The Best Talents at U20 World Cup

05/22/2023

The U20 World Cup is here, and with it are some of the best youth prospects in soccer. Here are twelve players on the cusp of greatness.

Yaser Asprilla – Colombia

Asprilla is one of few players at the tournament to have made a full debut for an elite national team, with two games already played for Colombia. The midfielder was a mainstay in Watford's push for a promotion to the Premier League. Do not be surprised to see one of the newly promoted/mid-table Premier League sides sign Asprilla and make use of his dynamic dribbling and athletic qualities.


Cesare Casadei – Italy

The first of a few Chelsea players on this list as part of Boehly's attempt to play Football Manager in real life, Casadei is a modern do-it-all midfielder who can play every role from the 10 to a box-to-box specimen. Interestingly, Chelsea signed the Italian U20 Captain before he had even played a professional game, and after that, his debut came with Reading on loan. But that half year in the Championship will have done plenty for his confidence and maturity as he looks to lead Italy to a potential first U20 championship.


Fabricio Diaz – Uruguay

Barcelona has coveted Diaz for months as he collected over 100 professional games for Liverpool Montevideo, making the Uruguayan Premier League's team of the year last season. With Busquets leaving, Diaz could come in with the leadership qualities and experience paired with youth that Xavi and the right coaching staff could mold into a world-beater.


Samuel Edozie – England

Edozie has earned a reputation as an exciting dribbler, but at 20 years old, he's creeping into the age where that no longer counts for much, as there needs to be an end product to his excitement. Last season with Southampton had its exciting moments, but ultimately the team got relegated, throwing Edozie's career into more uncertainty. A dominant performance here could expand Edozie's options.


Abbosbek Fayzullaev – Uzbekistan

To qualify for the World Cup, Uzbekistan won their first-ever Asian U20 title, and Fayzullaev was named best player. Watching the Uzbek Young Player of the Year play gives you flashbacks of young Eden Hazard at Lille. Despite his slight frame, Fayzullaev's dribbling prowess and low center of gravity make him difficult to get off the ball.


Sebastian Kosa – Slovakia

Still 19 years old, Kosa, a tall, physical center-back, has already won two domestic cups, been entrenched in a relegation battle, played alongside the legendary Martin Skrtel, and helped Slovakia qualify for their first U20 World Cup in eight tries dating back to 2003. Kosa could leave Slovakia for another European club soon as young center-backs with 70+ professional games played are hard to find, and an outstanding performance at the tournament will only help that.


Naoki Kumata – Japan

One of the more unknown players on this list, Kumata, still 18, has elite potential as a goal scorer with elite instincts and technical ability. Outside the 18, headers, first-time finish, and composure in a crowded box, Kumata can score with variety, headlined by five goals in five games at the Asian U20 Cup to lead all players.


Kendry Paez – Ecuador

Freshly 16 years old, Paez will celebrate his 18th birthday in 2025 by joining Chelsea from the Ecuadorian club, Independiente del Valle, after a 20 million deal was agreed when he was still 15 years old. Paez shines best with the ball at his feet, drawing some lofty comparisons to Lionel Messi. He may never come close to those standards, but Paez has all the makings of an elite youth prospect.


Maximo Perrone – Argentina

Thirty-three professional games were all Manchester City needed to see to sign Perrone straight from Argentina in January. He's only made two appearances since, but the City coaching staff rates him highly, and his development under Guardiola and as an understudy to Rodri could yield incredible returns.


Andrey Santos – Brazil

The latest in a seemingly endless streak of elite Brazilian prospects, Santos shined brightest at the U20 South American championship, leading Brazil to the win as top scorer despite playing exclusively from center midfield. There is nothing Santos can't do in a box-to-box mold, leading to a Chelsea signing in January.


Kang Seong-jin - South Korea

Take a look at this goal Seong-jin scored at the Asian U20 Championships, and you'll understand why many consider him to be one of the best prospects South Korea has ever produced. But promise is one thing- living up to expectations is another. A big tournament here would go a long way in meeting lofty expectations for the FC Seoul forward.


Gaga Slonina - United States

Considered one of the best goalkeeping prospects in the World, Slonina is firmly among the best prospects at the tournament. After all, he did win the goalkeeping job for the Chicago Fire at just 17 years old, then signed for Chelsea for ten+ million months later. Do not be surprised to see the U.S. team make a deeper run than expected, thanks to his performances.


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