In an era where players seem to be emerging on the scene at a younger age every year, we take a look at 10 of the most exciting youngsters around at the moment who are under 24.
1. We kick off with none other than Neymar. The speedy forward plays in the Brazilian League with Santos and he terrifies other defenses with his electrifying pace and sublime skill. At the age of just 20 there is no doubt that big things are sure to happen for him in the future especially when he has the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid fighting for his signature. He has already broken into the Brazilian National team with 9 goals in 18 games for them, which is impressive considering his age. Pélé described him as an 'excellent player' and he is proving him right as he continues to hit the back of the net with 41 goals in 86 games for Santos. He even won the FIFA Puskás award for the best goal in 2011. As he continues to progress and teams prepare to try and lure him the only question is can he do it in a better league? Only time will tell!
2. Next is a player who has only recently secured a transfer to Chelsea from Lille, Eden Hazard. The 21 year old joined the London club for a fee rumoured to be around £32m and caught headlines by leaving the drama until late. He didn't reveal who he would be joining until May when he tweeted "I'm signing for the champion's league winner". He is an attacking midfielder also used on the wings, with immense speed and quick feet. He possesses great technical ability and is an exciting player to watch. We all look forward to seeing what he can do in the Premier League.
3. Just turned 20 this month is Mario Gotze of Germany and Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga. He is an attacking midfielder who can also play wide. Quick off the mark and a wizard when on the ball he makes things happen. He has been described as "One of the best talents" Germany have ever had and already has 15 caps under his belt for the national side. Able to get his name on the scoresheet every so often, the already double league winner is an exciting talent for the future, watch this space.
4. Jack Wilshere will be a name most have heard of, the Arsenal playmaker is a tough tackling central midfielder who has excellent vision. He has been described by Arsene Wenger as a box-to-box midfielder and has proven this so far with his endless energy and tireless performances. Only 20 years old he has already won PFA young player of the year and was voted Arsenal's player of the season in his first full campaign. Has been hit by injury recently but will definitely come back stronger and more determined.
5. Phil Jones is perhaps one of the most versatile players around. He can play centre midfield, centre back or right back. Not the quickest but he makes up for it in strength, difficult to push off the ball and flying into crunching tackles all over the pitch he is a good prospect. Intelligent with the ball he is calm and composed even though he is only 20. A good signing for Manchester United and a future star for England for sure.
6. Mario Balotelli has been a familiar name in the headlines, at the age of 21 he has much to learn but also talent to offer. His 2 goal show against Germany was a clear indication of what he is capable of producing. Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini and Italian coach Cesare Prandelli have both taken the young striker under their wing, desperately trying to nurture his talent because both know that if he gets it right he is almost unplayable. He is a strong and fast striker who can strike a ball well and challenge competitively in the air too. He often suffers to due his poor attitude and has already received 4 red cards in his short time at Manchester City but if he can get his act together and maintain his discipline then he is a threat to any team he plays.
7. One of the youngest talents around is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He recently made his tournament debut for England and showed flashes of talent. Known as 'The Ox' he shows this with his powerful running and quick feet. He loves to take people on and has defenders worrying when he runs at them. He has already become the youngest English goalscorer in the UEFA Champions League and has many big things ahead of him. Definitely one to watch!
8. Romelu Lukaku is another of Chelsea's signings, the Belgian forward has been relatively unused in his time at Stamford Bridge but has claimed this was due to a poor relationship with previous manager Andre Villas Boas. He is big a powerful and has been dubbed 'The New Drogba' due to the similarities between their playing style, both have a cracking shot and are good in the air. He hasn't had much time to prove himself so far but from what he has shown so far he has loads of talent. Linked with a loan move to a Premiership team so he gain experience, when this powerhouse is unleashed he will be raring to go after waiting so long for his chance. He has shown lots of promise and could be the man who can replace Drogba eventually at Stamford Bridge.
9. Mesut Ozil has already emerged as one of the best playmakers in the world so it is very easy to forget that he is still only 23! The classy German secured a move to Real Madrid after a successful World Cup and has recently impressed even more at EURO 2012. He has an eye for a pass and incredible ball control making it difficult for opponents to dispossess him when he has the ball. A magician on the ball he makes his team tick whether it be Real Madrid or Germany, loves to have the ball at his feet with his immense technical ability. Calm on the ball he is never rushed, playing at Real Madrid has given him the chance to learn from players like Xabi Alonso. Although he is already a huge talent, at the age of 23 he will get even better and it's frightening to think what the result of that will be!
10. Finishing off our list is Christian Eriksen who is a young Danish attacking midfielder who represents Ajax in the Eredevisie. He was the youngest player at the 2010 World Cup and was named Danish footballer of the year in 2011. He widely impressed in February last year when he was name Man of the Match in an international match against England, taking plaudits from Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand. Although he didn't have a great Euro 2012 he still has much learn and will only get better he loves to take people on and create moves for his team.
Please leave a comment if you feel I left out any young stars or if you want to have your say.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!