The year 2014 is over but was once again it was dominated by Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. During the world cup, a few stars of the game came to light and a few predictable names came to the fore. James Rodriguez and Neymar took to the world cup and set the world a light, Hazard shone in the premier league and the La liga and Gareth Bale stepped in brilliantly into his role at Real Madrid. Well, 2015 is a new year and it is the turn of a couple of players to make a mark, and we came up with a list of young players who are set to step up in 2015 and become real global phenomena;
- Phillipe Coutinho [Liverpool & Brazil]
Phillipe Coutinho can easily challenge Eden Hazard for the acclaim of most exciting player in the premier league. Coutinho does a great job playing in that hole behind the strikers for Liverpool, tricky on the ball and with an eye for the pass, his movement makes him very difficult to pick up and that can be a nightmare for defenders. Over the past year, Coutinho has grown into his role in Liverpool and he doesn’t seem out of his element in the Brazil team at all. Coutinho has all the potential to be 2015’s answer to 2014’s James Rodriguez
- Jesse Rodriguez. [Real Madrid & Spain]
Hampered by injury in the past year, Jesse is set to step up. Stepping up might be difficult for the 20 year old who has to do it around Bale, James Rodrigues, Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo. The young Spaniard has however shown that he can deal with pressure and he has done so in spades. His ability to come up with the goods when most needed.
- Julian Draxler. [Shakle 04 & Germany]
Once described as a young Cristiano Ronaldo, Julian Draxler is one of the most exciting young player in the world. It is little wonder Shakle are reluctant to release the 21 year old. Draxler is yet to make his mark on the international stage but that is not owing to his inability but rather because of the abundance of talent in the attacking midfield of Germany.
- Ross Barkley [Everton & England]
Barkley is the most exciting player to come on the scene in England since a certain Everton player, Wayne Rooney. A great passer, good with the ball at his feet and unafraid of the big stage, Barkley has all the making of a future England captain. It would not be a surprise if Barkley does not end the year at Everton.
- Iker Muniain [Atletico Bilbao & Spain]
The easiest way to describe Muniain is a Cristiano Ronaldo not surrounded by the same quality of players. Pace, an eye for goal and an ability to take intelligent positions, Muniain is just a delight to watch. Often accused of being selfish, Muniain has an ability to change games single handedly but if he learns to release the ball sometimes, he might just be in the running for the 2015 Ballon D’Or.
- Jorge Resurreccion (Koke) [Atletico Madrid & Spain]
A passing ability that can be likened to that of Deco in his prime, tenacity, and an ability to dictate the pace of the game these are some of the qualities that distinguish Koke from all the young midfielders in world football today. Having already made his debut at a senior competition, the world cup, Koke is ready to step up and not just be the flag bearer of the Spanish midfield for the next decade much like Xavi has been in the past 6 years.
- Paul Pogba [Juventus & France]
He really needs no introduction, does he? If there is any midfielder on this list that is better than Koke, his name is Paul Pogba. Already a critical part of a Juventus side that won 3 seria A titles as well as the main transfer target for practically all of Europe’s heavyweights, Paul Pogba is a splitting image of Patrick Viera at his very best and Pogba has not hit his peak yet. Pogba has all the makings of Future Ballon D’Or winner. As he gets set to step into a more pivotal role in Juventus owing to Adrea Pirlo’s age, 2015 might just be the year Pogba’s name starts getting mentioned alongside Neymar, Messi, Di Maria and Ronaldo.
- David De Gea [Manchester United & Spain]
No player has won Manchester United more points in the past year than David De Gea. De Gea remained a beacon of hope as Manchester United endured a painful transition from Ferguson to Van Gaal via David Moyes. Finally able to command his area and deal with crosses into the box, De Gea has a knack for making point blank saves and his ability to save the ball with his legs also make him a tough costumer for even some of the best forwards in the world. There is a lot of pressure mounting from the press for him to get a run of games in the Spanish side and his reputation at Manchester United is already very good, 2015 is looking really good for the former Atletico Madrid shot stopper
- Emre Can [Liverpool & Turkey]
He is proud, he likes to show off and he can be very strong headed but there is no denying the shear bundle of talent that is Emre Can. At 10 million euros, Can was a bargain for Liverpool. His ability to read the game and produce moments of magic at critical points in matches would be an asset to any team. Emre Can is also something of a utility player, Liverpool have deployed him in attacking and defensive midfield positions this season as well as playing him as a right wing back and a center back and he has impressed in all four positions. With Gerrard set to depart Anfield in the summer, Can could step into a pivotal role at Liverpool this year.
- Mohammed Sallah [Chelsea & Egypt]
Chelsea’s Egyptian winger, Mohammed Sallah was once likened to Cristiano Ronaldo and his lack of playing time at Stamford Bridge has robbed the premiership of witnessing his mesmerizing ability. Currently in line for a loan move away from Chelsea, wherever Sallah goes, he looks set to light up the place with his electric pace and his keen eye for goal. If he gets a run of games in 2015, there is no limit to what Sallah can achieve.
- Raphael Varane [Real Madrid & France]
Only few of the young men on this list need further introduction and Varane is one of them. At 20, Varane has two years of active league and champions league football under his belt to add to a run to the world cup quarter finals and a club world championship trophy. He has more experience than some 26 year old internationals. A pacey tough tackler, Varane is very good at reading the game and his aerial ability is always an asset when attacking as well as when defending. Varane has also had the priviledge of playing alongside world cup winner, Sergio Ramos and hard man, Pepe. As Varane prepares for 2015 he would be looking to make more first team football and probably stake a claim to being one of the best (if not the best) defenders in the world.
- Munir El Haddadi [Barcelona & Spain]
Barcelona have been known to bring the world exciting young talent. From Fabregas to Tiago Alcantara, Iniesta to Xavi, Puyol to Messi, they all sprang from the Barcelona academy. Since Lionel Messi however, there hasn’t been a young player quite as talented and promising as Munir El Haddadi. This Spanish footballer of Moroccan descent is very exciting to watch. With a knack for cutting in from the flanks and either shooting or passing, Munir goes past defenders with the ease of a seasoned dribbler at just 19 years old. Munir is Barcelona’s promise of the future and I have a strong feeling that this young man would announce himself fully on the global stage this year.
- Luke Shaw [Manchester United & England]
He was the most sought after player at the end of last season in the premier league and a bumper deal saw him move to old Trafford. Despite an injury plagued start to life at Old Trafford, very few would deny the abundance of potential that is Luke Shaw, already and England international, Luke Shaw is comfortable going forward and defending and is generally referred to as the new Ashley Cole. If he can stay fit and get a run of games, the former Southampton man can establish himself at one of the biggest clubs in the world this year.
- Raheem Sterling [Liverpool and England]
I think anyone reading this would easily recognize this name. Pace, trickery, an eye for goal and a European golden boy award summarize Sterling. This kid has Liverpool legend written all over him. Kenny Daglish said ‘there hasn’t been a player like Sterling at Liverpool since Owen’ and he was not wrong. Sterling has built a reputation for himself in England and was named 2014’s European golden boy, an award that has previously been won by Rooney, Gotze, Muller and Lionel Messi. Need I say more? If Sterling continues to develop as he has in the past year, he might just set the whole world alight in 2015
- Harry Kane [Tottenham Hotspurs & England]
No player on this list has made more headlines in 2015 than Harry Kane. His match winning heroics against Chelsea on new year day announced him to the entire world. He playes like a young Paul Scholes and he is just 19. Yet to make his England debut, Kane has already become an integral part of the Tottenham set up and his ability to find the back of the net at crucial times is also another thing that just endears him to football fans in England. Along with Barkley, Shaw and Sterling, Kane represents a bright future for English football. All he needs to do is to continue 2015 the way he started it.
Watch out for these men in 2015