Five teenage talents of tomorrow

The 18-year-old Dane Christian Eriksen showed rare poise against England this week. Sam Wallace picks out a selection of the world game's other brightest youngsters
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The Independent Football

Romelu Lukaku

17 years old, Anderlecht

At 6ft 3in and already a Belgium international he is arguably the most sought after young striker in Europe. Compared in style to Didier Drogba, Lukaku will probably be prised away from Anderlecht this summer. Mentioned at length by Jose Mourinho this season as a player for the future.

He is part of a new generation of Belgian players who could form one of the most talented international squads in Europe in years to come. As well as Everton's Marouane Fellaini there is also Eden Hazard of Lille. Lukaku thought to be the pick of the bunch.

Iker Muniain

18, Athletic Bilbao

More commonly referred to as "the Basque Rooney", Muniain was developed by Bilbao youth academy and has much in common with the England striker. Fearless, powerful and not blessed with the movie star looks of some of his fellow leading players in Spain, Muniain has established himself in the Athletic first team.

He plays as a winger but will surely develop into a more direct goalscorer as he matures and hold the record for being the club's youngest ever goalscorer at 16. In fifth place in La Liga, the Bilbao team he is part of are having a good season.

Mario Goetze

18, Borussia Dortmund

No surprises here – the Germans have done it again. At 18, Goetze, a player in the style of Mesut Ozil, has already won two caps for the senior national team and looks like an excellent prospect. He plays in the bright Dortmund side that are 12 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga.

Not only a talented footballer, Goetze is also said to be one of the most intelligent young players in Germany. His father is a professor at one of Dortmund's universities. Has been at the club since he was a child and is used on the wing or as a playmaker.

Juan Manuel Iturbe

17, Quilmes

A winger of small stature who plays for the Argentine side Quilmes, Iturbe has been compared to Lionel Messi because of his size and his skill. He was taken to the World Cup finals in South Africa last summer along with a group of good young players to gain experience of what it is like to play at the highest level.

Scored the winning goal for Argentina Under-20s against Brazil this month. Will be in the Argentina side that plays in the Under-20s World Cup in Colombia this summer. Another major target for European clubs scouting in Argentina.


18, Internazionale

Looked a sensational player against Tottenham in the Champions League fixture at San Siro in October. He was bought from Vasco de Gama three years ago and loaned back to the Rio de Janeiro club before coming to Italy to begin his Inter career last year.

Against Spurs he featured on the left side but is capable of playing on either wing and can also operate as an attacking midfielder. Coutinho's small stature – he is just over 5ft 7in – has been cited as a barrier to him succeeding at the highest level but he already has his first Brazil cap.