The 2018 World Cup in Russia is swiftly approaching, with 32 nations from around the globe set to battle it out for football’s grandest international honour.
Usual suspects will be on show in this summer’s highly anticipated tournament on European soil, but there are a host of young stars ready to prove their worth and showcase their talents on the biggest stage of all.
Here we look at five of the most exciting young players potentially set to take the latest World Cup by storm for their respective countries on Russian territory.
We start with Germany, the reigning world champions and current 9/2 favourites to retain their World Cup crown this summer.
Die Mannschaft boast one of the brightest young talents in European football, Bayern Munich starlet Joshua Kimmich. The 23-year-old midfielder has become a revelation since arriving at the German giants from RB Leipzig.
While technically brilliant at undertaking the central midfield role, Kimmich has made the right back position his own for club and country, and this summer’s World Cup could be the tournament in which he becomes a household name for Germany.
In recent seasons, Kylian Mbappe has quickly risen to prominence in France’s main division Ligue 1, after swapping the south coast of Monaco for dominant force PSG.
At still just 19 years of age when the Russia-based event rolls around, the mercurial young Frenchman has the world at his feet and could play a huge roll for France.
In March of this year he became the second youngest player ever to feature for Les Bleus at 18 just years, three months and five days old. He now has the opportunity to shoot to further footballing stardom with eye-catching performances on Russian turf.
Manchester City have been benefiting massively from the talents of Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus, since he arrived at the Etihad from Palmeiras in 2017.
The 21-year-old is another hot prospect to arise from the Samba nation and there are high hopes and expectations already placed upon his young shoulders ahead of the World Cup.
With a taste of silverware success already in his career with both Manchester City and Brazil, having captured an Olympic Gold medal back in 2016, Jesus could ultimately prove to his country’s saviour this summer.
Staying with the South American nations next and Brazil’s bitter rivals Argentina also have a potential ace in the pack when it comes to attempting to clinch the greatest prize of them all in Russia.
La Albiceleste have arguably the best player in history within their national ranks, in the form of Barcelona icon Lionel Messi, but that hasn’t helped them so far in their pursuit of international honours.
Paulo Dybala is the latest youngster to capture the hearts of Argentina fans and they have hopes for him at the World Cup, alongside a star-studded attacking line-up. But, it’s perhaps their defence that supporters should be worried about during proceedings.
Last but certainly not least, unless there’s another group stage exit, it’s England. The Three Lions don’t have the usual hype and hope surrounding them this time around, but they do possess plenty of fresh young stars ready to make an impact.
This includes Manchester United attacking ace Marcus Rashford, who has become the biggest prospect in English football, since bursting on to the scene at Old Trafford in recent campaigns.
The 20-year-old could be a pivotal player for Gareth Southgate’s side in Russia, if he’s actually given the chance to shine on the pitch and showcase why everyone at Man Utd regard him so highly. England are seen as 16/1 outsiders with William Hill to finally go all the way again this summer in the 2018 World Cup.