There are few things more exciting in football than witnessing the emergence of a new superstar and at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, a collection of raw diamonds and youngsters bursting with potential will be itching to make an impact.
The prospect of tuning in to watch these wonderkids in action is an exciting one and the World Cup has a wonderful habit of transforming lesser-known players into overnight global sensations.
We’ve decided to shine a spotlight on some of the young players expected to make a splash at the tournament in Qatar and while the names we’ve included don’t feature in any World Cup betting odds for the Golden Boot winner or Player of the Tournament just yet, we’re certain that it won’t take them long to get noticed.
Top 10 best young players in FIFA World Cup 2022
- Julian Alvarez
Julian Alvarez broke through the ranks at River Plate in his homeland before he was snapped up by Premier League giants Manchester City in the summer of 2022. Armed with a quick change of pace and a lethal finish, Alvarez is considered one of the most exciting young attackers to emerge from South America over the last decade. Alvarez has scored twice in 11 appearances for La Albiceleste.
- Dusan Vlahovic
Old-fashioned number nine Dusan Vlahovic has been terrifying defenders in Serie A since his breakout campaign with Fiorentina in 2020/21 and his performances with La Viola earned him a €70m switch to Juventus in January this year. Vlahovic is now a mainstay in Serbia’s side and he has rattled the net eight times in just 16 starts for the Eagles. Vlahovic showed his worth during Serbia’s World Cup qualification campaign with a crucial goal against an improving Republic of Ireland team in Belgrade.
- Ansu Fati
Educated at Barcelona’s famous football factory at La Masia, versatile forward Ansu Fati is comfortable in any position across the forward line and he has the quality to win matches on his own no matter where he is deployed. Fait will be 20 by the time the World Cup comes around and he has already collected four caps for Spain, netting once against Ukraine in September 2020 to become La Roja’s youngest-ever goalscorer.
- Aurelien Tchouameni
Every single big club in Europe was hot on Aurelien Tchouameni’s trail in the summer of 2022 when the tough-tackling midfielder chose to leave Monaco in France, though Real Madrid eventually won the battle for his signature and paid close to €100m for the technically gifted youngster. Tchouameni has already won 14 caps for Les Blues and he is expected to anchor their midfield in Qatar.
- Alphonso Davies
At just 21, Canadian Alphonso Davies is already a four-time Bundesliga winner with Bayern Munich and the rapid left-back has already got his hands on the coveted Champions League trophy. When he’s fit and on song, Davies can be unplayable down the left flank and his combination of pace and close control can be impossible for defenders to counter. Most of Canada’s hopes will rest on his young shoulders in Qatar.
- Rafael Leao
Rafael Leao has been thrilling Milan supporters with his dynamic performances on the wing in Serie A since he joined the club as a fresh-faced teenager from Lille back in 2019. Leao made steady progress year-on-year at San Siro and the 23-year-old was an integral part of the Milan team that won the Serie A title in 2021/22. The flanksman is expected to shine in Qatar as part of a dangerous Portugal team that ranks among the favourites to win the World Cup.
- Jude Bellingham
Trailblazing midfielder Jude Bellingham became the most-expensive 17-year-old in the history of the game when he shunned interest from teams in England to join German outfit Borussia Dortmund for £25m in July 2020. Since moving to the Bundesliga, Bellingham’s game has improved immeasurably and the 19-year-old is now one of the first names on Gareth Southgate’s England team sheet. Bellingham has already won 17 caps for the Three Lions.
- Jamal Musiala
Jamal Musiala caused quite a stir when he chose to represent Germany ahead of England, though the Three Lions’ loss was Die Mannschaft’s gain. In 2019, Musiala left Chelsea to join Bayern Munich where he became the youngest-ever player to represent the Bavarians in the Bundesliga at just 17 years and 115 days old shortly after. Musiala is now a permanent fixture in Bayern’s team and he has won 17 caps for Germany since 2021.
- Phil Foden
Phil Foden plays a starring role in one of the world’s best teams at Manchester City under demanding coach Pep Guardiola and the inventive midfielder will be one of England’s most threatening players in Qatar. Wielding an assured first touch, an eye for a clever pass and a wicked finish with his left foot, Foden has the necessary skills to drag England to victory against most opponents.
Labelled the natural successor to legendary Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta, Pedri has big shoes to fill, though the teenage Barcelona star has the confidence to match his incredible technique. Pedri has been dominating his more-senior counterparts in La Liga for several seasons now and he was awarded his first cap for Spain in March 2021. At the European Championships, Pedri became the youngest-ever player to represent his country at an international tournament and the playmaker is expected to play with distinction again in Qatar.