FFC Talent Watch List: The Class of 2000

In the ever-changing business of football, young players are making their debuts earlier and earlier. Some have played for their senior teams since as young as 16, and the expectations have accordingly risen for young players.

With the likes of Kylian Mbappe already requiring a £166million transfer fee, clubs have started to keep a closer eye on young talents and sign them at a very young age. This is in part to help shape them to the club’s liking, but also to avoid astronomical transfer sums as the market keeps growing.

With that in mind, here are some of the standout talents born in the year 2000 that appear destined for greatness. Would you invest now before their market values spiral out of control?

Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho - Career Stats 2

DOB: 25.03.2000

Current Club: Borussia Dortmund

Nationality: England

-Caps/Goals: 3/0

Current Market Value: £40.5million

Position: LW, LF, ST

A product of Manchester City’s youth academy, Jadon Sancho already grabbed Pep Guardiola’s attention before making a name for himself in the Bundesliga. He was regularly asked to train with first team from the age of 16, before making the move to Borussia Dortmund in 2017. Sancho surprised critics by making 12 appearances in his first season, scoring one and assisting four.

His first season was not forgotten, with new manager Lucien Favre calling upon Sancho frequently throughout the current campaign. In October, Sancho became the youngest player to score a brace in the Bundesliga, leaving no doubt that Dortmund’s future is a bright one.

Vinicius Junior

Vinicius Junior career stats 2

DOB: 12.06.2000

Current Club: Real Madrid

Nationality: Brazil

Current Market Value: £31.5 Million

Position: LW, RW, ST

At the time of his signing, many were incredulous at the fact that Real Madrid were willing to splash £54.9 million for an 18-year-old from Brazil. Under Julen Lopetegui’s charge, Vinicius Junior wasn’t given much of a chance to make an impact but Santiago Solari was more than happy to give the young Brazilian a chance, and started him in the Copa del Rey. Vinicius Junior may not have scored on his debut, but his fast, direct style of play impressed many, as Madrid cruised to a 4-0 win.

Ethan Ampadu

Ethan Ampadu - Career Stats

DOB: 14.09.2000

Current Club: Chelsea

Nationality: Wales

– Caps/Goals: 5/0

Current Market Value: £4.5million

Position: CB, CDM

Ethan Ampadu has emerged as one of Chelsea’s brightest talents for the future, as he seems to collect one youngest player award after another. He was Exeter City’s youngest ever player, as well as Chelsea’s eighth youngest debutant and the Blues’ first 21st century-born player. Amapdu’s performances for Chelsea also led to a Wales call up, making his senior international debut in November 2017. Ampadu is currently the bedrock of the Chelsea defence at U23 level, but should get more chances in cup competitions as the season goes on.

Christian Früchtl

Christian Fruchtl - Career Stats

DOB: 28.01.2000

Current Club: Bayern Munich

Nationality: Germany

Current Market Value: £135k

Position: GK

Christian Früchtl is a product of Bayern Munich’s youth academy, which underwent a major remodeling and relocation in 2017 to the newly built FC Bayern Youth Campus. He began training with the first team in 2016, travelling with the team to Qatar for the annual winter training camp. It was there that he left a lasting impression, eventually being offered a professional contract in 2017.

Regarded by many as Manuel Neuer’s future replacement, Früchtl is now officially the third-choice ‘keeper, regularly training with Neuer and backup Sven Ulreich, while getting playing time with the Reserves in the German fourth division.

Lukas Mai

Lukas Mai - Career Stats

DOB: 31.03.2000

Current Club: Bayern Munich

Nationality: Germany

Current Market Value: £540k

Position: CB, CDM

Many were surprised to see a completely unknown quantity in Lukas Mai on the team sheet in April 2018 against Hannover. The then 17-year-old got his chance as Bayern rested many first team players ahead of their Champions League tie with Real Madrid. Mai took his chance, completing 90% of his passes and winning seven tackles.

Captain of the Bayern U19s and a regular for the Germany U19s, Mai shows impeccable reading of the game, using his tall frame to win headers and cut out passes left, right, and centre. His Bundesliga debut was just a taste of what he could offer the first team in the future, and with his young age, Mai is shaping up to be a promising asset for the club.

Callum Hudson-Odoi

Callum Hudson-Odoi - Career Stats

DOB: 07.11.2000

Current Club: Chelsea

Nationality: England

Position: LW, CAM, RW

In the past, Chelsea have often struggled to bring players through the youth system into the first team. But one player who seems to be ready to break that curse is Callum Hudson-Odoi. The 17-year-old has proven to be a versatile winger, putting in very good performances during preseason and showing glimpses of his quality in the Community Shield defeat to Manchester City. New Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has also reassured the media that he sees no reason why Hudson-Odoi won’t get his chance to break into the first team.

Alphonso Davies

Alphonso Davies - Career Stats

DOB: 25.03.2000

Current Club: Vancouver Whitecaps (Moving to FC Bayern Munich on 03.01.2019)

Nationality: Canada

– Caps/Goals: 8/3

Current Market Value: £9million

Position: LW, RW

Born in a refugee camp in Ghana, Alphonso Davies moved to Canada aged five. It was here that he found his love for the game and eventually joined the Vancouver Whitecaps youth academy in 2015. At age 15, Davies made his MLS debut, which was followed by his Canadian debut a year later. Davies went on to play his first full MLS season in 2018, and was directly involved in 18 goals from 31 appearances.

His impressive stats soon had all the major clubs in Europe knocking on his door, with Bayern Munich securing his signature over the summer. Davies will join the squad in January 2019, after his contract with the Whitecaps expires.

Phil Foden

Phil Foden - Career Stats

DOB: 28.05.2000

Current Club: Manchester City

Nationality: England

Current Market Value: £13.5million

Position: CM, CAM, RM

Phil Foden is another crown jewel to emerge from the youth academy at Manchester City. Foden has already proven that he can handle first team football, as Guardiola has trusted the youngster on 12 occasions in the Premier League, as well as four times on Europe’s biggest stage – the Champions League.

The agile midfielder has already earned praise from Guardiola, with the Spaniard during the summer calling Foden “a gift” for Manchester City. Additional honours have been bestowed upon the 18-year-old as he was shortlisted for 2018 Golden Boy award.

Jann-Fiete Arp

Jann-Fiete Arp - Career Stats

DOB: 06.01.2000

Current Club: Hamburger SV

Nationality: Germany

Current Market Value: £6.75million

Position: CF, CAM, ST

Jann-Fiete Arp made his Bundesliga debut at the tender age of 17 and has continued to impress ever since. Even during Hamburg’s disastrous 2017/18 campaign, Arp proved to be a rare ray of light in an otherwise dismal side. His performances grabbed the attention of the top clubs, but Arp declined their interest – opting to gain experience in the 2. Bundesliga by extending his contract in Hamburg until 2020.

Timothy Weah

Timothy Weah - Career Stats 2

DOB: 22.02.2000

Current Club: Paris SG

Nationality: USA

– Caps/goals: 8/1

Current Market Value: £4.5million

Position: CF, LW, RW

The young American could have played for any one of four countries, namely the USA, France, Jamaica, or Liberia. In the end, Weah opted to play for the USA, citing interest in being part of a reboot of the US national team. Weah became part of a core group of youngsters, among them Christian Pulisic and Weston Mckennie, and made his international debut in March 2018.

The youngster has impressed many with this attitude, considering he is the son of PSG and AC Milan legend George Weah. Weah Senior shares his son’s patience, encouraging him to learn and wait his turn.

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