Picking a 2013 World Next Generation XI

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterFebruary 5, 2013

Picking a 2013 World Next Generation XI

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    The debate about who should make the current world XI is has gone on long enough.

    Which crop of youngsters should we be looking out for? Who can break up this team of stars and take the world by storm?

    There's only one prerequisite for the list: It's aged 20 and under. No Neymar, no Jack Wilshere, but plenty of Mario Gotze and Erik Lamela.

GK—Marc-Andre Ter Stegen

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    World football is officially spoilt for choice when it comes to goalkeeping prospects.

    They're usually a dime a dozen, but we have Jack Butland, Maxym Koval, Thibaut Courtois, Bernd Leno, Nicola Leali and more coming through.

    Marc-Andre ter Stegen is the pick of the bunch though, and although he's suffered a little without Dante anchoring the Borussia Moenchengladbach defence, the world-class potential is still abundantly clear.

RB—Mattia De Sciglio

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    AC Milan were happy for Ignazio Abate to leave in January because they have this kid—the Rossoneri right-back for the next 10 years.

    Mattia De Sciglio is quick, versatile and committed to the case. He's shown ability to play left-back, right-back and on the wing, while still remaining more defensively solid than Massimiliano Allegri's other options.

CB—Kurt Zouma

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    Kurt Zouma the man child, just 18 years of age, has already made over 25 appearances for Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1 and scored two goals.

    He is their prized possession that the big clubs desperately want, so the one-year contract extension he's signed is good news for Les Verts fans.

    Does Zouma have a chance of starring at the 2014 World Cup?

CB—Raphael Varane

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    It was widely viewed that Raphael Varane, signed for €10 million from RC Lens in 2011, was a great deal with some rare foresight shown by the Real Madrid front office.

    His equalising goal against Barcelona last month affirmed his talent on the world stage, and he's become far more than just a promising backup to Sergio Ramos and Pepe.

    We could well see a defensive conundrum on Jose Mourinho's hands soon enough.

LB—David Alaba

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    Remember when David Alaba was an up-and-coming central midfield wizard? Nope, he doesn't either.

    The Austrian is now so ingrained into the Bayern Munich machine as a left-back, and he's looking happier and happier every week. He doesn't get the chance to show off his impressive passing range too often, but it eases Jupp Heynckes' positional concerns all over the pitch.

CM—Emre Can

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    Bayern Munich's relentless pursuit of central midfielders to ease them through Bastian Schweinsteiger's latter years is confusing.

    They have Emre Can, who can play at centre-back too if needed, ready and waiting for his first glimpses of first-team action.

    He's got everything he needs to star for die Bayern and he seems to be a real Pep Guardiola player.

CM—Paul Pogba

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    The one that got away, and not many do escape the clutches of Sir Alex Ferguson.

    Paul Pogba is flying in Serie A with Juventus, filling in anywhere he's needed in an ever changing midfield under Antonio Conte and catching the eye with some belters.

    He's got the physical presence, height, technical skill and agility to reach the very top echelons of the game.

LW—Viktor Fischer

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    Everytime I turn Ajax's games on, Viktor Fischer scores.

    He's only 18 years of age, and Frank de Boer did incredibly well to measure his use of the Danish prospect as long as he could, but now it seems he's ready to play and learn on the job.

    Natural ability, great speed and an eye for goal.

AMC—Mario Gotze

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    Christian Eriksen is hugely unlucky to miss out here, but no one can deny the furious talents of Mario Gotze a place on this team.

    The Borussia Dortmund starlet contributes heavily to the quick, sharp attack Juergen Klopp has formed at the Westfalen Stadion, while he's also done well to recover from a serious injury in 2012.

RW—Erik Lamela

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    Erik Lamela is a prodigy.

    His potential is unlimited (we don't sincerely mean that very often) and Zdenek Zeman's creative attacking philosophies allowed him to prosper at AS Roma from an early age.

    The Argentine can play through the middle, off either wing or as a false-nine. He's the creative flank on this team, whereas Viktor Fischer is the prolific side.


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    I was going to choose Son Heung-Min here, but we were then in danger of doing a bit of a Chelsea—everyone's involved in the buildup play, no one's in the box to score the goals.

    So instead, I've picked poacher extraordinaire and no-nonsense finisher Ademilson, who stars for Sao Paulo in the Brasileiro Serie A league at the moment.