- Top talent and legendary lineage among prospects at U-20 World Cup
- Many teams feature players who have won senior caps
- We spotlight ten starlets primed to shine at Poland 2019 and beyond
From Javier Saviola to Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero, the FIFA U-20 World Cup has long been a showcase for Argentina’s budding stars. Perez was paramount in central defence as Argentina’s captain during their second-place finish at the South American U-20 Championship. He caught the eye of Atletico Madrid, who signed the 18-year-old in February 2019.
Majecki won the starting job with Polish giants Legia Warsaw in October 2018 and didn't look back. The 19-year-old kept seven clean sheets and allowed only 12 goals in 14 league appearances. He will anchor the hosts at Poland 2019.
Loaned to Celtic by Paris Saint-Germain at the beginning of the year, the 19-year-old became a super-sub for the Scottish Premiership winners, scoring three times and adding an assist in 11 league appearances. He is also the son of 1995 FIFA World Player of the Year George Weah.
Zagadou will turn 20 years old during Poland 2019, and the fearless centre-back already cuts an imposing figure at 6ft 5ins (1.96m). Acquired by Borussia Dortmund from Paris Saint-Germain in 2017, Zagadou made 17 appearances and scored twice in the 2018/19 Bundesliga. He has represented France at every youth level from the U-16s.
Born in Manchester, Dele-Bashiru represented England's U-16s but will be pulling the strings for the Flying Eagles at Poland 2019. He earned his first appearance for Manchester City during a league cup match against Leicester City in 2017.
He’s only 18 years old, but the gifted attacking midfielder has already won four caps for Mexico's senior team. Lainez joined Spain’s Real Betis in January 2019 and made 16 appearances for the club this past season. He played every minute of Mexico’s four matches at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, and figures to be the key man in their attack at Poland 2019.
Midfielder, Korea Republic
Valencia swooped in for Lee early, as the Incheon-born attacking midfielder joined the Spanish side’s youth set-up in 2011. His maturation at the club culminated with his senior debut in January 2019. For country, Lee received his first senior call-up in March 2019.
Ecuador won their first-ever South American U-20 Championship in 2019, and the talent of Ramirez was a sizeable contributing factor. He kept five clean sheets in the tournament, which included a 298-minute streak without conceding to close it out. According to head coach Jorge Celico, “He may become of one the greatest in Ecuador’s history.”
Midfielder, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s No10 burst onto the scene in 2018 – he was recognised as player of the tournament at the AFC U-19 Asia Cup and earned similar acclaim competing for Al Shabab in the Saudi top flight this past season. Expect him to be the catalyst for Saudi Arabia’s attack in Poland.
The 6ft 3ins (1.91m) 18-year-old powered his country through the UEFA U-19 European Championship qualifiers, netting a hat-trick against Scotland to help Norway top their group and eventually become the final qualifiers from Europe for Poland 2019. He recently completed a moved to Red Bull Salzburg.