Football

Twenty 20-year-olds set to impress in 2020 (Part III)

The third installment (of four) as we look ahead and single out twenty talented 20-year-olds that we feel will make their mark on the game in the 2020s.

Twenty 20-year-olds set to impress in 2020 (Part III)

Our countdown continues with part three in our four part series as we take a look at twenty exciting prospects from around the world, with each player being 20 years-old or celebrating their twentieth birthday during 2020. All, we feel are solid candidates to stake a future place in the global footballing elite.

Part III (Players 10 through to 6)

10) Samuel Chukwueze (20) Nigeria/Villarreal (Spain)

Citing former Nigerian International Jay Jay Okocha as an inspiration and influence, Chukwueze moved to Villarreal in 2017 and embarked on a career in the game, initially against the request of his parents. The striker initially played for Villarreal’s ‘B’ team in the Spanish 2B in 2018 and was given a first team squad number for the 2018/19 campaign making his first team debut at home as the ‘Yellow Submarine’ faced Scottish giants Glasgow Rangers in the Europa League.

Just two months later, the forward made his international debut for the Nigeria Super Eagles, playing 45 minutes in a 0-0 draw with Uganda.

In a recent UEFA.com ’50 for the future' study, the player was described as a “precocious winger with European experience”.

Samuel Chukwueze of Villarreal during the La Liga Santander match between Villarreal and Getafe at Estadio de la Ceramica on December 21, 2019 in Vila-real, Spain

9) Moussa Diaby (20) France/Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)

A native of the French capital, Diaby initially played with local side Esperance Paris before joining the Paris Saint-Germain youth set-up. The tricky winger played with the PSG B side before being sent to Italian side Crotone on loan. The player failed to adapt to life in the Italian league and moved back to Paris where he made 34 appearances across all competitions last season for Thomas Tuchel's side, scoring four times.

In June 2019 the France U-20 forward completed a switch to Germany, moving to Bayer Leverkusen for a reported fee of €15 million where the Frenchman has become a regular in the Bundesliga and Champions League games for the German side. The 20-year-old has been capped at U-18 through to U-21 levels for the French national side.

Moussa Diaby

8) Kai Havertz (20) Germany/Bayer Leverkusen

Described as: ‘technically gifted, two-footed midfielder comfortable with the ball on either foot and adept with his head’, Kai Havertz is something of a record breaker in the German Bundesliga.

Making his debut for Bayer Leverkusen in 2016, Havertz became the club's youngest ever debutante in the Bundesliga and later became their youngest ever goalscorer for the club when he scored his first goal the following year against Wolfsburg as part of a 3-3 draw.

His statistics for the Bundesliga club for the 2018/19 season are impressive with the midfielder bagging 20 goals in 42 games in all competitions for ‘Die Werkself’.

A full International call-up from Joachim Low was a matter of time as Havertz made his full debut against Peru and became the first player born in 1999 to represent ‘Die Mannscahft’.

The Aachen born player currently holds a market value of 90 million euro and has been linked with the likes of Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.

Kai Havertz

7) Jadon Sancho (19) England/Borussia Dortmund (Germany)

After joining Watford at the age of seven, Sancho spent seven years with The Hornets before joining Manchester City as part of the Elite Player Performance Plan in 2015.

After a contract renewal dispute with the Premier League side, the winger made the move to Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund and became the first English player to pull on the famous yellow and black shirt making his top flight debut in October 2017 as BVB faced Eintracht Frankfurt. The English player has been a success with the German side. “Jadon's story is unusual for an English player," said England manager Gareth Southgate of his decision to blood Sancho. "He's been brave enough to go abroad. He's played twice in the Champions League and excelled from the bench in the Bundesliga.”

Sancho’s explosion has seen the player secure 11 full international England caps making his debut in Croatia in the ‘behind closed doors’ UEFA Nations League qualifier.

“His acceleration is brutal, he can do a lot of damage with his quick changes of direction,” said Maximilian Philipp, Sancho's Dortmund former teammate.

firo: 20.12.2019, football, 1.Bundesliga, season 2019/2020, TSG Hoffenheim - BVB, Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Jadon SANCHO, BVB left versus SKOV

6) Alexander Isak (20) Sweden/Real Sociedad (Spain) 

The 20-year-old Swede has featured in all 18 of Real Sociedad's league games this season (many from the bench) and has adapted well to life in LaLiga after his move from Dortmund last summer.

After breaking through at his local club AIK Solna, Isak was snapped up by Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund in 2017 and in the process became one of the most Allsvenskan players despite the full fee never being disclosed. Changes of manager and a failure to adapt in the German game saw the Bundesliga side move the Swede out to Willem II in the Netherlands for the 2018-19 season on loan where he displayed the promise that flourished in Sweden. 

Scouts from the Basque club were impressed enough to spend over six million euro on bringing the striker to LaLiga where, along with the likes of Odeggard and Oyazarbal they have contributed in seeing Imanol's side one of the revelations of the current campaign.     

The striker has played for the Sweden national side on 12 occasions finding the net on four occasions in the yellow shirt.  

Isak of Real Sociedad celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Liga match between Real Sociedad and FC Barcelona

Tomorrow's final instalment will include players ranked 5-1.