after he had broken up an opposition attack, proved the point – and it will not be his last such contribution. NA (Source: www.theguardian.com)
NOW: After helping Monaco to the Ligue 1 title and the Champions League semi-finals in 2017, Mbappe joined Paris Saint-Germain on an initial loan deal before becoming the second-most expensive player of all time when signing for the French giants for €180m (£166m/$214m). Already among the top 10 goalscorers in PSG history and a scorer in France's World Cup final victory over Croatia in 2018, he now seems set to challenge for the Ballon d'Or on a yearly basis.
Chelsea fans might be forgiven for finding it difficult to remember who of their loan contingent is doing exactly what but the following prompt could help: Baker is the one producing dominant, decisive performances in Vitesse Arnhem’s midfield on a near-weekly basis and the one who, after a relatively slow start to his professional career, looks as if he may spare a certain former manager some opprobrium. “If Baker, [Izzy] Brown and [Dominic] Solanke are not national team players in a few years, I should blame myself,” José Mourinho said in 2014. Baker, the oldest of the three, has scored some spectacular goals in his second season with the Dutch club and believes he can go the same way as Nathaniel Chalobah, who had seemed in danger of becoming a serial loanee with no clear career path but has played a part in Chelsea’s first-team under Antonio Conte this season. Whether or not things go that well, a future somewhere in the Premier League seems certain. NA (Source: www.theguardian.com)