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Benfica slideshow

Soccer Football - UEFA Champions League - Benfica news conference

Soccer Football - UEFA Champions League - Benfica news conference - VEB Arena, Moscow, Russia - November 21, 2017. Benfica's Ljubomir Fejsa attends a news conference ahead of the match against CSKA Moscow. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Soccer Football - UEFA Champions League - Benfica news conference

Soccer Football - UEFA Champions League - Benfica news conference - VEB Arena, Moscow, Russia - November 21, 2017. Benfica's coach Rui Vitoria attends a news conference ahead of the match against CSKA Moscow. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Soccer Football - UEFA Champions League - Benfica news conference

Soccer Football - UEFA Champions League - Benfica news conference - VEB Arena, Moscow, Russia - November 21, 2017. Benfica's coach Rui Vitoria attends a news conference ahead of the match against CSKA Moscow. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Soccer Football - UEFA Champions League - Benfica news conference

Soccer Football - UEFA Champions League - Benfica news conference - VEB Arena, Moscow, Russia - November 21, 2017. Benfica's coach Rui Vitoria attends a news conference ahead of the match against CSKA Moscow. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Soccer Football - UEFA Champions League - Benfica training

Soccer Football - UEFA Champions League - Benfica training - VEB Arena, Moscow, Russia - November 21, 2017. Benfica's players react while training ahead of the match against CSKA Moscow. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Soccer Football - UEFA Champions League - CSKA Moscow news conference

Soccer Football - UEFA Champions League - CSKA Moscow news conference - VEB Arena, Moscow, Russia - November 21, 2017. CSKA Moscow's coach Viktor Goncharenko attends a news conference ahead of the match against Benfica. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Soccer Football - UEFA Champions League - CSKA Moscow news conference

Soccer Football - UEFA Champions League - CSKA Moscow news conference - VEB Arena, Moscow, Russia - November 21, 2017. CSKA Moscow's Vitinho attends a news conference ahead of the match against Benfica. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Lanus Breaks New Ground to Reach Copa Libertadores Final Stage vs. Gremio

SAO PAULO (AP) – It's Argentina vs. Brazil in the final of the Copa Libertadores, but with clubs of very different dimensions.

Lanus will be playing its first Libertadores final, a giant step for the modest club from the Buenos Aires suburbs.

Gremio is from Brazil's deep south, obsessed with the Copa Libertadores, and whose culture is more of Uruguayan will power than Brazilian flair. It won it twice, the last in 1995.

''It doesn't matter that this is Lanus' first final and Gremio's fifth,'' Gremio coach Renato Portaluppi, universally known as Renato Gaucho, said before the first leg on Wednesday in Porto Alegre, Brazil. ''We all have the same chances.''

The second leg is on Nov. 29 in Buenos Aires.

Lanus, which eliminated River Plate in the semifinals, has deep roots in the Italian and Spanish immigration to Argentina a century ago.

Lanus president Nicolas Russo recalls borrowing a cement mixer from an Italian uncle to shore up the wooden bleachers at the club's stadium.

''We are like the Spanish and Italian immigrants who, to build a house, had to get together to help each other,'' Russo said in an interview in his office with The Associated Press.

Some have compared Lanus' modest roots to Leicester, which won the English Premier League in 2016.

''We're a working-class team,'' midfielder Ivan Marcone said. ''We're a humble side, a side that has been working a lot in silence. We've made a great effort and we deserve to be here.''

Like most Latin American clubs, Lanus sustains itself by selling its young talent to wealthier European teams. Examples include Guido Pizarro at Spanish club Sevilla, and Eduardo Salvio with Portugal's Benfica.

Gremio has a pedigree. Its last appearance in the final was in 2007, a two-leg loss to Buenos Aires' Boca Juniors by a 5-0 aggregate score. Fans were expecting a third title but got humiliation, instead.

''This time we are working really hard so our fans don't see anything like that again,'' Portaluppi said.

Gremio's backbone consists of four players: Goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe was a reserve player in 2007, and is arguably the best at the position in the Copa Libertadores; Pedro Geromel leads a defense that gave up only eight goals in 12 matches; midfielder Arthur could end up in the Brazil World Cup squad in Russia; and striker Luan is the best player in the tournament so far.

CSKA Moscow vs Benfica: Uefa Champions League prediction, start time, live, how to watch on TV/online, betting odds

CSKA Moscow vs Benfica: Uefa Champions League prediction, start time, live, how to watch on TV/online, betting odds

Benfica's player Krovinovic (R) jubilating with his teammate Jonas after scoring against Vitoria Setubal during their Portugal's Cup match at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon. EFE

Benfica's player Jonas fights for the ball together with Vitoria Setubal opponent Tomas Podstawski during their Portugal's Cup match at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon. EFE

U.S. youngster Keaton Parks makes first-team debut for Benfica

U.S. youngster Keaton Parks makes first-team debut for Benfica

U.S. youngster Keaton Parks makes first-team debut for Benfica

The 20-year-old Texas native saw his first action with the Portuguese side's first team

U.S. youngster Keaton Parks makes first-team debut for Benfica

The 20-year-old Texas native saw his first action with the Portuguese side's first team

U.S. youngster Keaton Parks makes first-team debut for Benfica

U.S. youngster Keaton Parks makes first-team debut for Benfica

TP. Lisbon (Portugal), 29/04/2017.- Benfica's player Krovinovic (R) fights for the ball with Vitoria Setubal opoonent Costinha (L) during their Portugal's Cup match at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 18 November 2017. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/TIAGO PETINGA

TP. Lisbon (Portugal), 29/04/2017.- Benfica's player Krovinovic (R) jubilating with his teammate Jonas after scoring against Vitoria Setubal during their Portugal's Cup match at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 18 November 2017. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/TIAGO PETINGA

TP. Lisbon (Portugal), 29/04/2017.- Benfica's player Krovinovic jubilating after scoring against Vitoria Setubal during their Portugal's Cup match at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 18 November 2017. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/TIAGO PETINGA

TP. Lisbon (Portugal), 29/04/2017.- Benfica's player Jonas fights for the ball together with Vitoria Setubal opponent Tomas Podstawski during their Portugal's Cup match at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 18 November 2017. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/TIAGO PETINGA

TP. Lisbon (Portugal), 29/04/2017.- Benfica's player Jardel fights for the ball together with Vitoria Setubal opponent Joao Amaral during their Portugal's Cup match at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 18 November 2017. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/TIAGO PETINGA

TP. Lisbon (Portugal), 29/04/2017.- Benfica's player Samaris fights for the ball together with Vitoria Setubal opponent Gonçalo Paciencia during their Portugal's Cup match at the Luz Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, 18 November 2017. (Lisboa) EFE/EPA/TIAGO PETINGA

Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte united in condemnation of Gareth Southgate for handling of their players

Gareth Southgate, the England manager, is under fire from Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte for his handling of their players.  Mourinho, the Manchester United manager, has accused Southgate of allowing Phil Jones to receive no fewer than six painkilling injections for a friendly – an extraordinary situation he has never come across before. Conte, of Chelsea, has been angered over the way he dealt with Danny Drinkwater’s apparent refusal of a call-up for the friendlies against Germany and Brazil, leading to the midfielder being attacked and having to “pay for this misunderstanding”. It is Mourinho’s criticism, however, that is the most damaging and inflammatory and after he said he expected all the England players who were unavailable through injury for the last get-together to not play for their clubs this weekend – a clear dig at the spate of withdrawals from Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City – he levelled a powerful accusation at Southgate. Jones started the friendly against Germany last Friday but limped off injured after just 25 minutes when he aggravated an existing injury – he was wearing heavy strapping on his thigh – and is out of United’s match at home to Newcastle United. The central defender had already come off after an hour of United’s Champions League match against Benfica and missed their last league fixture, against Chelsea, and Mourinho said: “Look, I expect that every player who was injured last week is not playing [this weekend]. If a player was injured Tuesday and the player is ready to play tomorrow, there is something that is going wrong, so Phil Jones was injured and obviously he is injured for tomorrow. If any player is ready for tomorrow there is something strange. Phil Jones limped off during the goalless draw with Germany at Wembley last week Credit: REUTERS “But, for me, the strange thing with Phil Jones is that I have been a manager since 2000 and in 17 years as a manager I don’t have one single player that had injections of anaesthetic to play a friendly. Never. Never. I am not an angel and I had players be injected to play official matches, crucial matches but a friendly – to get six local anaesthetic injections to play a friendly, I’ve never heard of that. But Phil Jones had it and had it before the match and after 15 minutes [25 minutes] he was out and tomorrow he is out.” Asked whether he had spoken to Southgate or the Football Association, Mourinho said: “No, no, no. I am just telling a fact. He was injected in the afternoon of the match, he didn’t feel good during the warm-up. Between the warm-up and the start of the match he had five more local injections to play the friendly. I have nothing more to say.” Southgate had maintained Jones was substituted as a precaution and had not caused further damage to his existing problem. Danny Drinkwater missed the recent international friendlies Credit:  PA Conte also expressed his annoyance with Southgate over Drinkwater who, he said, was not fit enough to be selected. He added that if the England manager – or his assistant, Steve Holland, who was Conte’s assistant at Chelsea – had called him then they could have found out the situation. Southgate said that Drinkwater did not “feel ready” to play for England. “It’s a pity that a player had to pay for this misunderstanding,” Conte said. “Sometimes there is a way, very easy, because before to think to call someone, try to call the coach and to ask ‘is it OK, I can do this?’ I am telling you this because I was coach for the national team (Italy). In this way you can avoid a misunderstanding because about Danny it was a misunderstanding.” The FA insists it followed the appropriate protocols with the treatment of Jones and that United were fully informed. 

Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte united in condemnation of Gareth Southgate for handling of their players

Gareth Southgate, the England manager, is under fire from Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte for his handling of their players.  Mourinho, the Manchester United manager, has accused Southgate of allowing Phil Jones to receive no fewer than six painkilling injections for a friendly – an extraordinary situation he has never come across before. Conte, of Chelsea, has been angered over the way he dealt with Danny Drinkwater’s apparent refusal of a call-up for the friendlies against Germany and Brazil, leading to the midfielder being attacked and having to “pay for this misunderstanding”. It is Mourinho’s criticism, however, that is the most damaging and inflammatory and after he said he expected all the England players who were unavailable through injury for the last get-together to not play for their clubs this weekend – a clear dig at the spate of withdrawals from Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City – he levelled a powerful accusation at Southgate. Jones started the friendly against Germany last Friday but limped off injured after just 25 minutes when he aggravated an existing injury – he was wearing heavy strapping on his thigh – and is out of United’s match at home to Newcastle United. The central defender had already come off after an hour of United’s Champions League match against Benfica and missed their last league fixture, against Chelsea, and Mourinho said: “Look, I expect that every player who was injured last week is not playing [this weekend]. If a player was injured Tuesday and the player is ready to play tomorrow, there is something that is going wrong, so Phil Jones was injured and obviously he is injured for tomorrow. If any player is ready for tomorrow there is something strange. Phil Jones limped off during the goalless draw with Germany at Wembley last week Credit: REUTERS “But, for me, the strange thing with Phil Jones is that I have been a manager since 2000 and in 17 years as a manager I don’t have one single player that had injections of anaesthetic to play a friendly. Never. Never. I am not an angel and I had players be injected to play official matches, crucial matches but a friendly – to get six local anaesthetic injections to play a friendly, I’ve never heard of that. But Phil Jones had it and had it before the match and after 15 minutes [25 minutes] he was out and tomorrow he is out.” Asked whether he had spoken to Southgate or the Football Association, Mourinho said: “No, no, no. I am just telling a fact. He was injected in the afternoon of the match, he didn’t feel good during the warm-up. Between the warm-up and the start of the match he had five more local injections to play the friendly. I have nothing more to say.” Southgate had maintained Jones was substituted as a precaution and had not caused further damage to his existing problem. Danny Drinkwater missed the recent international friendlies Credit:  PA Conte also expressed his annoyance with Southgate over Drinkwater who, he said, was not fit enough to be selected. He added that if the England manager – or his assistant, Steve Holland, who was Conte’s assistant at Chelsea – had called him then they could have found out the situation. Southgate said that Drinkwater did not “feel ready” to play for England. “It’s a pity that a player had to pay for this misunderstanding,” Conte said. “Sometimes there is a way, very easy, because before to think to call someone, try to call the coach and to ask ‘is it OK, I can do this?’ I am telling you this because I was coach for the national team (Italy). In this way you can avoid a misunderstanding because about Danny it was a misunderstanding.” The FA insists it followed the appropriate protocols with the treatment of Jones and that United were fully informed. 

Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte united in condemnation of Gareth Southgate for handling of their players

Gareth Southgate, the England manager, is under fire from Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte for his handling of their players.  Mourinho, the Manchester United manager, has accused Southgate of allowing Phil Jones to receive no fewer than six painkilling injections for a friendly – an extraordinary situation he has never come across before. Conte, of Chelsea, has been angered over the way he dealt with Danny Drinkwater’s apparent refusal of a call-up for the friendlies against Germany and Brazil, leading to the midfielder being attacked and having to “pay for this misunderstanding”. It is Mourinho’s criticism, however, that is the most damaging and inflammatory and after he said he expected all the England players who were unavailable through injury for the last get-together to not play for their clubs this weekend – a clear dig at the spate of withdrawals from Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City – he levelled a powerful accusation at Southgate. Jones started the friendly against Germany last Friday but limped off injured after just 25 minutes when he aggravated an existing injury – he was wearing heavy strapping on his thigh – and is out of United’s match at home to Newcastle United. The central defender had already come off after an hour of United’s Champions League match against Benfica and missed their last league fixture, against Chelsea, and Mourinho said: “Look, I expect that every player who was injured last week is not playing [this weekend]. If a player was injured Tuesday and the player is ready to play tomorrow, there is something that is going wrong, so Phil Jones was injured and obviously he is injured for tomorrow. If any player is ready for tomorrow there is something strange. Phil Jones limped off during the goalless draw with Germany at Wembley last week Credit: REUTERS “But, for me, the strange thing with Phil Jones is that I have been a manager since 2000 and in 17 years as a manager I don’t have one single player that had injections of anaesthetic to play a friendly. Never. Never. I am not an angel and I had players be injected to play official matches, crucial matches but a friendly – to get six local anaesthetic injections to play a friendly, I’ve never heard of that. But Phil Jones had it and had it before the match and after 15 minutes [25 minutes] he was out and tomorrow he is out.” Asked whether he had spoken to Southgate or the Football Association, Mourinho said: “No, no, no. I am just telling a fact. He was injected in the afternoon of the match, he didn’t feel good during the warm-up. Between the warm-up and the start of the match he had five more local injections to play the friendly. I have nothing more to say.” Southgate had maintained Jones was substituted as a precaution and had not caused further damage to his existing problem. Danny Drinkwater missed the recent international friendlies Credit:  PA Conte also expressed his annoyance with Southgate over Drinkwater who, he said, was not fit enough to be selected. He added that if the England manager – or his assistant, Steve Holland, who was Conte’s assistant at Chelsea – had called him then they could have found out the situation. Southgate said that Drinkwater did not “feel ready” to play for England. “It’s a pity that a player had to pay for this misunderstanding,” Conte said. “Sometimes there is a way, very easy, because before to think to call someone, try to call the coach and to ask ‘is it OK, I can do this?’ I am telling you this because I was coach for the national team (Italy). In this way you can avoid a misunderstanding because about Danny it was a misunderstanding.” The FA insists it followed the appropriate protocols with the treatment of Jones and that United were fully informed. 

Who is your club's most exciting youth prospect?

Injuries may have forced his hand, but Gareth Southgate won plenty of goodwill from England fans by giving youth a chance against Germany and Brazil. Supporters find themselves rooting for the youngsters in a team for a variety of reasons. Firstly, there is an obvious romantic attachment to those viewed as 'one of your own', players who are more easily related to than your average Premier League player.  Expectation levels are also lowered when there are some fledglings on the team sheet, and because fans are often watching players for the first time their initial instinct is to accentuate good points and turn a blind eye to the bad. A victory is extra special, but any defeat can easily be explained away with 'we had the kids out'. This diffuses the frothing discontent that is so commonplace among fanbases today. So who is your club's most exciting youngster?  Arsenal  Reiss Nelson  Arsenal lost the promising Chris Willock to Benfica last summer and sold Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool, but Nelson can ensure fans quickly forget about both. Spurs were interested in him as a nine-year-old, but the red half of north London acted quickly to take him to Hale End - the site of their academy. Although Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah are promising, Nelson is the jewel in the crown.  The 17-year-old is a natural dribbler, gliding past opponents with ease and usually from the right-flank. During his Carabao Cup and Europa League starts this season, Arsene Wenger has employed him as a right-wing back which has curtailed his offensive potential. Expect to see more spectacular performances if he is played in an advanced position.  Nelson regularly started as a No.10 in the youth teams, so has highly developed spacial awareness and ability to cope in confined areas. Whereas Oxlade-Chamberlain more of a bustling 'push and run' dribbler, Nelson keeps the ball a little closer to him - not unlike his teammate Jack Wilshere, and also has a talent for scoring free-kicks.  Reiss Nelson is Arsenal's best young prospect Credit: Getty Images Bournemouth  Lewis Cook Centre back Brennan Camp, 17, could prove Bournemouth's next homegrown prospect but their best youngster is in fact a recruit from Leeds United. Cook received an England call-up in the last international break, and might well get more opportunities given England's lack of central midfield options. He also played on the flanks while at Elland Road, and Cook's main strength is his ability to carry the ball from central areas. He shields the ball very well, getting his body between ball and opponent. This also means he wins more duels than a player of his stature has a right to. Bournemouth did not attempt to sign Wilshere on a permanent basis, and Cook could well be the reason for that. Burnley Dwight McNeil   Any 17-year-old playing for an Under-23 team is worthy of attention, even if Burnley's academy is not swollen with talent like some of the bigger clubs. McNeil, who usually plays as a winger, has been singled out for praise by youth team coach and former Burnley defender Michael Duffy.   "He was a first year last year with the 18s with me and you can see he's got ability," Duff said. "It's about honing that and channeling it in the right direction, keeping his feet on the ground. He's scored a couple of goals in front of a Turf Moor crowd of about 100, ideally we want him scoring goals in front of a Turf Moor crowd of 25,000. That's the key." McNeil in Burnley Under-23s top goalscorer this season, and a club on Burnley's frugal budget they need to extract every last ounce of potential from their academy.  Brighton and Hove Albion Jayson Molumby  Midfield partner Dessie Hutchinson deserves a mention - Chris Hughton felt confident enough to start both he a Molumby in the Carabao Cup this season. However, Molumby is two years younger and was nominated for Ireland's Under-17 Player of the Year in 2016 - which was eventually won by West Ham's Declan Rice. Ireland desperately need some fresh blood, although Molumby will find Premier League minutes hard to come by as Brighton fight to stay up.  Chelsea Callum Hudson-Odoi Where do you start at Chelsea? Lewis Baker, Dujon Sterling, Trevoh Chalobah, Ethan Ampadu, Ike Ugbo among others could easily have been our choice. However, Hudson-Odoi's versatility mean he has the potential to grow into numerous different roles. This is important because young players rarely get a first-team chance in their 'natural' position, but instead are used wherever there is a lack of bodies.  Callum Hudson-Odoi in last season's Youth Cup final Credit: Rex Features A World Cup winner with England's Under-17s and provider of three assists in the final against Spain, the Chelsea man can occupy any offensive position across the pitch. Has consistently played 'above his age' at during his time at Stamford Bridge, and only turned 17 on November 7.  Crystal Palace Nya Kirby  In an act of minor revenge for the John Bostock saga, Palace managed to prise Kirby away from Tottenham and the England youth international was part of their pre-season tour of the Far East. Kirby has played most of his football in central midfield, where he likes to dribble with the ball to attract opponents and create space ahead of him.  Kirby is another on this list who was part of England's triumphant Under-17s team in India, and said: “When we met up at the start, everyone had a good winning mentality and we went out there trying to win it.We were there for five weeks but we had a good bunch of lads and it was a great place. The fans were amazing; in the final there were 63,000 in attendance which was incredible.” Everton Jonjoe Kenny  Despite their reputation for giving young players first-team opportunities, a number of prospects have proven dead ends: James Vaughan, Victor Anichebe, Jack Rodwell and even, if his situation remains the same, Ross Barkley.  The generation lead by Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are hoping to be more durable, and young full-back Jonjoe Kenny is particularly well regarded. Everton will need a long-term replacement for Seamus Coleman, and the 20-year-old Kenny is the next cab off the rank. Alexis Sanchez gave him a rough ride in a 5-2 defeat last month, and he sliced one into his own net at Leicester, but such chastening experiences are part of a young player's development. Needs to avoid a serious injury, like the one that thwarted a promising full-back from across Stanley Park, Jon Flanagan.  Huddersfield Town Philip Billing Currently on the treatment table, the 21-year-old Danish midfielder caught the eye in Huddersfield's FA Cup replay at Manchester City last season where Alan Shearer described his performance as 'brilliant'. The club's young player of the year in each of the last two seasons, Billing is a rangy central midfielder who stands out from the pack by virtue of being 6ft 5in tall and left-footed. Long-range strikes at Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City, Huddersfield's goal of the season in their promotion campaign, are proof of sound technique too.  The best young players in world football Leicester City Hamza Choudhury  An impressive afro makes him instantly recognisable, and Choudhury made his senior Leicester debut against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup this season. The 20-year-old grew up in Leicestershire and captained the club's Under-23s team. A midfielder by trade, he benefited from a loan spell with then League One club Burton Albion. His immediate family are from Bangladesh, and he could prove something of a trailblazer as one of the first top-flight British Asian footballers since Fulham's Zesh Rehman more than a decade ago.  Choudbury told the Leicester Mercury:  “Asians have family everywhere. We are all very close, so when something heart-warming happens everyone gets together to celebrate, like my debut. “I don’t really feel any pressure about being a professional from an Asian background. My family have been a great help with that, just telling me to enjoy it. “If I turned around tomorrow and said I didn’t want to play football any more they would support me. I really have their backing no matter what I don’t feel any pressure.” Liverpool Rhian Brewster An obvious choice after his goalscoring heroics at the Under-17 World Cup. Brewster actually hails from east London, and joined Liverpool from Chelsea's academy aged 15, and has since been fast-tracked into their Under-23 development team. Described as a 'natural striker' by Jurgen Klopp, Brewster has inevitably attracted comparisons to former Melwood whirlwinds Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen.  His eight goals at the World Cup were evidence of intuitive anticipation in the penalty area, but interestingly Brewster has worn the No.10 shirt for Liverpool's youth teams. A glance at his highlights show a player happy to drop off the last line of defence to link play and provide for others, though this might be a reflection of the fact he is comfortably the best player in his age group. These skills might be redundant as he develops into a centre forward at senior level, but the ability to fit into a collective is important in today's game - particularly under Jurgen Klopp. Just ask Daniel Sturridge.  Manchester City Phil Foden Like Chelsea, Man City have a treasure trove of promising players coming through. Brahim Diaz should be mentioned in dispatches, but Phil Foden is the apple of Pep Guardiola's eye. Comfortable in any midfield role, the 17-year-old has already been called up to train with City's first team and would have played against Wolves in the Carabao Cup but for England commitments at the World Cup in India. He played his part in their victory over Spain in the final, scoring twice.  Foden impressed in a pre-season outing against Manchester United this summer, rarely taking more than two touches as a he fitted seamlessly into Guardiola's style of play. Opponents will note he is strongly left-footed, but his spatial awareness and scanning of the pitch means he moves the ball quickly enough before they can force him onto his right. There will be comparisons with Wilshere, but Foden is probably more of a passer than a dribbler.  Rhian Brewster and Phil Foden's mantelpieces will be full after their summer success Credit: PA Manchester United Axel Tuanzebe  As Jose Mourinho prioritised the Europa League in the closing stretch of last season, Tuanzebe got some first-team minutes, notably away at Arsenal. The 20-year-old's favourite position is centre-back, but his opportunities at senior level could come as a full-back while he has also played in central midfield. His signature move is the way he changes gear and drives away from opponents, and his calmness in possession puts Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to shame. With the latter likely to be moved on by Jose Mourinho before too long, a pathway could open up for Tuanzebe.  Newcastle United Dan Barlaser Born in Gateshead but a Turker Under-17 international, Barlaser has just signed a contract extension to keep him at Newcastle until 2019. The 20-year-old midfielder has made three first-team appearances, and is regarded as an energetic midfielder. A former winger, Barlaser looks to control games with his passing range and also likes to shoot from distance. Rafael Benitez will plump for experience as Newcastle look to secure Premier League survival, but it has been too long since Newcastle fans really grew to love a local lad.  Southampton  Callum Slattery  An England international at youth level, Slattery signed a three-year-contract with Southampton this summer which is a mark of the club's faith in the young midfielder. Hoping to follow the likes of Callum Chambers, Matt Targett, Luke Shaw, Jack Stephens and Josh Sims and progress to Southampton's first team, Slattery is viewed as a box-to-box midfielder. The 18-year-old is yet to make a senior appearance on the south coast, and with the amount of competition in Southampton's midfield that is unlikely to change soon. If only he was a striker...  Callum Slattery in action against Cardiff's Under-23s Credit: Getty Images Stoke City Tyrese Campbell Son of pin-stripped former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell, Tyrese was picked out by Stoke manager Mark Hughes as a player with the potential to make it at Premier League level. Hughes said: "He and his father clearly looked at his prospects at Man City, a fantastic operation and clearly a great club and a huge stage for any player, but for younger players it is difficult to break through. “So we presented to him and said, ‘Listen, if you progress and you fulfil the potential that we think you’ve got then there is going to be that pathway to the first team and it is going to happen quicker than you think possibly’.” Campbell's four goals in Premier League 2 this season have all come from the penalty spot, and coach Glyn Hodges has called on him to be more selfish in front of goal.  Swansea City Joe Rodon Dubbed the 'Welsh John Stones', Rodon has attracted the attention of Celtic and Manchester City with his performances at youth level for club and country. The 20-year-old defender is yet to make his full Swansea debut, but did get to train with Chris Coleman's Wales squad in the March international break along with former teammates Neil Taylor and Ashley Williams.  "The old Swansea boys took care of me and I thought I had got off pretty lightly until they turned around and told me I could not go until I had done my initiation," Rodon recalled to Wales Online.  "I can't thank them enough for that! "I ended up doing 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Tyrell. "A few of the boys said it was pretty old school for someone of my age, but I'm definitely not going to say if I did it any justice or not!"  Tottenham Hotspur  Marcus Edwards  Mauricio Pochettino has not even bothered to play it cool with Edwards, nicknaming him 'Mini-Messi' at the Spurs training ground. His name has been on the grapevine for a few years now, but Edwards is still only 18. Slight, with a low centre of gravity, Edwards loves to drift to the right flank before cutting inside onto his favoured left-foot. As Pochettino's moniker for him suggests, Edwards loves to carry the fall and commit defenders.  This could potentially stand him in good stead because on thing Spurs lack, for all their qualities, is a wide player with trickery. Their most laboured performances this season have come at Wembley against Burnley, Swansea, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace - teams who put numbers behind the ball and asked Spurs to break them down. The likes of Clinton Njié and Georges-Kévin N'Koudou failed to make the cut, but Edwards could be the final piece in Pochettino's puzzle.  The first of many north London derbies for Marcus Edwards? Credit: Getty Images Watford  Isaac Success He might sound like a minor Martin Amis character, and behave like one off the pitch, but Success is a hugely talented player who Marco Silva believes still has a future at Vicarage Road. The 21-year-old showed enough last season to suggest he might be right, when his pace and ability on the flanks caught the eye. The performances of new singing Richarlison however, might restrict future opportunities.  West Bromwich Albion  Sam Field Tony Pulis is a footballing conservative, so handing eight Premier League appearances to teenage midfielder Sam Field says plenty about his qualities. Pulis even described Field's performance against Chelsea last term as 'smashing'. Despite interest from several Championship clubs this summer, Field has stayed at West Brom to continue his development in the youth teams. Supporting West Brom is a bit of a drag at present, but Field is one reason for optimism.  West Ham United  Declan Rice Reece Oxford will run him close, but Rice could be the long-term answer to the defensive vulnerabilities that have hindered West Ham for so long. The 18-year-old centre back has already tasted Premier League football this season, and Slaven Bilic trusted him to occupy the central position when West Ham played with a back three. There is also evidence of the 'leadership' attributes that coaches crave, as Rice captained West Ham's Under-23s to the Premier League 2 title last season. 

Who is your club's most exciting youth prospect?

Injuries may have forced his hand, but Gareth Southgate won plenty of goodwill from England fans by giving youth a chance against Germany and Brazil. Supporters find themselves rooting for the youngsters in a team for a variety of reasons. Firstly, there is an obvious romantic attachment to those viewed as 'one of your own', players who are more easily related to than your average Premier League player.  Expectation levels are also lowered when there are some fledglings on the team sheet, and because fans are often watching players for the first time their initial instinct is to accentuate good points and turn a blind eye to the bad. A victory is extra special, but any defeat can easily be explained away with 'we had the kids out'. This diffuses the frothing discontent that is so commonplace among fanbases today. So who is your club's most exciting youngster?  Arsenal  Reiss Nelson  Arsenal lost the promising Chris Willock to Benfica last summer and sold Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool, but Nelson can ensure fans quickly forget about both. Spurs were interested in him as a nine-year-old, but the red half of north London acted quickly to take him to Hale End - the site of their academy. Although Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah are promising, Nelson is the jewel in the crown.  The 17-year-old is a natural dribbler, gliding past opponents with ease and usually from the right-flank. During his Carabao Cup and Europa League starts this season, Arsene Wenger has employed him as a right-wing back which has curtailed his offensive potential. Expect to see more spectacular performances if he is played in an advanced position.  Nelson regularly started as a No.10 in the youth teams, so has highly developed spacial awareness and ability to cope in confined areas. Whereas Oxlade-Chamberlain more of a bustling 'push and run' dribbler, Nelson keeps the ball a little closer to him - not unlike his teammate Jack Wilshere, and also has a talent for scoring free-kicks.  Reiss Nelson is Arsenal's best young prospect Credit: Getty Images Bournemouth  Lewis Cook Centre back Brennan Camp, 17, could prove Bournemouth's next homegrown prospect but their best youngster is in fact a recruit from Leeds United. Cook received an England call-up in the last international break, and might well get more opportunities given England's lack of central midfield options. He also played on the flanks while at Elland Road, and Cook's main strength is his ability to carry the ball from central areas. He shields the ball very well, getting his body between ball and opponent. This also means he wins more duels than a player of his stature has a right to. Bournemouth did not attempt to sign Wilshere on a permanent basis, and Cook could well be the reason for that. Burnley Dwight McNeil   Any 17-year-old playing for an Under-23 team is worthy of attention, even if Burnley's academy is not swollen with talent like some of the bigger clubs. McNeil, who usually plays as a winger, has been singled out for praise by youth team coach and former Burnley defender Michael Duffy.   "He was a first year last year with the 18s with me and you can see he's got ability," Duff said. "It's about honing that and channeling it in the right direction, keeping his feet on the ground. He's scored a couple of goals in front of a Turf Moor crowd of about 100, ideally we want him scoring goals in front of a Turf Moor crowd of 25,000. That's the key." McNeil in Burnley Under-23s top goalscorer this season, and a club on Burnley's frugal budget they need to extract every last ounce of potential from their academy.  Brighton and Hove Albion Jayson Molumby  Midfield partner Dessie Hutchinson deserves a mention - Chris Hughton felt confident enough to start both he a Molumby in the Carabao Cup this season. However, Molumby is two years younger and was nominated for Ireland's Under-17 Player of the Year in 2016 - which was eventually won by West Ham's Declan Rice. Ireland desperately need some fresh blood, although Molumby will find Premier League minutes hard to come by as Brighton fight to stay up.  Chelsea Callum Hudson-Odoi Where do you start at Chelsea? Lewis Baker, Dujon Sterling, Trevoh Chalobah, Ethan Ampadu, Ike Ugbo among others could easily have been our choice. However, Hudson-Odoi's versatility mean he has the potential to grow into numerous different roles. This is important because young players rarely get a first-team chance in their 'natural' position, but instead are used wherever there is a lack of bodies.  Callum Hudson-Odoi in last season's Youth Cup final Credit: Rex Features A World Cup winner with England's Under-17s and provider of three assists in the final against Spain, the Chelsea man can occupy any offensive position across the pitch. Has consistently played 'above his age' at during his time at Stamford Bridge, and only turned 17 on November 7.  Crystal Palace Nya Kirby  In an act of minor revenge for the John Bostock saga, Palace managed to prise Kirby away from Tottenham and the England youth international was part of their pre-season tour of the Far East. Kirby has played most of his football in central midfield, where he likes to dribble with the ball to attract opponents and create space ahead of him.  Kirby is another on this list who was part of England's triumphant Under-17s team in India, and said: “When we met up at the start, everyone had a good winning mentality and we went out there trying to win it.We were there for five weeks but we had a good bunch of lads and it was a great place. The fans were amazing; in the final there were 63,000 in attendance which was incredible.” Everton Jonjoe Kenny  Despite their reputation for giving young players first-team opportunities, a number of prospects have proven dead ends: James Vaughan, Victor Anichebe, Jack Rodwell and even, if his situation remains the same, Ross Barkley.  The generation lead by Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are hoping to be more durable, and young full-back Jonjoe Kenny is particularly well regarded. Everton will need a long-term replacement for Seamus Coleman, and the 20-year-old Kenny is the next cab off the rank. Alexis Sanchez gave him a rough ride in a 5-2 defeat last month, and he sliced one into his own net at Leicester, but such chastening experiences are part of a young player's development. Needs to avoid a serious injury, like the one that thwarted a promising full-back from across Stanley Park, Jon Flanagan.  Huddersfield Town Philip Billing Currently on the treatment table, the 21-year-old Danish midfielder caught the eye in Huddersfield's FA Cup replay at Manchester City last season where Alan Shearer described his performance as 'brilliant'. The club's young player of the year in each of the last two seasons, Billing is a rangy central midfielder who stands out from the pack by virtue of being 6ft 5in tall and left-footed. Long-range strikes at Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City, Huddersfield's goal of the season in their promotion campaign, are proof of sound technique too.  The best young players in world football Leicester City Hamza Choudhury  An impressive afro makes him instantly recognisable, and Choudhury made his senior Leicester debut against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup this season. The 20-year-old grew up in Leicestershire and captained the club's Under-23s team. A midfielder by trade, he benefited from a loan spell with then League One club Burton Albion. His immediate family are from Bangladesh, and he could prove something of a trailblazer as one of the first top-flight British Asian footballers since Fulham's Zesh Rehman more than a decade ago.  Choudbury told the Leicester Mercury:  “Asians have family everywhere. We are all very close, so when something heart-warming happens everyone gets together to celebrate, like my debut. “I don’t really feel any pressure about being a professional from an Asian background. My family have been a great help with that, just telling me to enjoy it. “If I turned around tomorrow and said I didn’t want to play football any more they would support me. I really have their backing no matter what I don’t feel any pressure.” Liverpool Rhian Brewster An obvious choice after his goalscoring heroics at the Under-17 World Cup. Brewster actually hails from east London, and joined Liverpool from Chelsea's academy aged 15, and has since been fast-tracked into their Under-23 development team. Described as a 'natural striker' by Jurgen Klopp, Brewster has inevitably attracted comparisons to former Melwood whirlwinds Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen.  His eight goals at the World Cup were evidence of intuitive anticipation in the penalty area, but interestingly Brewster has worn the No.10 shirt for Liverpool's youth teams. A glance at his highlights show a player happy to drop off the last line of defence to link play and provide for others, though this might be a reflection of the fact he is comfortably the best player in his age group. These skills might be redundant as he develops into a centre forward at senior level, but the ability to fit into a collective is important in today's game - particularly under Jurgen Klopp. Just ask Daniel Sturridge.  Manchester City Phil Foden Like Chelsea, Man City have a treasure trove of promising players coming through. Brahim Diaz should be mentioned in dispatches, but Phil Foden is the apple of Pep Guardiola's eye. Comfortable in any midfield role, the 17-year-old has already been called up to train with City's first team and would have played against Wolves in the Carabao Cup but for England commitments at the World Cup in India. He played his part in their victory over Spain in the final, scoring twice.  Foden impressed in a pre-season outing against Manchester United this summer, rarely taking more than two touches as a he fitted seamlessly into Guardiola's style of play. Opponents will note he is strongly left-footed, but his spatial awareness and scanning of the pitch means he moves the ball quickly enough before they can force him onto his right. There will be comparisons with Wilshere, but Foden is probably more of a passer than a dribbler.  Rhian Brewster and Phil Foden's mantelpieces will be full after their summer success Credit: PA Manchester United Axel Tuanzebe  As Jose Mourinho prioritised the Europa League in the closing stretch of last season, Tuanzebe got some first-team minutes, notably away at Arsenal. The 20-year-old's favourite position is centre-back, but his opportunities at senior level could come as a full-back while he has also played in central midfield. His signature move is the way he changes gear and drives away from opponents, and his calmness in possession puts Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to shame. With the latter likely to be moved on by Jose Mourinho before too long, a pathway could open up for Tuanzebe.  Newcastle United Dan Barlaser Born in Gateshead but a Turker Under-17 international, Barlaser has just signed a contract extension to keep him at Newcastle until 2019. The 20-year-old midfielder has made three first-team appearances, and is regarded as an energetic midfielder. A former winger, Barlaser looks to control games with his passing range and also likes to shoot from distance. Rafael Benitez will plump for experience as Newcastle look to secure Premier League survival, but it has been too long since Newcastle fans really grew to love a local lad.  Southampton  Callum Slattery  An England international at youth level, Slattery signed a three-year-contract with Southampton this summer which is a mark of the club's faith in the young midfielder. Hoping to follow the likes of Callum Chambers, Matt Targett, Luke Shaw, Jack Stephens and Josh Sims and progress to Southampton's first team, Slattery is viewed as a box-to-box midfielder. The 18-year-old is yet to make a senior appearance on the south coast, and with the amount of competition in Southampton's midfield that is unlikely to change soon. If only he was a striker...  Callum Slattery in action against Cardiff's Under-23s Credit: Getty Images Stoke City Tyrese Campbell Son of pin-stripped former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell, Tyrese was picked out by Stoke manager Mark Hughes as a player with the potential to make it at Premier League level. Hughes said: "He and his father clearly looked at his prospects at Man City, a fantastic operation and clearly a great club and a huge stage for any player, but for younger players it is difficult to break through. “So we presented to him and said, ‘Listen, if you progress and you fulfil the potential that we think you’ve got then there is going to be that pathway to the first team and it is going to happen quicker than you think possibly’.” Campbell's four goals in Premier League 2 this season have all come from the penalty spot, and coach Glyn Hodges has called on him to be more selfish in front of goal.  Swansea City Joe Rodon Dubbed the 'Welsh John Stones', Rodon has attracted the attention of Celtic and Manchester City with his performances at youth level for club and country. The 20-year-old defender is yet to make his full Swansea debut, but did get to train with Chris Coleman's Wales squad in the March international break along with former teammates Neil Taylor and Ashley Williams.  "The old Swansea boys took care of me and I thought I had got off pretty lightly until they turned around and told me I could not go until I had done my initiation," Rodon recalled to Wales Online.  "I can't thank them enough for that! "I ended up doing 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Tyrell. "A few of the boys said it was pretty old school for someone of my age, but I'm definitely not going to say if I did it any justice or not!"  Tottenham Hotspur  Marcus Edwards  Mauricio Pochettino has not even bothered to play it cool with Edwards, nicknaming him 'Mini-Messi' at the Spurs training ground. His name has been on the grapevine for a few years now, but Edwards is still only 18. Slight, with a low centre of gravity, Edwards loves to drift to the right flank before cutting inside onto his favoured left-foot. As Pochettino's moniker for him suggests, Edwards loves to carry the fall and commit defenders.  This could potentially stand him in good stead because on thing Spurs lack, for all their qualities, is a wide player with trickery. Their most laboured performances this season have come at Wembley against Burnley, Swansea, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace - teams who put numbers behind the ball and asked Spurs to break them down. The likes of Clinton Njié and Georges-Kévin N'Koudou failed to make the cut, but Edwards could be the final piece in Pochettino's puzzle.  The first of many north London derbies for Marcus Edwards? Credit: Getty Images Watford  Isaac Success He might sound like a minor Martin Amis character, and behave like one off the pitch, but Success is a hugely talented player who Marco Silva believes still has a future at Vicarage Road. The 21-year-old showed enough last season to suggest he might be right, when his pace and ability on the flanks caught the eye. The performances of new singing Richarlison however, might restrict future opportunities.  West Bromwich Albion  Sam Field Tony Pulis is a footballing conservative, so handing eight Premier League appearances to teenage midfielder Sam Field says plenty about his qualities. Pulis even described Field's performance against Chelsea last term as 'smashing'. Despite interest from several Championship clubs this summer, Field has stayed at West Brom to continue his development in the youth teams. Supporting West Brom is a bit of a drag at present, but Field is one reason for optimism.  West Ham United  Declan Rice Reece Oxford will run him close, but Rice could be the long-term answer to the defensive vulnerabilities that have hindered West Ham for so long. The 18-year-old centre back has already tasted Premier League football this season, and Slaven Bilic trusted him to occupy the central position when West Ham played with a back three. There is also evidence of the 'leadership' attributes that coaches crave, as Rice captained West Ham's Under-23s to the Premier League 2 title last season. 

Who is your club's most exciting youth prospect?

Injuries may have forced his hand, but Gareth Southgate won plenty of goodwill from England fans by giving youth a chance against Germany and Brazil. Supporters find themselves rooting for the youngsters in a team for a variety of reasons. Firstly, there is an obvious romantic attachment to those viewed as 'one of your own', players who are more easily related to than your average Premier League player.  Expectation levels are also lowered when there are some fledglings on the team sheet, and because fans are often watching players for the first time their initial instinct is to accentuate good points and turn a blind eye to the bad. A victory is extra special, but any defeat can easily be explained away with 'we had the kids out'. This diffuses the frothing discontent that is so commonplace among fanbases today. So who is your club's most exciting youngster?  Arsenal  Reiss Nelson  Arsenal lost the promising Chris Willock to Benfica last summer and sold Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool, but Nelson can ensure fans quickly forget about both. Spurs were interested in him as a nine-year-old, but the red half of north London acted quickly to take him to Hale End - the site of their academy. Although Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah are promising, Nelson is the jewel in the crown.  The 17-year-old is a natural dribbler, gliding past opponents with ease and usually from the right-flank. During his Carabao Cup and Europa League starts this season, Arsene Wenger has employed him as a right-wing back which has curtailed his offensive potential. Expect to see more spectacular performances if he is played in an advanced position.  Nelson regularly started as a No.10 in the youth teams, so has highly developed spacial awareness and ability to cope in confined areas. Whereas Oxlade-Chamberlain more of a bustling 'push and run' dribbler, Nelson keeps the ball a little closer to him - not unlike his teammate Jack Wilshere, and also has a talent for scoring free-kicks.  Reiss Nelson is Arsenal's best young prospect Credit: Getty Images Bournemouth  Lewis Cook Centre back Brennan Camp, 17, could prove Bournemouth's next homegrown prospect but their best youngster is in fact a recruit from Leeds United. Cook received an England call-up in the last international break, and might well get more opportunities given England's lack of central midfield options. He also played on the flanks while at Elland Road, and Cook's main strength is his ability to carry the ball from central areas. He shields the ball very well, getting his body between ball and opponent. This also means he wins more duels than a player of his stature has a right to. Bournemouth did not attempt to sign Wilshere on a permanent basis, and Cook could well be the reason for that. Burnley Dwight McNeil   Any 17-year-old playing for an Under-23 team is worthy of attention, even if Burnley's academy is not swollen with talent like some of the bigger clubs. McNeil, who usually plays as a winger, has been singled out for praise by youth team coach and former Burnley defender Michael Duffy.   "He was a first year last year with the 18s with me and you can see he's got ability," Duff said. "It's about honing that and channeling it in the right direction, keeping his feet on the ground. He's scored a couple of goals in front of a Turf Moor crowd of about 100, ideally we want him scoring goals in front of a Turf Moor crowd of 25,000. That's the key." McNeil in Burnley Under-23s top goalscorer this season, and a club on Burnley's frugal budget they need to extract every last ounce of potential from their academy.  Brighton and Hove Albion Jayson Molumby  Midfield partner Dessie Hutchinson deserves a mention - Chris Hughton felt confident enough to start both he a Molumby in the Carabao Cup this season. However, Molumby is two years younger and was nominated for Ireland's Under-17 Player of the Year in 2016 - which was eventually won by West Ham's Declan Rice. Ireland desperately need some fresh blood, although Molumby will find Premier League minutes hard to come by as Brighton fight to stay up.  Chelsea Callum Hudson-Odoi Where do you start at Chelsea? Lewis Baker, Dujon Sterling, Trevoh Chalobah, Ethan Ampadu, Ike Ugbo among others could easily have been our choice. However, Hudson-Odoi's versatility mean he has the potential to grow into numerous different roles. This is important because young players rarely get a first-team chance in their 'natural' position, but instead are used wherever there is a lack of bodies.  Callum Hudson-Odoi in last season's Youth Cup final Credit: Rex Features A World Cup winner with England's Under-17s and provider of three assists in the final against Spain, the Chelsea man can occupy any offensive position across the pitch. Has consistently played 'above his age' at during his time at Stamford Bridge, and only turned 17 on November 7.  Crystal Palace Nya Kirby  In an act of minor revenge for the John Bostock saga, Palace managed to prise Kirby away from Tottenham and the England youth international was part of their pre-season tour of the Far East. Kirby has played most of his football in central midfield, where he likes to dribble with the ball to attract opponents and create space ahead of him.  Kirby is another on this list who was part of England's triumphant Under-17s team in India, and said: “When we met up at the start, everyone had a good winning mentality and we went out there trying to win it.We were there for five weeks but we had a good bunch of lads and it was a great place. The fans were amazing; in the final there were 63,000 in attendance which was incredible.” Everton Jonjoe Kenny  Despite their reputation for giving young players first-team opportunities, a number of prospects have proven dead ends: James Vaughan, Victor Anichebe, Jack Rodwell and even, if his situation remains the same, Ross Barkley.  The generation lead by Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are hoping to be more durable, and young full-back Jonjoe Kenny is particularly well regarded. Everton will need a long-term replacement for Seamus Coleman, and the 20-year-old Kenny is the next cab off the rank. Alexis Sanchez gave him a rough ride in a 5-2 defeat last month, and he sliced one into his own net at Leicester, but such chastening experiences are part of a young player's development. Needs to avoid a serious injury, like the one that thwarted a promising full-back from across Stanley Park, Jon Flanagan.  Huddersfield Town Philip Billing Currently on the treatment table, the 21-year-old Danish midfielder caught the eye in Huddersfield's FA Cup replay at Manchester City last season where Alan Shearer described his performance as 'brilliant'. The club's young player of the year in each of the last two seasons, Billing is a rangy central midfielder who stands out from the pack by virtue of being 6ft 5in tall and left-footed. Long-range strikes at Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City, Huddersfield's goal of the season in their promotion campaign, are proof of sound technique too.  The best young players in world football Leicester City Hamza Choudhury  An impressive afro makes him instantly recognisable, and Choudhury made his senior Leicester debut against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup this season. The 20-year-old grew up in Leicestershire and captained the club's Under-23s team. A midfielder by trade, he benefited from a loan spell with then League One club Burton Albion. His immediate family are from Bangladesh, and he could prove something of a trailblazer as one of the first top-flight British Asian footballers since Fulham's Zesh Rehman more than a decade ago.  Choudbury told the Leicester Mercury:  “Asians have family everywhere. We are all very close, so when something heart-warming happens everyone gets together to celebrate, like my debut. “I don’t really feel any pressure about being a professional from an Asian background. My family have been a great help with that, just telling me to enjoy it. “If I turned around tomorrow and said I didn’t want to play football any more they would support me. I really have their backing no matter what I don’t feel any pressure.” Liverpool Rhian Brewster An obvious choice after his goalscoring heroics at the Under-17 World Cup. Brewster actually hails from east London, and joined Liverpool from Chelsea's academy aged 15, and has since been fast-tracked into their Under-23 development team. Described as a 'natural striker' by Jurgen Klopp, Brewster has inevitably attracted comparisons to former Melwood whirlwinds Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen.  His eight goals at the World Cup were evidence of intuitive anticipation in the penalty area, but interestingly Brewster has worn the No.10 shirt for Liverpool's youth teams. A glance at his highlights show a player happy to drop off the last line of defence to link play and provide for others, though this might be a reflection of the fact he is comfortably the best player in his age group. These skills might be redundant as he develops into a centre forward at senior level, but the ability to fit into a collective is important in today's game - particularly under Jurgen Klopp. Just ask Daniel Sturridge.  Manchester City Phil Foden Like Chelsea, Man City have a treasure trove of promising players coming through. Brahim Diaz should be mentioned in dispatches, but Phil Foden is the apple of Pep Guardiola's eye. Comfortable in any midfield role, the 17-year-old has already been called up to train with City's first team and would have played against Wolves in the Carabao Cup but for England commitments at the World Cup in India. He played his part in their victory over Spain in the final, scoring twice.  Foden impressed in a pre-season outing against Manchester United this summer, rarely taking more than two touches as a he fitted seamlessly into Guardiola's style of play. Opponents will note he is strongly left-footed, but his spatial awareness and scanning of the pitch means he moves the ball quickly enough before they can force him onto his right. There will be comparisons with Wilshere, but Foden is probably more of a passer than a dribbler.  Rhian Brewster and Phil Foden's mantelpieces will be full after their summer success Credit: PA Manchester United Axel Tuanzebe  As Jose Mourinho prioritised the Europa League in the closing stretch of last season, Tuanzebe got some first-team minutes, notably away at Arsenal. The 20-year-old's favourite position is centre-back, but his opportunities at senior level could come as a full-back while he has also played in central midfield. His signature move is the way he changes gear and drives away from opponents, and his calmness in possession puts Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to shame. With the latter likely to be moved on by Jose Mourinho before too long, a pathway could open up for Tuanzebe.  Newcastle United Dan Barlaser Born in Gateshead but a Turker Under-17 international, Barlaser has just signed a contract extension to keep him at Newcastle until 2019. The 20-year-old midfielder has made three first-team appearances, and is regarded as an energetic midfielder. A former winger, Barlaser looks to control games with his passing range and also likes to shoot from distance. Rafael Benitez will plump for experience as Newcastle look to secure Premier League survival, but it has been too long since Newcastle fans really grew to love a local lad.  Southampton  Callum Slattery  An England international at youth level, Slattery signed a three-year-contract with Southampton this summer which is a mark of the club's faith in the young midfielder. Hoping to follow the likes of Callum Chambers, Matt Targett, Luke Shaw, Jack Stephens and Josh Sims and progress to Southampton's first team, Slattery is viewed as a box-to-box midfielder. The 18-year-old is yet to make a senior appearance on the south coast, and with the amount of competition in Southampton's midfield that is unlikely to change soon. If only he was a striker...  Callum Slattery in action against Cardiff's Under-23s Credit: Getty Images Stoke City Tyrese Campbell Son of pin-stripped former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell, Tyrese was picked out by Stoke manager Mark Hughes as a player with the potential to make it at Premier League level. Hughes said: "He and his father clearly looked at his prospects at Man City, a fantastic operation and clearly a great club and a huge stage for any player, but for younger players it is difficult to break through. “So we presented to him and said, ‘Listen, if you progress and you fulfil the potential that we think you’ve got then there is going to be that pathway to the first team and it is going to happen quicker than you think possibly’.” Campbell's four goals in Premier League 2 this season have all come from the penalty spot, and coach Glyn Hodges has called on him to be more selfish in front of goal.  Swansea City Joe Rodon Dubbed the 'Welsh John Stones', Rodon has attracted the attention of Celtic and Manchester City with his performances at youth level for club and country. The 20-year-old defender is yet to make his full Swansea debut, but did get to train with Chris Coleman's Wales squad in the March international break along with former teammates Neil Taylor and Ashley Williams.  "The old Swansea boys took care of me and I thought I had got off pretty lightly until they turned around and told me I could not go until I had done my initiation," Rodon recalled to Wales Online.  "I can't thank them enough for that! "I ended up doing 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Tyrell. "A few of the boys said it was pretty old school for someone of my age, but I'm definitely not going to say if I did it any justice or not!"  Tottenham Hotspur  Marcus Edwards  Mauricio Pochettino has not even bothered to play it cool with Edwards, nicknaming him 'Mini-Messi' at the Spurs training ground. His name has been on the grapevine for a few years now, but Edwards is still only 18. Slight, with a low centre of gravity, Edwards loves to drift to the right flank before cutting inside onto his favoured left-foot. As Pochettino's moniker for him suggests, Edwards loves to carry the fall and commit defenders.  This could potentially stand him in good stead because on thing Spurs lack, for all their qualities, is a wide player with trickery. Their most laboured performances this season have come at Wembley against Burnley, Swansea, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace - teams who put numbers behind the ball and asked Spurs to break them down. The likes of Clinton Njié and Georges-Kévin N'Koudou failed to make the cut, but Edwards could be the final piece in Pochettino's puzzle.  The first of many north London derbies for Marcus Edwards? Credit: Getty Images Watford  Isaac Success He might sound like a minor Martin Amis character, and behave like one off the pitch, but Success is a hugely talented player who Marco Silva believes still has a future at Vicarage Road. The 21-year-old showed enough last season to suggest he might be right, when his pace and ability on the flanks caught the eye. The performances of new singing Richarlison however, might restrict future opportunities.  West Bromwich Albion  Sam Field Tony Pulis is a footballing conservative, so handing eight Premier League appearances to teenage midfielder Sam Field says plenty about his qualities. Pulis even described Field's performance against Chelsea last term as 'smashing'. Despite interest from several Championship clubs this summer, Field has stayed at West Brom to continue his development in the youth teams. Supporting West Brom is a bit of a drag at present, but Field is one reason for optimism.  West Ham United  Declan Rice Reece Oxford will run him close, but Rice could be the long-term answer to the defensive vulnerabilities that have hindered West Ham for so long. The 18-year-old centre back has already tasted Premier League football this season, and Slaven Bilic trusted him to occupy the central position when West Ham played with a back three. There is also evidence of the 'leadership' attributes that coaches crave, as Rice captained West Ham's Under-23s to the Premier League 2 title last season. 

Who is your club's most exciting youth prospect?

Injuries may have forced his hand, but Gareth Southgate won plenty of goodwill from England fans by giving youth a chance against Germany and Brazil. Supporters find themselves rooting for the youngsters in a team for a variety of reasons. Firstly, there is an obvious romantic attachment to those viewed as 'one of your own', players who are more easily related to than your average Premier League player.  Expectation levels are also lowered when there are some fledglings on the team sheet, and because fans are often watching players for the first time their initial instinct is to accentuate good points and turn a blind eye to the bad. A victory is extra special, but any defeat can easily be explained away with 'we had the kids out'. This diffuses the frothing discontent that is so commonplace among fanbases today. So who is your club's most exciting youngster?  Arsenal  Reiss Nelson  Arsenal lost the promising Chris Willock to Benfica last summer and sold Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool, but Nelson can ensure fans quickly forget about both. Spurs were interested in him as a nine-year-old, but the red half of north London acted quickly to take him to Hale End - the site of their academy. Although Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah are promising, Nelson is the jewel in the crown.  The 17-year-old is a natural dribbler, gliding past opponents with ease and usually from the right-flank. During his Carabao Cup and Europa League starts this season, Arsene Wenger has employed him as a right-wing back which has curtailed his offensive potential. Expect to see more spectacular performances if he is played in an advanced position.  Nelson regularly started as a No.10 in the youth teams, so has highly developed spacial awareness and ability to cope in confined areas. Whereas Oxlade-Chamberlain more of a bustling 'push and run' dribbler, Nelson keeps the ball a little closer to him - not unlike his teammate Jack Wilshere, and also has a talent for scoring free-kicks.  Reiss Nelson is Arsenal's best young prospect Credit: Getty Images Bournemouth  Lewis Cook Centre back Brennan Camp, 17, could prove Bournemouth's next homegrown prospect but their best youngster is in fact a recruit from Leeds United. Cook received an England call-up in the last international break, and might well get more opportunities given England's lack of central midfield options. He also played on the flanks while at Elland Road, and Cook's main strength is his ability to carry the ball from central areas. He shields the ball very well, getting his body between ball and opponent. This also means he wins more duels than a player of his stature has a right to. Bournemouth did not attempt to sign Wilshere on a permanent basis, and Cook could well be the reason for that. Burnley Dwight McNeil   Any 17-year-old playing for an Under-23 team is worthy of attention, even if Burnley's academy is not swollen with talent like some of the bigger clubs. McNeil, who usually plays as a winger, has been singled out for praise by youth team coach and former Burnley defender Michael Duffy.   "He was a first year last year with the 18s with me and you can see he's got ability," Duff said. "It's about honing that and channeling it in the right direction, keeping his feet on the ground. He's scored a couple of goals in front of a Turf Moor crowd of about 100, ideally we want him scoring goals in front of a Turf Moor crowd of 25,000. That's the key." McNeil in Burnley Under-23s top goalscorer this season, and a club on Burnley's frugal budget they need to extract every last ounce of potential from their academy.  Brighton and Hove Albion Jayson Molumby  Midfield partner Dessie Hutchinson deserves a mention - Chris Hughton felt confident enough to start both he a Molumby in the Carabao Cup this season. However, Molumby is two years younger and was nominated for Ireland's Under-17 Player of the Year in 2016 - which was eventually won by West Ham's Declan Rice. Ireland desperately need some fresh blood, although Molumby will find Premier League minutes hard to come by as Brighton fight to stay up.  Chelsea Callum Hudson-Odoi Where do you start at Chelsea? Lewis Baker, Dujon Sterling, Trevoh Chalobah, Ethan Ampadu, Ike Ugbo among others could easily have been our choice. However, Hudson-Odoi's versatility mean he has the potential to grow into numerous different roles. This is important because young players rarely get a first-team chance in their 'natural' position, but instead are used wherever there is a lack of bodies.  Callum Hudson-Odoi in last season's Youth Cup final Credit: Rex Features A World Cup winner with England's Under-17s and provider of three assists in the final against Spain, the Chelsea man can occupy any offensive position across the pitch. Has consistently played 'above his age' at during his time at Stamford Bridge, and only turned 17 on November 7.  Crystal Palace Nya Kirby  In an act of minor revenge for the John Bostock saga, Palace managed to prise Kirby away from Tottenham and the England youth international was part of their pre-season tour of the Far East. Kirby has played most of his football in central midfield, where he likes to dribble with the ball to attract opponents and create space ahead of him.  Kirby is another on this list who was part of England's triumphant Under-17s team in India, and said: “When we met up at the start, everyone had a good winning mentality and we went out there trying to win it.We were there for five weeks but we had a good bunch of lads and it was a great place. The fans were amazing; in the final there were 63,000 in attendance which was incredible.” Everton Jonjoe Kenny  Despite their reputation for giving young players first-team opportunities, a number of prospects have proven dead ends: James Vaughan, Victor Anichebe, Jack Rodwell and even, if his situation remains the same, Ross Barkley.  The generation lead by Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are hoping to be more durable, and young full-back Jonjoe Kenny is particularly well regarded. Everton will need a long-term replacement for Seamus Coleman, and the 20-year-old Kenny is the next cab off the rank. Alexis Sanchez gave him a rough ride in a 5-2 defeat last month, and he sliced one into his own net at Leicester, but such chastening experiences are part of a young player's development. Needs to avoid a serious injury, like the one that thwarted a promising full-back from across Stanley Park, Jon Flanagan.  Huddersfield Town Philip Billing Currently on the treatment table, the 21-year-old Danish midfielder caught the eye in Huddersfield's FA Cup replay at Manchester City last season where Alan Shearer described his performance as 'brilliant'. The club's young player of the year in each of the last two seasons, Billing is a rangy central midfielder who stands out from the pack by virtue of being 6ft 5in tall and left-footed. Long-range strikes at Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City, Huddersfield's goal of the season in their promotion campaign, are proof of sound technique too.  The best young players in world football Leicester City Hamza Choudhury  An impressive afro makes him instantly recognisable, and Choudhury made his senior Leicester debut against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup this season. The 20-year-old grew up in Leicestershire and captained the club's Under-23s team. A midfielder by trade, he benefited from a loan spell with then League One club Burton Albion. His immediate family are from Bangladesh, and he could prove something of a trailblazer as one of the first top-flight British Asian footballers since Fulham's Zesh Rehman more than a decade ago.  Choudbury told the Leicester Mercury:  “Asians have family everywhere. We are all very close, so when something heart-warming happens everyone gets together to celebrate, like my debut. “I don’t really feel any pressure about being a professional from an Asian background. My family have been a great help with that, just telling me to enjoy it. “If I turned around tomorrow and said I didn’t want to play football any more they would support me. I really have their backing no matter what I don’t feel any pressure.” Liverpool Rhian Brewster An obvious choice after his goalscoring heroics at the Under-17 World Cup. Brewster actually hails from east London, and joined Liverpool from Chelsea's academy aged 15, and has since been fast-tracked into their Under-23 development team. Described as a 'natural striker' by Jurgen Klopp, Brewster has inevitably attracted comparisons to former Melwood whirlwinds Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen.  His eight goals at the World Cup were evidence of intuitive anticipation in the penalty area, but interestingly Brewster has worn the No.10 shirt for Liverpool's youth teams. A glance at his highlights show a player happy to drop off the last line of defence to link play and provide for others, though this might be a reflection of the fact he is comfortably the best player in his age group. These skills might be redundant as he develops into a centre forward at senior level, but the ability to fit into a collective is important in today's game - particularly under Jurgen Klopp. Just ask Daniel Sturridge.  Manchester City Phil Foden Like Chelsea, Man City have a treasure trove of promising players coming through. Brahim Diaz should be mentioned in dispatches, but Phil Foden is the apple of Pep Guardiola's eye. Comfortable in any midfield role, the 17-year-old has already been called up to train with City's first team and would have played against Wolves in the Carabao Cup but for England commitments at the World Cup in India. He played his part in their victory over Spain in the final, scoring twice.  Foden impressed in a pre-season outing against Manchester United this summer, rarely taking more than two touches as a he fitted seamlessly into Guardiola's style of play. Opponents will note he is strongly left-footed, but his spatial awareness and scanning of the pitch means he moves the ball quickly enough before they can force him onto his right. There will be comparisons with Wilshere, but Foden is probably more of a passer than a dribbler.  Rhian Brewster and Phil Foden's mantelpieces will be full after their summer success Credit: PA Manchester United Axel Tuanzebe  As Jose Mourinho prioritised the Europa League in the closing stretch of last season, Tuanzebe got some first-team minutes, notably away at Arsenal. The 20-year-old's favourite position is centre-back, but his opportunities at senior level could come as a full-back while he has also played in central midfield. His signature move is the way he changes gear and drives away from opponents, and his calmness in possession puts Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to shame. With the latter likely to be moved on by Jose Mourinho before too long, a pathway could open up for Tuanzebe.  Newcastle United Dan Barlaser Born in Gateshead but a Turker Under-17 international, Barlaser has just signed a contract extension to keep him at Newcastle until 2019. The 20-year-old midfielder has made three first-team appearances, and is regarded as an energetic midfielder. A former winger, Barlaser looks to control games with his passing range and also likes to shoot from distance. Rafael Benitez will plump for experience as Newcastle look to secure Premier League survival, but it has been too long since Newcastle fans really grew to love a local lad.  Southampton  Callum Slattery  An England international at youth level, Slattery signed a three-year-contract with Southampton this summer which is a mark of the club's faith in the young midfielder. Hoping to follow the likes of Callum Chambers, Matt Targett, Luke Shaw, Jack Stephens and Josh Sims and progress to Southampton's first team, Slattery is viewed as a box-to-box midfielder. The 18-year-old is yet to make a senior appearance on the south coast, and with the amount of competition in Southampton's midfield that is unlikely to change soon. If only he was a striker...  Callum Slattery in action against Cardiff's Under-23s Credit: Getty Images Stoke City Tyrese Campbell Son of pin-stripped former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell, Tyrese was picked out by Stoke manager Mark Hughes as a player with the potential to make it at Premier League level. Hughes said: "He and his father clearly looked at his prospects at Man City, a fantastic operation and clearly a great club and a huge stage for any player, but for younger players it is difficult to break through. “So we presented to him and said, ‘Listen, if you progress and you fulfil the potential that we think you’ve got then there is going to be that pathway to the first team and it is going to happen quicker than you think possibly’.” Campbell's four goals in Premier League 2 this season have all come from the penalty spot, and coach Glyn Hodges has called on him to be more selfish in front of goal.  Swansea City Joe Rodon Dubbed the 'Welsh John Stones', Rodon has attracted the attention of Celtic and Manchester City with his performances at youth level for club and country. The 20-year-old defender is yet to make his full Swansea debut, but did get to train with Chris Coleman's Wales squad in the March international break along with former teammates Neil Taylor and Ashley Williams.  "The old Swansea boys took care of me and I thought I had got off pretty lightly until they turned around and told me I could not go until I had done my initiation," Rodon recalled to Wales Online.  "I can't thank them enough for that! "I ended up doing 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Tyrell. "A few of the boys said it was pretty old school for someone of my age, but I'm definitely not going to say if I did it any justice or not!"  Tottenham Hotspur  Marcus Edwards  Mauricio Pochettino has not even bothered to play it cool with Edwards, nicknaming him 'Mini-Messi' at the Spurs training ground. His name has been on the grapevine for a few years now, but Edwards is still only 18. Slight, with a low centre of gravity, Edwards loves to drift to the right flank before cutting inside onto his favoured left-foot. As Pochettino's moniker for him suggests, Edwards loves to carry the fall and commit defenders.  This could potentially stand him in good stead because on thing Spurs lack, for all their qualities, is a wide player with trickery. Their most laboured performances this season have come at Wembley against Burnley, Swansea, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace - teams who put numbers behind the ball and asked Spurs to break them down. The likes of Clinton Njié and Georges-Kévin N'Koudou failed to make the cut, but Edwards could be the final piece in Pochettino's puzzle.  The first of many north London derbies for Marcus Edwards? Credit: Getty Images Watford  Isaac Success He might sound like a minor Martin Amis character, and behave like one off the pitch, but Success is a hugely talented player who Marco Silva believes still has a future at Vicarage Road. The 21-year-old showed enough last season to suggest he might be right, when his pace and ability on the flanks caught the eye. The performances of new singing Richarlison however, might restrict future opportunities.  West Bromwich Albion  Sam Field Tony Pulis is a footballing conservative, so handing eight Premier League appearances to teenage midfielder Sam Field says plenty about his qualities. Pulis even described Field's performance against Chelsea last term as 'smashing'. Despite interest from several Championship clubs this summer, Field has stayed at West Brom to continue his development in the youth teams. Supporting West Brom is a bit of a drag at present, but Field is one reason for optimism.  West Ham United  Declan Rice Reece Oxford will run him close, but Rice could be the long-term answer to the defensive vulnerabilities that have hindered West Ham for so long. The 18-year-old centre back has already tasted Premier League football this season, and Slaven Bilic trusted him to occupy the central position when West Ham played with a back three. There is also evidence of the 'leadership' attributes that coaches crave, as Rice captained West Ham's Under-23s to the Premier League 2 title last season. 

Who is your club's most exciting youth prospect?

Injuries may have forced his hand, but Gareth Southgate won plenty of goodwill from England fans by giving youth a chance against Germany and Brazil. Supporters find themselves rooting for the youngsters in a team for a variety of reasons. Firstly, there is an obvious romantic attachment to those viewed as 'one of your own', players who are more easily related to than your average Premier League player.  Expectation levels are also lowered when there are some fledglings on the team sheet, and because fans are often watching players for the first time their initial instinct is to accentuate good points and turn a blind eye to the bad. A victory is extra special, but any defeat can easily be explained away with 'we had the kids out'. This diffuses the frothing discontent that is so commonplace among fanbases today. So who is your club's most exciting youngster?  Arsenal  Reiss Nelson  Arsenal lost the promising Chris Willock to Benfica last summer and sold Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool, but Nelson can ensure fans quickly forget about both. Spurs were interested in him as a nine-year-old, but the red half of north London acted quickly to take him to Hale End - the site of their academy. Although Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah are promising, Nelson is the jewel in the crown.  The 17-year-old is a natural dribbler, gliding past opponents with ease and usually from the right-flank. During his Carabao Cup and Europa League starts this season, Arsene Wenger has employed him as a right-wing back which has curtailed his offensive potential. Expect to see more spectacular performances if he is played in an advanced position.  Nelson regularly started as a No.10 in the youth teams, so has highly developed spacial awareness and ability to cope in confined areas. Whereas Oxlade-Chamberlain more of a bustling 'push and run' dribbler, Nelson keeps the ball a little closer to him - not unlike his teammate Jack Wilshere, and also has a talent for scoring free-kicks.  Reiss Nelson is Arsenal's best young prospect Credit: Getty Images Bournemouth  Lewis Cook Centre back Brennan Camp, 17, could prove Bournemouth's next homegrown prospect but their best youngster is in fact a recruit from Leeds United. Cook received an England call-up in the last international break, and might well get more opportunities given England's lack of central midfield options. He also played on the flanks while at Elland Road, and Cook's main strength is his ability to carry the ball from central areas. He shields the ball very well, getting his body between ball and opponent. This also means he wins more duels than a player of his stature has a right to. Bournemouth did not attempt to sign Wilshere on a permanent basis, and Cook could well be the reason for that. Burnley Dwight McNeil   Any 17-year-old playing for an Under-23 team is worthy of attention, even if Burnley's academy is not swollen with talent like some of the bigger clubs. McNeil, who usually plays as a winger, has been singled out for praise by youth team coach and former Burnley defender Michael Duffy.   "He was a first year last year with the 18s with me and you can see he's got ability," Duff said. "It's about honing that and channeling it in the right direction, keeping his feet on the ground. He's scored a couple of goals in front of a Turf Moor crowd of about 100, ideally we want him scoring goals in front of a Turf Moor crowd of 25,000. That's the key." McNeil in Burnley Under-23s top goalscorer this season, and a club on Burnley's frugal budget they need to extract every last ounce of potential from their academy.  Brighton and Hove Albion Jayson Molumby  Midfield partner Dessie Hutchinson deserves a mention - Chris Hughton felt confident enough to start both he a Molumby in the Carabao Cup this season. However, Molumby is two years younger and was nominated for Ireland's Under-17 Player of the Year in 2016 - which was eventually won by West Ham's Declan Rice. Ireland desperately need some fresh blood, although Molumby will find Premier League minutes hard to come by as Brighton fight to stay up.  Chelsea Callum Hudson-Odoi Where do you start at Chelsea? Lewis Baker, Dujon Sterling, Trevoh Chalobah, Ethan Ampadu, Ike Ugbo among others could easily have been our choice. However, Hudson-Odoi's versatility mean he has the potential to grow into numerous different roles. This is important because young players rarely get a first-team chance in their 'natural' position, but instead are used wherever there is a lack of bodies.  Callum Hudson-Odoi in last season's Youth Cup final Credit: Rex Features A World Cup winner with England's Under-17s and provider of three assists in the final against Spain, the Chelsea man can occupy any offensive position across the pitch. Has consistently played 'above his age' at during his time at Stamford Bridge, and only turned 17 on November 7.  Crystal Palace Nya Kirby  In an act of minor revenge for the John Bostock saga, Palace managed to prise Kirby away from Tottenham and the England youth international was part of their pre-season tour of the Far East. Kirby has played most of his football in central midfield, where he likes to dribble with the ball to attract opponents and create space ahead of him.  Kirby is another on this list who was part of England's triumphant Under-17s team in India, and said: “When we met up at the start, everyone had a good winning mentality and we went out there trying to win it.We were there for five weeks but we had a good bunch of lads and it was a great place. The fans were amazing; in the final there were 63,000 in attendance which was incredible.” Everton Jonjoe Kenny  Despite their reputation for giving young players first-team opportunities, a number of prospects have proven dead ends: James Vaughan, Victor Anichebe, Jack Rodwell and even, if his situation remains the same, Ross Barkley.  The generation lead by Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are hoping to be more durable, and young full-back Jonjoe Kenny is particularly well regarded. Everton will need a long-term replacement for Seamus Coleman, and the 20-year-old Kenny is the next cab off the rank. Alexis Sanchez gave him a rough ride in a 5-2 defeat last month, and he sliced one into his own net at Leicester, but such chastening experiences are part of a young player's development. Needs to avoid a serious injury, like the one that thwarted a promising full-back from across Stanley Park, Jon Flanagan.  Huddersfield Town Philip Billing Currently on the treatment table, the 21-year-old Danish midfielder caught the eye in Huddersfield's FA Cup replay at Manchester City last season where Alan Shearer described his performance as 'brilliant'. The club's young player of the year in each of the last two seasons, Billing is a rangy central midfielder who stands out from the pack by virtue of being 6ft 5in tall and left-footed. Long-range strikes at Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City, Huddersfield's goal of the season in their promotion campaign, are proof of sound technique too.  The best young players in world football Leicester City Hamza Choudhury  An impressive afro makes him instantly recognisable, and Choudhury made his senior Leicester debut against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup this season. The 20-year-old grew up in Leicestershire and captained the club's Under-23s team. A midfielder by trade, he benefited from a loan spell with then League One club Burton Albion. His immediate family are from Bangladesh, and he could prove something of a trailblazer as one of the first top-flight British Asian footballers since Fulham's Zesh Rehman more than a decade ago.  Choudbury told the Leicester Mercury:  “Asians have family everywhere. We are all very close, so when something heart-warming happens everyone gets together to celebrate, like my debut. “I don’t really feel any pressure about being a professional from an Asian background. My family have been a great help with that, just telling me to enjoy it. “If I turned around tomorrow and said I didn’t want to play football any more they would support me. I really have their backing no matter what I don’t feel any pressure.” Liverpool Rhian Brewster An obvious choice after his goalscoring heroics at the Under-17 World Cup. Brewster actually hails from east London, and joined Liverpool from Chelsea's academy aged 15, and has since been fast-tracked into their Under-23 development team. Described as a 'natural striker' by Jurgen Klopp, Brewster has inevitably attracted comparisons to former Melwood whirlwinds Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen.  His eight goals at the World Cup were evidence of intuitive anticipation in the penalty area, but interestingly Brewster has worn the No.10 shirt for Liverpool's youth teams. A glance at his highlights show a player happy to drop off the last line of defence to link play and provide for others, though this might be a reflection of the fact he is comfortably the best player in his age group. These skills might be redundant as he develops into a centre forward at senior level, but the ability to fit into a collective is important in today's game - particularly under Jurgen Klopp. Just ask Daniel Sturridge.  Manchester City Phil Foden Like Chelsea, Man City have a treasure trove of promising players coming through. Brahim Diaz should be mentioned in dispatches, but Phil Foden is the apple of Pep Guardiola's eye. Comfortable in any midfield role, the 17-year-old has already been called up to train with City's first team and would have played against Wolves in the Carabao Cup but for England commitments at the World Cup in India. He played his part in their victory over Spain in the final, scoring twice.  Foden impressed in a pre-season outing against Manchester United this summer, rarely taking more than two touches as a he fitted seamlessly into Guardiola's style of play. Opponents will note he is strongly left-footed, but his spatial awareness and scanning of the pitch means he moves the ball quickly enough before they can force him onto his right. There will be comparisons with Wilshere, but Foden is probably more of a passer than a dribbler.  Rhian Brewster and Phil Foden's mantelpieces will be full after their summer success Credit: PA Manchester United Axel Tuanzebe  As Jose Mourinho prioritised the Europa League in the closing stretch of last season, Tuanzebe got some first-team minutes, notably away at Arsenal. The 20-year-old's favourite position is centre-back, but his opportunities at senior level could come as a full-back while he has also played in central midfield. His signature move is the way he changes gear and drives away from opponents, and his calmness in possession puts Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to shame. With the latter likely to be moved on by Jose Mourinho before too long, a pathway could open up for Tuanzebe.  Newcastle United Dan Barlaser Born in Gateshead but a Turker Under-17 international, Barlaser has just signed a contract extension to keep him at Newcastle until 2019. The 20-year-old midfielder has made three first-team appearances, and is regarded as an energetic midfielder. A former winger, Barlaser looks to control games with his passing range and also likes to shoot from distance. Rafael Benitez will plump for experience as Newcastle look to secure Premier League survival, but it has been too long since Newcastle fans really grew to love a local lad.  Southampton  Callum Slattery  An England international at youth level, Slattery signed a three-year-contract with Southampton this summer which is a mark of the club's faith in the young midfielder. Hoping to follow the likes of Callum Chambers, Matt Targett, Luke Shaw, Jack Stephens and Josh Sims and progress to Southampton's first team, Slattery is viewed as a box-to-box midfielder. The 18-year-old is yet to make a senior appearance on the south coast, and with the amount of competition in Southampton's midfield that is unlikely to change soon. If only he was a striker...  Callum Slattery in action against Cardiff's Under-23s Credit: Getty Images Stoke City Tyrese Campbell Son of pin-stripped former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell, Tyrese was picked out by Stoke manager Mark Hughes as a player with the potential to make it at Premier League level. Hughes said: "He and his father clearly looked at his prospects at Man City, a fantastic operation and clearly a great club and a huge stage for any player, but for younger players it is difficult to break through. “So we presented to him and said, ‘Listen, if you progress and you fulfil the potential that we think you’ve got then there is going to be that pathway to the first team and it is going to happen quicker than you think possibly’.” Campbell's four goals in Premier League 2 this season have all come from the penalty spot, and coach Glyn Hodges has called on him to be more selfish in front of goal.  Swansea City Joe Rodon Dubbed the 'Welsh John Stones', Rodon has attracted the attention of Celtic and Manchester City with his performances at youth level for club and country. The 20-year-old defender is yet to make his full Swansea debut, but did get to train with Chris Coleman's Wales squad in the March international break along with former teammates Neil Taylor and Ashley Williams.  "The old Swansea boys took care of me and I thought I had got off pretty lightly until they turned around and told me I could not go until I had done my initiation," Rodon recalled to Wales Online.  "I can't thank them enough for that! "I ended up doing 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Tyrell. "A few of the boys said it was pretty old school for someone of my age, but I'm definitely not going to say if I did it any justice or not!"  Tottenham Hotspur  Marcus Edwards  Mauricio Pochettino has not even bothered to play it cool with Edwards, nicknaming him 'Mini-Messi' at the Spurs training ground. His name has been on the grapevine for a few years now, but Edwards is still only 18. Slight, with a low centre of gravity, Edwards loves to drift to the right flank before cutting inside onto his favoured left-foot. As Pochettino's moniker for him suggests, Edwards loves to carry the fall and commit defenders.  This could potentially stand him in good stead because on thing Spurs lack, for all their qualities, is a wide player with trickery. Their most laboured performances this season have come at Wembley against Burnley, Swansea, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace - teams who put numbers behind the ball and asked Spurs to break them down. The likes of Clinton Njié and Georges-Kévin N'Koudou failed to make the cut, but Edwards could be the final piece in Pochettino's puzzle.  The first of many north London derbies for Marcus Edwards? Credit: Getty Images Watford  Isaac Success He might sound like a minor Martin Amis character, and behave like one off the pitch, but Success is a hugely talented player who Marco Silva believes still has a future at Vicarage Road. The 21-year-old showed enough last season to suggest he might be right, when his pace and ability on the flanks caught the eye. The performances of new singing Richarlison however, might restrict future opportunities.  West Bromwich Albion  Sam Field Tony Pulis is a footballing conservative, so handing eight Premier League appearances to teenage midfielder Sam Field says plenty about his qualities. Pulis even described Field's performance against Chelsea last term as 'smashing'. Despite interest from several Championship clubs this summer, Field has stayed at West Brom to continue his development in the youth teams. Supporting West Brom is a bit of a drag at present, but Field is one reason for optimism.  West Ham United  Declan Rice Reece Oxford will run him close, but Rice could be the long-term answer to the defensive vulnerabilities that have hindered West Ham for so long. The 18-year-old centre back has already tasted Premier League football this season, and Slaven Bilic trusted him to occupy the central position when West Ham played with a back three. There is also evidence of the 'leadership' attributes that coaches crave, as Rice captained West Ham's Under-23s to the Premier League 2 title last season. 

Who is your club's most exciting youth prospect?

Injuries may have forced his hand, but Gareth Southgate won plenty of goodwill from England fans by giving youth a chance against Germany and Brazil. Supporters find themselves rooting for the youngsters in a team for a variety of reasons. Firstly, there is an obvious romantic attachment to those viewed as 'one of your own', players who are more easily related to than your average Premier League player.  Expectation levels are also lowered when there are some fledglings on the team sheet, and because fans are often watching players for the first time their initial instinct is to accentuate good points and turn a blind eye to the bad. A victory is extra special, but any defeat can easily be explained away with 'we had the kids out'. This diffuses the frothing discontent that is so commonplace among fanbases today. So who is your club's most exciting youngster?  Arsenal  Reiss Nelson  Arsenal lost the promising Chris Willock to Benfica last summer and sold Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool, but Nelson can ensure fans quickly forget about both. Spurs were interested in him as a nine-year-old, but the red half of north London acted quickly to take him to Hale End - the site of their academy. Although Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah are promising, Nelson is the jewel in the crown.  The 17-year-old is a natural dribbler, gliding past opponents with ease and usually from the right-flank. During his Carabao Cup and Europa League starts this season, Arsene Wenger has employed him as a right-wing back which has curtailed his offensive potential. Expect to see more spectacular performances if he is played in an advanced position.  Nelson regularly started as a No.10 in the youth teams, so has highly developed spacial awareness and ability to cope in confined areas. Whereas Oxlade-Chamberlain more of a bustling 'push and run' dribbler, Nelson keeps the ball a little closer to him - not unlike his teammate Jack Wilshere, and also has a talent for scoring free-kicks.  Reiss Nelson is Arsenal's best young prospect Credit: Getty Images Bournemouth  Lewis Cook Centre back Brennan Camp, 17, could prove Bournemouth's next homegrown prospect but their best youngster is in fact a recruit from Leeds United. Cook received an England call-up in the last international break, and might well get more opportunities given England's lack of central midfield options. He also played on the flanks while at Elland Road, and Cook's main strength is his ability to carry the ball from central areas. He shields the ball very well, getting his body between ball and opponent. This also means he wins more duels than a player of his stature has a right to. Bournemouth did not attempt to sign Wilshere on a permanent basis, and Cook could well be the reason for that. Burnley Dwight McNeil   Any 17-year-old playing for an Under-23 team is worthy of attention, even if Burnley's academy is not swollen with talent like some of the bigger clubs. McNeil, who usually plays as a winger, has been singled out for praise by youth team coach and former Burnley defender Michael Duffy.   "He was a first year last year with the 18s with me and you can see he's got ability," Duff said. "It's about honing that and channeling it in the right direction, keeping his feet on the ground. He's scored a couple of goals in front of a Turf Moor crowd of about 100, ideally we want him scoring goals in front of a Turf Moor crowd of 25,000. That's the key." McNeil in Burnley Under-23s top goalscorer this season, and a club on Burnley's frugal budget they need to extract every last ounce of potential from their academy.  Brighton and Hove Albion Jayson Molumby  Midfield partner Dessie Hutchinson deserves a mention - Chris Hughton felt confident enough to start both he a Molumby in the Carabao Cup this season. However, Molumby is two years younger and was nominated for Ireland's Under-17 Player of the Year in 2016 - which was eventually won by West Ham's Declan Rice. Ireland desperately need some fresh blood, although Molumby will find Premier League minutes hard to come by as Brighton fight to stay up.  Chelsea Callum Hudson-Odoi Where do you start at Chelsea? Lewis Baker, Dujon Sterling, Trevoh Chalobah, Ethan Ampadu, Ike Ugbo among others could easily have been our choice. However, Hudson-Odoi's versatility mean he has the potential to grow into numerous different roles. This is important because young players rarely get a first-team chance in their 'natural' position, but instead are used wherever there is a lack of bodies.  Callum Hudson-Odoi in last season's Youth Cup final Credit: Rex Features A World Cup winner with England's Under-17s and provider of three assists in the final against Spain, the Chelsea man can occupy any offensive position across the pitch. Has consistently played 'above his age' at during his time at Stamford Bridge, and only turned 17 on November 7.  Crystal Palace Nya Kirby  In an act of minor revenge for the John Bostock saga, Palace managed to prise Kirby away from Tottenham and the England youth international was part of their pre-season tour of the Far East. Kirby has played most of his football in central midfield, where he likes to dribble with the ball to attract opponents and create space ahead of him.  Kirby is another on this list who was part of England's triumphant Under-17s team in India, and said: “When we met up at the start, everyone had a good winning mentality and we went out there trying to win it.We were there for five weeks but we had a good bunch of lads and it was a great place. The fans were amazing; in the final there were 63,000 in attendance which was incredible.” Everton Jonjoe Kenny  Despite their reputation for giving young players first-team opportunities, a number of prospects have proven dead ends: James Vaughan, Victor Anichebe, Jack Rodwell and even, if his situation remains the same, Ross Barkley.  The generation lead by Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are hoping to be more durable, and young full-back Jonjoe Kenny is particularly well regarded. Everton will need a long-term replacement for Seamus Coleman, and the 20-year-old Kenny is the next cab off the rank. Alexis Sanchez gave him a rough ride in a 5-2 defeat last month, and he sliced one into his own net at Leicester, but such chastening experiences are part of a young player's development. Needs to avoid a serious injury, like the one that thwarted a promising full-back from across Stanley Park, Jon Flanagan.  Huddersfield Town Philip Billing Currently on the treatment table, the 21-year-old Danish midfielder caught the eye in Huddersfield's FA Cup replay at Manchester City last season where Alan Shearer described his performance as 'brilliant'. The club's young player of the year in each of the last two seasons, Billing is a rangy central midfielder who stands out from the pack by virtue of being 6ft 5in tall and left-footed. Long-range strikes at Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City, Huddersfield's goal of the season in their promotion campaign, are proof of sound technique too.  The best young players in world football Leicester City Hamza Choudhury  An impressive afro makes him instantly recognisable, and Choudhury made his senior Leicester debut against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup this season. The 20-year-old grew up in Leicestershire and captained the club's Under-23s team. A midfielder by trade, he benefited from a loan spell with then League One club Burton Albion. His immediate family are from Bangladesh, and he could prove something of a trailblazer as one of the first top-flight British Asian footballers since Fulham's Zesh Rehman more than a decade ago.  Choudbury told the Leicester Mercury:  “Asians have family everywhere. We are all very close, so when something heart-warming happens everyone gets together to celebrate, like my debut. “I don’t really feel any pressure about being a professional from an Asian background. My family have been a great help with that, just telling me to enjoy it. “If I turned around tomorrow and said I didn’t want to play football any more they would support me. I really have their backing no matter what I don’t feel any pressure.” Liverpool Rhian Brewster An obvious choice after his goalscoring heroics at the Under-17 World Cup. Brewster actually hails from east London, and joined Liverpool from Chelsea's academy aged 15, and has since been fast-tracked into their Under-23 development team. Described as a 'natural striker' by Jurgen Klopp, Brewster has inevitably attracted comparisons to former Melwood whirlwinds Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen.  His eight goals at the World Cup were evidence of intuitive anticipation in the penalty area, but interestingly Brewster has worn the No.10 shirt for Liverpool's youth teams. A glance at his highlights show a player happy to drop off the last line of defence to link play and provide for others, though this might be a reflection of the fact he is comfortably the best player in his age group. These skills might be redundant as he develops into a centre forward at senior level, but the ability to fit into a collective is important in today's game - particularly under Jurgen Klopp. Just ask Daniel Sturridge.  Manchester City Phil Foden Like Chelsea, Man City have a treasure trove of promising players coming through. Brahim Diaz should be mentioned in dispatches, but Phil Foden is the apple of Pep Guardiola's eye. Comfortable in any midfield role, the 17-year-old has already been called up to train with City's first team and would have played against Wolves in the Carabao Cup but for England commitments at the World Cup in India. He played his part in their victory over Spain in the final, scoring twice.  Foden impressed in a pre-season outing against Manchester United this summer, rarely taking more than two touches as a he fitted seamlessly into Guardiola's style of play. Opponents will note he is strongly left-footed, but his spatial awareness and scanning of the pitch means he moves the ball quickly enough before they can force him onto his right. There will be comparisons with Wilshere, but Foden is probably more of a passer than a dribbler.  Rhian Brewster and Phil Foden's mantelpieces will be full after their summer success Credit: PA Manchester United Axel Tuanzebe  As Jose Mourinho prioritised the Europa League in the closing stretch of last season, Tuanzebe got some first-team minutes, notably away at Arsenal. The 20-year-old's favourite position is centre-back, but his opportunities at senior level could come as a full-back while he has also played in central midfield. His signature move is the way he changes gear and drives away from opponents, and his calmness in possession puts Phil Jones and Chris Smalling to shame. With the latter likely to be moved on by Jose Mourinho before too long, a pathway could open up for Tuanzebe.  Newcastle United Dan Barlaser Born in Gateshead but a Turker Under-17 international, Barlaser has just signed a contract extension to keep him at Newcastle until 2019. The 20-year-old midfielder has made three first-team appearances, and is regarded as an energetic midfielder. A former winger, Barlaser looks to control games with his passing range and also likes to shoot from distance. Rafael Benitez will plump for experience as Newcastle look to secure Premier League survival, but it has been too long since Newcastle fans really grew to love a local lad.  Southampton  Callum Slattery  An England international at youth level, Slattery signed a three-year-contract with Southampton this summer which is a mark of the club's faith in the young midfielder. Hoping to follow the likes of Callum Chambers, Matt Targett, Luke Shaw, Jack Stephens and Josh Sims and progress to Southampton's first team, Slattery is viewed as a box-to-box midfielder. The 18-year-old is yet to make a senior appearance on the south coast, and with the amount of competition in Southampton's midfield that is unlikely to change soon. If only he was a striker...  Callum Slattery in action against Cardiff's Under-23s Credit: Getty Images Stoke City Tyrese Campbell Son of pin-stripped former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell, Tyrese was picked out by Stoke manager Mark Hughes as a player with the potential to make it at Premier League level. Hughes said: "He and his father clearly looked at his prospects at Man City, a fantastic operation and clearly a great club and a huge stage for any player, but for younger players it is difficult to break through. “So we presented to him and said, ‘Listen, if you progress and you fulfil the potential that we think you’ve got then there is going to be that pathway to the first team and it is going to happen quicker than you think possibly’.” Campbell's four goals in Premier League 2 this season have all come from the penalty spot, and coach Glyn Hodges has called on him to be more selfish in front of goal.  Swansea City Joe Rodon Dubbed the 'Welsh John Stones', Rodon has attracted the attention of Celtic and Manchester City with his performances at youth level for club and country. The 20-year-old defender is yet to make his full Swansea debut, but did get to train with Chris Coleman's Wales squad in the March international break along with former teammates Neil Taylor and Ashley Williams.  "The old Swansea boys took care of me and I thought I had got off pretty lightly until they turned around and told me I could not go until I had done my initiation," Rodon recalled to Wales Online.  "I can't thank them enough for that! "I ended up doing 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Tyrell. "A few of the boys said it was pretty old school for someone of my age, but I'm definitely not going to say if I did it any justice or not!"  Tottenham Hotspur  Marcus Edwards  Mauricio Pochettino has not even bothered to play it cool with Edwards, nicknaming him 'Mini-Messi' at the Spurs training ground. His name has been on the grapevine for a few years now, but Edwards is still only 18. Slight, with a low centre of gravity, Edwards loves to drift to the right flank before cutting inside onto his favoured left-foot. As Pochettino's moniker for him suggests, Edwards loves to carry the fall and commit defenders.  This could potentially stand him in good stead because on thing Spurs lack, for all their qualities, is a wide player with trickery. Their most laboured performances this season have come at Wembley against Burnley, Swansea, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace - teams who put numbers behind the ball and asked Spurs to break them down. The likes of Clinton Njié and Georges-Kévin N'Koudou failed to make the cut, but Edwards could be the final piece in Pochettino's puzzle.  The first of many north London derbies for Marcus Edwards? Credit: Getty Images Watford  Isaac Success He might sound like a minor Martin Amis character, and behave like one off the pitch, but Success is a hugely talented player who Marco Silva believes still has a future at Vicarage Road. The 21-year-old showed enough last season to suggest he might be right, when his pace and ability on the flanks caught the eye. The performances of new singing Richarlison however, might restrict future opportunities.  West Bromwich Albion  Sam Field Tony Pulis is a footballing conservative, so handing eight Premier League appearances to teenage midfielder Sam Field says plenty about his qualities. Pulis even described Field's performance against Chelsea last term as 'smashing'. Despite interest from several Championship clubs this summer, Field has stayed at West Brom to continue his development in the youth teams. Supporting West Brom is a bit of a drag at present, but Field is one reason for optimism.  West Ham United  Declan Rice Reece Oxford will run him close, but Rice could be the long-term answer to the defensive vulnerabilities that have hindered West Ham for so long. The 18-year-old centre back has already tasted Premier League football this season, and Slaven Bilic trusted him to occupy the central position when West Ham played with a back three. There is also evidence of the 'leadership' attributes that coaches crave, as Rice captained West Ham's Under-23s to the Premier League 2 title last season. 

Champions League - Manchester United vs S.L. Benfica

Soccer Football - Champions League - Manchester United vs S.L. Benfica - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - October 31, 2017 Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho after the match Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Champions League - Manchester United vs S.L. Benfica

FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Champions League - Manchester United vs S.L. Benfica - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - October 31, 2017 Manchester United's Juan Mata warms up before the match. Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Champions League - Manchester United vs S.L. Benfica

FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Champions League - Manchester United vs S.L. Benfica - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - October 31, 2017 Manchester United's Juan Mata in action with Benfica's Jardel as smoke hangs in the air after flares were set off in the stand. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Mexico team news: Jimenez and Aquino start up top vs. Poland as El Tri moves to five-man defense

The Benfica forward and Tigres winger will spearhead the attack while Jesus Gallardo and Miguel Layun are wingbacks in a 5-3-2

Marcus Rashford se aquece antes de partida entre Manchester United e S.L. Benfica, em Manchester, Reino Unido

Marcus Rashford se aquece antes de partida entre Manchester United e S.L. Benfica, em Manchester, Reino Unido 31/10/2017 Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

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Soccer Football - Champions League - Manchester United vs S.L. Benfica - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - October 31, 2017 Manchester United's Marcus Rashford warms up before the match Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff/Files

FILE PHOTO: Football Soccer - Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg - Champions League

FILE PHOTO: Football Soccer - Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg - Champions League - Luz stadium, Lisbon, Portugal - February 16, 2016 - Zenit St. Petersburg's Javi Garcia in action against Benfica. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante/File Photo

FILE PHOTO - Football Soccer - Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg - Champions League

FILE PHOTO - Football Soccer - Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg - Champions League - Luz stadium, Lisbon, Portugal - February 16, 2016 - Zenit St. Petersburg's Javi Garcia in action against Benfica. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante/File Photo

Northern Ireland 0 Switzerland 1: Furious Jonny Evans says penalty decision was 'even worse than the Thierry Henry v Ireland handball'

The good news for Northern Ireland is they still have another 90 minutes to try to put things right but they will travel to Basel for the second leg of this World Cup play-off on Sunday nursing an acute and indisputable sense of injustice. Switzerland were the better team but they owe their slender lead largely thanks to an alarmingly incompetent piece of officiating from Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan that Michael O’Neill called the worst he had ever seen in international football and saw the biggest night of football in Belfast for 36 years descend into acrimony. “Staggering” and “bewildering” were two of the other words the livid Northern Ireland manager used to describe Hategan’s decision to penalise Corry Evans for a perceived handball, when in fact the ball had hit his back, and award the Swiss a penalty that Ricardo Rodriguez converted. To compound matters, Evans picked up a booking in the process and will now be suspended for the second leg and Hategan’s decision to book rather than send off Switzerland defender Fabian Schar for an awful, two footed lunge on Stuart Dallas in the fifth minute merely added insult to injury. Dallas struggled on before being substituted early in the second half and could also now miss the return game. What is it about the Irish, handballs and World Cup play-offs? Few across the border in Ireland have forgotten about Thierry Henry’s unpunished handball in the lead up to the goal from William Gallas that controversially sent France to the 2010 World Cup finals. The ball hits Corry Evans' back - but a penalty was given Credit:  Getty Images Europe And if Hategan’s ineptitude is not to play a crucial role in taking Switzerland to Russia, Northern Ireland will have to make history. No team has ever lost the first leg of a World Cup play-off at home and retrieved the situation. They must also overcome a side that has not lost a competitive home match for over three years. "It was actually a worse decision (than Thierry Henry's handball) because the ref has made a call that was not there," Jonny Evans, Corry's brother, said Asked if he had seen a poorer decision from a referee, O’Neill said: “Well certainly not in any of the games that I have been involved in, particularly at this level, no. I am not in a position to say the referee is incompetent but it’s just staggering in this day and age when the stakes are so high that something like that is a game changer. “The ball clearly strikes Corry on the back and the referee has a clear view of the incident. I thought he had given an offside or something. I spent three hours in a video conference with Fifa the other week on video assistant referees (VAR) and certainly when you see what happened tonight you would be an advocate of it.” VAR will be trialled for the first time in an official game in the UK in England’s friendly against Germany at Wembley on Friday evening although a fat lot of good that does Northern Ireland. In truth, though, help and video replays should not have been required in this instance, and when Hategan did point to the spot, the only surprise greater than that on the faces of the players was that the assistant referee did not intervene and explain to Hategan the error of his ways. Rodriguez gets a pass away down the Switzerland left  Xherdan Shaqiri’s reaction after rifling a volley at Evans, who was standing only a few yards away, was telling in itself. There was no appeal for a penalty from the Stoke playmaker who, like most others, had seen Evans turn his back on the shot and watch it deflect off the upper back part of his shoulder and away. “It was disgraceful,” Evans said. “I clearly didn’t put my hand up. I know it him me on the back of the shoulder and I’m just absolutely gutted. He’s booked me which means I’m out of the second leg as well which is devastating.” Just as Northern Ireland cannot allow anger to ruin their focus in Basel, though – O’Neill talked about channeling that rage – so they will have to perform better than they did here. Northern Ireland vs Switzerland shots on goal Switzerland created the better chances and looked the superior side, although Northern Ireland’s reaction after the penalty was impressive. However, for large periods of the first half they were sucked deeper and deeper and rode their luck, as they did at times before Rodriguez scored. Haris Seferovic should have scored in the 17th minute. Shaqiri played a sublime raking pass on the turn over the head of Gareth McAuley and into the path of the Benfica striker, who stuck out a foot and poked the ball towards the far corner which Michael McGovern managed to get his fingertips to. Jonny Evans had earlier made a terrific block to deny Blerim Dzemaili, who later provided a cross that Seferovic narrowly failed to reach as it zipped across the face of the goal. Northern Ireland’s best hope of a goal looked to be from a set-piece but they wasted a series of good dead ball situations and Josh Magennis was guilty of sending a header wide from an inviting position from Chris Brunt’s free-kick. 9:36PM Full-time That's that. The full-time whistle goes and it finishes Northern Ireland 0 Switzerland 1.  Switzerland were much the better side, but their winning goal was never a penalty in a million years. The Swiss could also have been down to 10 men after a few minutes for Fabian Schar's reckless challenge on Stuart Dallas.  9:35PM 90+4 min Slightly comical moment here as Saville goes charging over to berate Lichtsteiner after the full-back goes down with cramp.  9:33PM 90+2 min Xhaka gives away a needless free-kick around 40 yards out. Brunt clips it in, but Switzerland hack the ball away.  9:31PM 90 min End to end stuff as Northern Ireland go flooding forward, which is leaving themselves open to the counter.  Four minutes of time added on... Northern Ireland vs Switzerland shots on goal 9:30PM 89 min Akanji was brought in to replace the injured Djourou tonight, and he's barely put a foot wrong. So quick and lots of clever interceptions.  9:28PM 87 min Final Swiss change as Mehmedi comes on for the very impressive Zuber.  9:27PM 86 min Saville bursts into the box and goes down under the challenge of Xhaka. The crowd scream for a penalty, but it's an excellent tackle with the ball won cleanly. Even Gerry Armstrong accepts the decision!  9:25PM 85 min Still no shots on target from NI, who have really lacked quality in the final third tonight.  Northern Ireland vs Switzerland shots on goal 9:25PM 84 min Penalty shout for Northern Ireland as Magennis' header hits Rodriguez from close in, but it's his chest rather than his hand.  Switzerland make another change, as Frei comes on for Dzemaili.  9:22PM 81 min NI asking questions of their opponents with a flurry of long throws, but Switzerland are holding firm at the moment.  9:19PM 78 min Switzerland make their first change - Embolo on for Seferovic.  NI make their last change - Washington on for Lafferty.  9:14PM 74 min Lafferty wins another free-kick for his team, and this time it's within shooting distance. It's a few yards to the right, so well set up for Brunt's left foot - about 25 yards out. Brunt goes for power, but it's wide of the far post.   9:13PM 71 min Best chance of the night for NI, and unsurprisingly it came from a set play. Brunt curls in an absolute peach from the right, but Magennis nods a free header wide. Huge opportunity gone.  Michael O'Neill tries to get his team going  9:10PM 69 min The visitors are going for the kill, but Shaqiri can't get enough on his pull-back and McGovern gratefully gathers.  9:08PM 67 min  Switzerland stroking the ball around comfortably, as they've done for much of the game.  Possession: Northern Ireland vs Switzerland 9:06PM 65 min Another NI change - Corry Evans off for the Millwall midfielder George Saville.  9:05PM 64 min  Ward, whose been a ball of energy since coming on, is booked for a late challenge on Lichtsteiner.  9:03PM 62 min A very old-school chant of "The referee's a w*****" rings around Windsor Park.  9:02PM 60 min Corry Evans meanwhile picked up a booking for that 'handball', and he'll be suspended for the second leg. Gerry Armstrong is absolutely raging about the decision! It did look harsh to be fair.  Evans was so close to Shaqiri and I'm not sure it even hit his hand!  8:59PM GOAL! Northern Ireland 0 Switzerland 1 (Rodriguez 58') Rodriguez sweeps the ball into the bottom right-hand corner with his left foot, sending McGovern the wrong way.  Northern Ireland 0 - 1 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 58 min) 8:58PM 57 min Penalty Switzerland! Shaqiri's volley is blocked by Corry Evans, and the referee deems it as handball. That looks very harsh given how close Evans was to Shaqiri when he made the block.  8:57PM 56 min Oh my, Switzerland are inches away from taking the lead. Dzemaili fizzes a low cross that is just in front of Seferovic, who would have had a tap in from a couple of yards out. Switzerland can't believe they haven't scored.  8:54PM 53 min Shaqiri has a go from about 30 yards, but I'm not exaggerating when I say it's closer to flying out of the stadium than hitting the back of the net. Switzerland running out of ideas?  8:53PM 52 min The rain is flying down now, and it's pathetic fallacy for Dallas, who looks gutted to be replaced by Nottingham Forest winger Jamie Ward.  8:51PM 49 min Dallas is still on, but he's really not moving freely. Come on pal, think it's time to go off.  8:48PM 46 min That is mighty close for Switzerland. Brunt misses Rodriguez's cross, and the ball falls to Shaqiri on the edge of the box. The Stoke man cuts inside and curls a beauty of a shot that just tickles the crossbar as it floats agonisingly too high. NI living extremely dangerously.  8:47PM 46 min We're back underway. Dallas is back out for NI despite that ankle knock.  8:41PM Deadlock Lots of Swiss probing, plenty of dogged Northern Irish defending, and a whole lot of nothing on the scoreboard. Lichtsteiner, Zakaria and Zuber have all impressed for Switzerland, while Jonny Evans has been a rock at the back for the hosts.   The main talking point has been whether Schar should have been sent off for clattering into Dallas. It's a call that really could have gone either way, and isn't that interesting to keep poring over. Northern Ireland vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:31PM Half-time Switzerland well on top, but it's goalless at the break.  8:30PM 45 min Very nearly for Switzerland, but Lichtsteiner slips as he tries to latch onto Seferovic's flick-on. The full-back was clean through if he'd kept his feet.  Possession: Northern Ireland vs Switzerland 8:27PM 43 min Shaqiri and Lichtsteiner are so dangerous in tandem down the Swiss right, but it's brilliant defensive work by Jonny Evans to block the right back's cross after the pair had linked up once again.  8:26PM 42 min Dallas is back on, but wincing in pain. He actually manages to get on the ball straight away and dig out a cross, but it's badly misplaced.  8:25PM 41 min Real shame for Northern Ireland. Dallas has not recovered from getting clobbered by Schar early on, and he's surely going to have to be replaced. Gerry Armstrong is insistent that it should have been a red card. Personally I think that would have been a touch harsh.  8:23PM 38 min NI try their luck with another long throw, and Lafferty feels he was pushed in the area by Schar as he tried to get on the end of it. Nothing really in that though.  8:20PM 35 min Zakaria in the centre of midfield is really having an excellent game and making his presence felt. He and Xhaka are running the show at the moment. Seferovic meanwhile heads Lichtsteiner's cross well off target.  8:16PM 31 min Switzerland counter at break-neck speed and eventually win a free-kick down the left. Xhaka whips it in, and it's a good one, but Evans manages to head it away.  Northern Ireland vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:14PM 29 min Some respite for Northern Ireland as they force Switzerland into a few clever headed clearances from some hoiked crosses into the box.  8:12PM 27 min Switzerland are putting together some lovely passing moves, but as yet they can't quite make a breakthrough. To give you an idea of how the game is panning out - Switzerland have made 162 passes to Northern Ireland's 53.  8:09PM 23 min Lichtsteiner once more comes flying forward down the right and he digs out a cross that Zuber can't quite get a good connection on. All Switzerland at the moment.  8:06PM 20 min We probably knew this already but for NI to qualify, Switzerland are going to have to be extremely wasteful over the two legs. The visitors look like creating chances pretty much every time they go forward.  8:04PM 18 min Yeah this is a really strong period for Switzerland. Lichtsteiner is again in lots of space down the right, and his low pinpoint cross is cleared by McAuley. Moments later Shaqiri picks out Seferovic with a beautiful diagonal, but the striker's hooked volley is well saved by McGovern. Backs to the wall stuff from Northern Ireland.  Attempt Saved: Northern Ireland 0 - 0 Switzerland (Haris Seferovic, 18 min) 8:01PM 17 min Switzerland offer a real threat down both flanks, and this time it's down the right where they make hay. Lichtsteiner bombs forward and clips in a lovely cross that just evades Zuber.  7:59PM 14 min NI look most dangerous from set pieces, and a high ball into the box is met well by McAuley before Lafferty has a volley deflected wide. The resulting corner is headed over by Jonny Evans from about 10 yards out. Not an easy chance.  7:58PM 12 min Zubrr does brilliantly down the left - he looks a real handful - and he picks out Xhaka around 25 yards from goal. Again though the Arsenal man is off target with a left-footed curler.  Miss: Northern Ireland 0 - 0 Switzerland (Granit Xhaka, 12 min) 7:55PM 9 min Switzerland enjoy a good period and create a couple of decent chances. First Dzemaili has a shot blocked inside the area before Xhaka fires over from the edge of the box. The pressure is really building for Switzerland here.  7:52PM 6 min Brunt hoists in the resulting free-kick, which is headed clear by Xhaka. That Dallas break incidentally came from a misplaced Xhaka pass.  7:50PM 5 min Schar picks up an early booking for a really bad tackle on Dallas. He went absolutely flying into the Northern Ireland forward as he broke clear down the left.  7:48PM 4 min Lafferty stabs a volley well wide from another Magennis cross as NI try and keep the pressure up in the early stages.  7:47PM 3 min The noise really is deafening, and the stadium is awash with green and white. Magennis does well down the right and whips a cross in, but it's well cleared by the Swiss defence. Real up and at 'em start from the hosts.  7:45PM Kick-off We're under way. A reminder of the teams - Michael O'Neill has opted for Kyle Lafferty up front ahead of Conor Washington.  Northern Ireland (4-3-3): McGovern; McLaughlin, McAuley, J Evans, Brunt; Norwood, C Evans, Davis; Magennis, Lafferty, Dallas. Switzerland (4-2-3-1): Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Akanji, Schar, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Zakaria; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. 7:43PM What a noise The anthems are belted out, and Steven Davis is presented with a trophy to mark him winning his 100th NI cap. I feel I'm contractually obliged to describe this as a 'nice touch'.  7:39PM Fortress Windsor NI have won nine of their last 11 home matches, and the atmosphere at Windsor Park is absolutely electric. Teams are in the tunnel about to come out... 7:19PM On a tightrope Steven Davis, Jonny Evans, Corry Evans, Stuart Dallas, Oliver Norwood and Josh Magennis are all one yellow card away from a suspension that would rule them out of the second leg. 7:11PM What's been said Northern Ireland ended a 30-year wait for a finals appearance as they reached Euro 2016 and Josh Magennis, 27, wants to again experience the wave of emotion which greeted that achievement. "We didn't realise the magnitude of [qualifying for] France until we were here about to go and social media-wise and media-wise, it was just everywhere. "What it did for the country, not just ourselves, was basically unite people for about a month. It was absolutely massive." Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis, who is set to win his 100th cap, says his side must get their midfield balance right at Windsor Park. "From seeing some early analysis of them, they're clearly very comfortable in possession," said the Northern Ireland skipper. "It's going to be a difficult game. If you look at their results in qualifying, they were very unfortunate not to qualify automatically for the World Cup.  Steve Davis wins his 100th cap on Thursday night "The biggest thing for us is going to be getting that balance right, between pressing and cutting off the lines for them to play through. "If we can do that, we know we've got the quality to hurt them, and there are weaknesses we can exploit." 6:58PM Preamble Evening all, Can Northern Ireland take a big step tonight towards ending 31 years of hurt by qualifying for their first World Cup since 1986? Standing in their way are Switzerland, who have qualified for the previous three World Cups and are a little miffed to be in the playoffs having taken 27 points from their 10 group matches. In fact they're probably feeling a bit like someone who's just smashed a job interview only to be told "sorry, we had the absolutely perfect candidate come in after you".  But anyway, enough of my employment history, here the Swiss are at Windsor Park where they will be up against the formidable Northern Irish rearguard that kept seven clean sheets in 10 qualifying matches.  The West Brom pair of Gareth McAuley and Jonny Evans are the defensive bedrock of the side, while further forward Steven Davis will provide the dynamism and energy from midfield as he earns his 100th international cap.  Up front, Kyle Lafferty (one of those David Healy/Miroslav Klose types who is far better at international than club level) and Josh Magennis will look to unsettle the Swiss back four, which is without former Arsenal centre-back Johan Djourou. Current Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka will pull the strings for Switzerland tonight, while Xherdan Shaqiri will be tasked with providing the creative spark.  Juventus's Stephan Lichtsteiner and AC Milan's Ricardo Rodriguez will offer width and an attacking threat from the full-back positions.  My prediction for what it's worth is Northern Ireland 0 Switzerland 1.  6:51PM Teams are in  Northern Ireland:McGovern, McLaughlin, McAuley, J Evans, Brunt, Norwood , C Evans, Davis, Magennis, Lafferty, Dallas Switzerland: Sommer, Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodríguez, Xhaka, Zakaria, Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber, Seferovic 6:06PM Preview - Fighting talk from Ward We'll be back at 6.45pm with the team news and then the build-up to tonight's World Cup play-off, but before then here's a wee preview from our pals at the Press Association.  Jamie Ward has cranked up the pressure on Switzerland by telling them Northern Ireland will thrive as the underdogs in their World Cup play-off. The Northern Irish missed out on being seeded for the draw last month by virtue of their world ranking, so knew they would face either the Swiss, Italy, Croatia or Denmark over two legs to determine their Russia fate. Nottingham Forest forward Ward, back in Michael O'Neill's fold for the first time since March having overcome a calf problem, had no qualms with that and has told Switzerland they have to handle the expectation. Vladimir Petkovic's team arrived in Belfast on Tuesday ahead of Thursday's first leg, and Ward said: "They've got to take their chances. Everyone is expecting them to win in the football world. Michael O'Neill has done a magnificent job as Northern Ireland manager Credit: Getty Images "They're obviously the seeded team, so the pressure's more on them than us. "We're always great as the underdogs, so I think it was a bit of a bonus us not being seeded. "If you're seeded, you get a little more pressure on yourself so we'll go into this game as underdogs again. Hopefully we can be worthy winners. "We'd love something heading over there. I think we're strong at home and you've seen that over the last few years. "If we play the way we can play, I don't see why we can't take a lead out there or at least a positive result." Should O'Neill's team find a way past the Swiss, they would end a 32-year exile from the World Cup finals and become the first Northern Irish side in history to make back-to-back major tournaments. With Wales and Scotland already out of the running, and the Republic of Ireland involved in their own play-off, Ward feels the Northern Irish are still not getting the recognition they warrant. "I think people see it as it's Northern Ireland and they've not done well for a long time, but on the other side they will go and buy players from the Republic squad," he added. "Premier League clubs are happy to do that. We're just as good as them, but it's obviously someone taking a risk or a chance on us and letting us prove we're worth playing at the next level."

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