Ghana's No. 1

Sancho, De Ligt, Mount... Did 2018 best wonderkids go on to fulfil potential?

Published on: 30 March 2020

Some of world football's most prominent household names were among those rewarded for their performances as teenagers, though others have not lived up the potential they showed as youngsters.

Check out where the stars of 2018...

Ethan Ampadu

THEN: Made his debut at club and international level, and was being touted as the 'new David Luiz'.

NOW: Still on Chelsea's books but is presently enduring a difficult season-long loan at RB Leipzig.

Jann-Fiete Arp

THEN: The first player born in the 2000s to both play and score in the Bundesliga.

NOW: Earned a move to Bayern Munich, has yet to feature in the first team.

Rhian Brewster

THEN: Fired England to victory at the 2017 Under-17 World Cup.

NOW: Remains regarded as one of Liverpool's most promising young players.

Tahith Chong

THEN: One of the most exciting young players at Carrington.

NOW: Signed a new contract to stay at Old Trafford in March 2020.

Diogo Dalot

THEN: One of the stars of Portugal’s Under-17 European Championship triumph in 2016.

NOW: Snapped up by Manchester United in the summer of 2018 for £19m but the 20-year-old rarely starts in the Premier League.

Brahim Diaz

THEN: Considered by Pep Guardiola as possible replacement for the ageing David Silva.

NOW: Departed for the Bernabeu in January 2019, finding minutes as difficult to come by at Real.

Angel Gomes

THEN: One of the heroes of England's triumph at the 2017 Under-17 World Cup.

NOW: Has yet to sign a new contract and is now being linked with Barcelona.

Kai Havertz

THEN: Described as a cross between Mesut Ozil and Michael Ballack.

NOW: The youngest player ever to rack up 100 Bundesliga appearances, with the likes of Barcelona, Manchester United and Bayern Munich now said to have joined Liverpool in the race.

Alexander Isak

THEN: Turn down Real Madrid to join Borussia Dortmund from AIK in 2017.

NOW: Brilliant double in a Copa del Rey win over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu has been the highlight of a fine debut season so far.

Moise Kean

THEN: Starting to find his feet at relegation-threatened Verona.

NOW: Surprisingly sold to Everton last summer for £23m, now being linked with a swift return to his homeland.

Takefusa Kubo

THEN: Having been forced to leave Barcelona after the Catalan club were found to have breached transfer regulations regarding the movement of Under-18s.

NOW: Joined Real Madrid last summer and is now enjoying a productive spell on loan at Mallorca.

Rafael Leao

THEN: Was being described as better than Cristiano Ronaldo at the same age.

NOW: Lining out regularly for AC Milan, who paid €23m last August after an impressive first year in France.

Mason Mount

THEN: Flourishing during a season-long stay at the Londoner's feeder club Vitesse, showcasing the vision and creativity.

NOW: Now a regular at Stamford Bridge and a fully fledged England international.

Reiss Nelson

THEN: Already broken into Arsene Wenger's first-team squad.

NOW: Remains one of the Gunners' great hopes for the future.

Eddie Nketiah

THEN: Was being tipped to go on and achieve great things at Arsenal by none other than Thierry Henry.

NOW: Still on track to become a hometown hero at the Emirates.

Abel Ruiz

THEN: Having already become his country's all-time record goalscorer at Under-17 level.

NOW: Ruiz made his Barca debut in a Liga clash against Getafe last May but he was allowed to join Braga in January on loan.

Jadon Sancho

THEN: Already impressing in Borussia Dortmund's first team.

NOW: Breaking Bundesliga records on a regular basis and is expected to be one of the stars of Euro 2020.

Ryan Sessegnon

THEN: The 'new Gareth Bale' was proving far too much to handle for Championship defences.

NOW: Still did enough to earn himself a £25m move to Tottenham.

Ferran Torres

THEN: Alerting Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona to the 18-year-old's many talents.

NOW: Becoming Valencia's youngest ever Champions League goalscorer and the youngest player ever to make 50 Liga appearances for the club.

Ben Woodburn

THEN: Liverpool's youngest ever goalscorer was finding first-team opportunities.

NOW: Remains unclear what the future holds for the 20-year-old.

Dan-Axel Zagadou

THEN: Dortmund were still patting themselves on the back after beating a host of top European clubs to the signing of the PSG youth team star.

NOW: In and out of the Dortmund starting line-up over the past few years but is now playing regularly at the heart of the defence.

Phil Foden

THEN: Lifted the Golden Ball at the end of England's victorious 2017 Under-17 World Cup campaign.

NOW: Still only 19 and is seen as a possible replacement for David Silva, who will leave City in the summer.

Matthijs de Ligt

THEN: Had already been capped at senior level by Netherlands and was being persistently linked with Barcelona.

NOW: De Ligt was expected to sign for Barca last summer but instead ended up joining Juventus.

Vinicius Junior

THEN: The Brazilian sensation had already been signed by Real Madrid for a whopping €45m.

NOW: The winger's spectacular progress was checked by an injury last season but he is now back on track under Zinedine Zidane.

Justin Kluivert

THEN: Being linked with the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona even though he was still only 18.

NOW: Endured a difficult first season in Serie A and has not featured for Netherlands since 2018.


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