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5 Gems unearthed at Russia 2018 this far

Wednesday 4th July 2018

Proponents of young footballing talent keep their eyes peeled for the next big thing in football during every World Cup. Seventeen-year-old Pele set the precedent in 1958.

Don’t worry, I wasn’t born then. But I was well on my way to becoming a football freak when a 20-year-old American named Landon Donovan carried his country on his back to the quarterfinal at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea.

Four years later, Germany threatened to go all the way on home soil. They were buoyed by an explosive youngster from FC Koln named Lukas Podolski. At the World Cup in South Africa, Thomas Muller tattooed his name on our minds. Muller scored five to become joint top-scorer at just 21.

Christian Eriksen was the youngest player at that tournament. He needs no introduction today.

James Rodriguez blew everyone away in Brazil 2014. With six goals, he won the Golden Boot playing for a country that couldn’t get past the quarterfinals. Paul Pogba introduced himself, too.

Can you see the pattern? Every World Cup turns over another unpolished gem. The 2018 edition in Russia is barely into the quarterfinals but the hidden stars are already being spotted.

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Kingsley Ukpai

Kingsley is a football aficionado who craves to read, watch, play and write about the greatest team sport ever known to man. If you're talking football he'll be keen to listen to what you have to say. Loves to play Fantasy Football too.


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