When will a Tanzanian play in Europe’s Big-5 leagues?

No Tanzanian has ever played in Europe’s top five leagues. The East African nation has more Olympic medals, two, than footballers who have played in Europe’s Big-5, zero. But that could be about to change. Mbwana Samatta, star striker of the Tanzania national team, joined KRC Genk in January and is doing very well –…

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Marlos Moreno is not (Rafael) Scheidt

When Tim Vickery, expatriate South American soccer pundit extraordinaire, tips a young player for success it is usually worth paying attention. Listeners to the BBC’s fantastic World Football Phone-in will know that, despite the occasional ‘Rafael Scheidt moment’ (*full description below), he is generally an excellent judge of talent. Vickery knows his stuff. So when…

tony pulis turning west brom wunderkind

Tony Pulis is a surprising sugar daddy

Tony Pulis has suddenly become the Premier League’s sugar daddy. Five months after making Jonathan Leko the first 1999 born player he selected Kane Wilson, date of birth March 11, 2000, on the bench against Crystal Palace on the first day of the new season. If this continues his reputation for not trusting youth will…

kylian mbappe believe the hype monaco real madrid france zidane thierry henry

Kylian Mbappe is living up to the hype

Football is not short of wonderkids. Young players are chucked on the hype wagon at the earliest show of promise. They are mercilessly labelled the next Maradona or Messi by all sorts of immoral propaganda merchants (not this site of course . . . ). This is neither fair nor beneficial to a player’s development but it…

Eddie Howe in wonderkid mode

Bournemouth go 100% wonderkid

Eddie Howe is in wonderkid mode.   Bournemouth have signed five players this transfer window with an average age of just 20. All five meet our wonderkid criteria. Jordon Ibe, Nathan Ake, Lewis Cook, Emerson Hyndman and Lys Mousset have strong or burgeoning reputations and their recruitment represents a significant statement of intent for Bournemouth…

Soccerex 20 Under 21

The Soccerex 20 Under 21

Anthony Martial is the world’s most valuable footballer under the age of 21 according to new research. The 2016 Soccerex 20 Under 21 index released by Prime Time Sport (PTS) places Manchester United’s France forward ahead of some very prominent young players. Wunderkinder Leroy Sane, Renato Sanches, Dele Alli and Kingsley Coman complete the top…

rashford januzaj promoting youth talent manchester united

What happens if you promote wonderkids too soon?

When is the right time to promote a young player to a more senior team? It is a question coaches cannot ignore. Keep a player within their comfort zone for too long and you risk slowing development or regression. Promote them too soon and you can damage the flow, scarring or scaring the player as…

Kingsley Coman France Bayern Munich PSG transfer wonderkid

Coman is King of the wonderkid transfer market

What is Kingsley Coman’s secret? His ability is well known. The France forward is the best 19-year-old playing in the world right now. He has played for Paris Saint Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich before his twentieth birthday. But it is hardly unusual for a 21st century wonderkids to have done the rounds of Europe’s…

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The youngest and shortest Copa America keeper: Wuilker Farinez

Wuilker Farinez had only been a goalkeeper for four years when he made his full international debut for Venezuela.   He is 18. The friendly with Panama on May 25, 2016 was Farinez first official international appearance.  He was in the Venezuela squad for the 2015 Copa America and is the youngest goalkeeper at the Copa America…

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Youth at the heart of van Gaal’s United legacy

Goodbye then Louis van Gaal, ex-Manchester United manager. Your passing will be celebrated more than it is mourned. The fans hated your suffocating, defensive football. While the players were an irate email away from mutiny. An FA Cup and a fifth place finish after spending £250 million is not nearly enough. But when the Dutchman’s…

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