The 2014 World Cup is well behind us and another year is drawing to close. So let’s look ahead at five of the most talented young footballers that look primed to hit the headlines in 2015.
Julian Draxler – Schalke 04
The baby faced German winger burst onto the scene as a 16 year-old for Schalke and has grown in stature with every passing year. Draxler, who has already amassed over 100 league games, has dazzled Bundesliga defenders with his trickery and is known for a powerful shot. He is comfortable with the ball at both feet and can play anywhere behind the main striker.
He was on the verge of a big money move to Arsenal over the summer, but his German employers held firm and they are now a safe option with Betfair for a top six finish in the Bundesliga. Draxler now looks ready to have a massive year and could well be wearing red of Arsenal in 12 months’ time.
John Stones – Everton
Everton look to have unearthed another gem in the shape of cultured defender John Stones and the 20 year old has already made his England debut despite just playing half a season for his club. He has, however, shown no signs of fear on the International stage and looks destined for the top.
Stones is in the same mould as Rio Ferdinand and Jonathan Woodgate; he possesses grace and poise to match his combative style of defending. If the 20 year-old centre back continues the same trajectory in 2015 then Everton will have a fight on their hands to keep hold of him.
Julian Green – Bayern Munich
The Bayern Munich youngster has found his chances limited at club level but there is no doubting his talent. Green starred for the USA at the World Cup during the summer, but has since been farmed out on loan to Bundesliga side Hamburg. He has made just four appearances so far this season, but the pacey winger will be looking to kick on in 2015.
Pep Guardiola has high hopes for the teenager who knocked in 15 goals in 23 games for the Bayern Munich reserve side last season.
Hakan Çalhanoğlu – Bayer Leverkusen
The Bundesliga is also the home of our next talented youngster. Hakan Çalhanoğlu made the switch from Hamburg to Bayer Leverkusen in the summer for a deal worth almost 15 million Euros. The player was born in Mannheim, Germany but elected to represent Turkey from the Under 16’s onwards and has gone on to win five full caps to date.
Çalhanoğlu caught Hamburg’s attention while plying his trade in the second tier for Karlsruher, however, his breakthrough came last season when netting an incredible 11 goals for Hamburg from midfield. The 20 year-old was nominated for the 2014 Golden Boy award and it would be no surprise to see him in the top three.
Mateo Kovačić – Inter Milan
The Inter Milan midfielder may already have over 50 Serie A games under his belt and made 17 appearances for his country, but there is a nagging feeling that he has yet to live up to his potential. The 20 year-old versatile midfielder was given the number 10 shirt at Inter Milan when he joined – a signal of the high regard the Inter management hold him in – but the side have struggled to make any real impact domestically and on the European scene.
Kovačić, however, started the 2014-15 campaign on fire with a hat-trick in the Europa League play-offs and netting a couple of league goals already. So this could be the year when the former Dinamo Zagreb player finally stamps his authority on the world scene