For all the information and queries regarding this feature, we recommend reading this document. Feel free to contact us if you have any issues regarding the list. 100 Best Young Players to Watch-Out for in 2014 | Midfielders (20 – 11)
20) Thorgan Hazard
Who is he?: Hazard is a 20 year old who plays for Chelsea and is currently on loan to Belgian side Zulte-Waregem. He plays for the Belgian U-21 side and is of course the younger brother of Eden Hazard.
Back in 2013: Hazard has spent the entire year on loan at Zulte-Waregem and will do so for the first half of 2014 as well. The first half of the year was the latter part of his first loan spell at the club and he was a regular starter for the club both in the last part of the regular league and in the playoffs. He played most of his games on either of the wings and scored 4 goals and 10 assists in the league. He returned on loan and has had an even better season featuring in a central role. He scored 1 and made the other in the opening league game of the season against Lierse. He also notably scored 1 and made 3 goals in a 4-3 win over Anderlecht. He’s started every one of the 21 league games chalking up 9 goals and 11 assists. He also played in every Europa League game scoring 2 goals and registering 3 assists.
Hazard is a part of the Belgian U-21 set up and has started 5 out of their 6 qualifiers thus far including a 3-1 win over Italy in which he scored. He’s also been capped at the senior level making a brief appearance against USA.
Looking to 2014: Despite apparent interest from Anderlecht, it looks like Hazard will complete this season on loan to Zulte. Of immediate concern will obviously be minimizing the gap at the top heading into the Playoffs. Attacking midfielders aren’t exactly a scarce commodity at Chelsea, so it remains to be seen where he’ll be playing next season. Hazard will also be hoping to make the senior squad for the World Cup.
19) Mateo Kovacic
Back in 2013: Kovacic started the year as a Dinamo Zagreb player but made the switch to the Italian giants in late January. He made 11 starts in the second half of the season registering an assist against Atalanta and played as a deep central midfielder for most part. He’s made 6 starts for Inter in this season and has been substituted a further 11 times. His versatility has enabled him to play a more advanced role when called upon to do so.
Kovacic is already a part of the national set up and appeared in the recent World Cup qualifiers. He started in the second leg of the playoff against Iceland and provided an assist in the 2-0 victory over them.
Looking to 2014: With the World Cup on the horizon, Kovacic will definitely be looking to break into the starting line up at Inter and play more. Inter are still within touching distance of the Champions League qualification spot and will be hoping to push 0n in the second half of the season. Here is a Scout Report on Mateo Kovacic.
Back in 2013: After a 2012 spent mainly on the fringes of the Internacional first team, the youngster saw his role increase in 2013. He made a total of 25 appearances for the club in the year, 21 of which were from the start. His first start of the season came against Portuguesa where he made Internacional’s only goal of the game. He scored in the next game against Cruzeiro and added a further 4 goals to his tally in the season. He’s a regular member of the Brazilian U-20 side.
Looking to 2014: Being a Brazilian, the obvious goal is the World Cup but the youngster is hardly likely to be picked by Scolari. A realistic goal is to kick on at Internacional and let his talent shine.
Back in 2013: Suso enjoyed his breakthrough in the 2012-13 season, especially in the first half of the season taking the opportunity to impress. The arrival of Coutinho and Sturridge in January of the year meant that Suso’s playing time took a hit and as a result he was sent on loan to Almeria for the 2013-14 season to further his development. And it’s a loan that’s certainly gone according to plan thus far. Suso made an assist in the opening game of the season against Villareal and did the same against Getafe a week later. He scored his first goal for the club against Levante in a 2-2 draw. He’s started 14 starts and made 3 substitute appearances in the league so far.
He was part of Spain’s U-20 side in the World Cup and started 3 games in the tournament. He’s a regular fixture in the Spanish U-21 squad but has only started 1 of the qualifiers making another appearance from the bench.
Looking to 2014: Almeria are near the relegation zone and will be looking to move up the table. They will look to Suso to provide the spark in attack, something the youngster is very capable of.
16) Hakan Calhanoglu
Back in 2013: He started the year on loan to former side Karlsruher in the third division of Germany. He enjoyed a successful season at the club scoring 17 goals and 12 appearances in 36 starts. He scored his first goals for the side with a brace against Braunshweig in a 4-0 win. He’s started 13 times this season and 3 appearances off the bench. He’s scored a total of 5 goals and 2 assists while predominantly featuring on the left hand side.
He started in all 4 games for Turkey in the U-20 World Cup scoring a goal and making another in the final group stage game against Australia. He’s played in a number 0f games for the U-21 side. He was on the bench for 4 of Turkey’s World Cup qualifiers coming on in the game against Andorra.
Looking to 2014: Calhanoglu has made the step up to Bundesliga admirably and has performed quite well for Hamburg. He’s adapted and will be looking to continue the good work come the second half of the campaign. Internationally, Turkey have failed to make the cut for Brazil 2014 so Calhanoglu will be looking forward to the qualifiers for the upcoming Euros.
15) Ravel Morrison
Back in 2013: Morrison spent the first half of the year playing for Birmingham City in the Championship on loan. It was in 2013 that he featured in a more attacking role. Morrison started 23 games for Birmingham and made 4 appearances off the bench. He scored 3 goals and 3 assists in the season and by all accounts, the loan spell was a constructive one. After 2 appearances off the bench, he got his first start of the season in the 0-0 draw against Southampton. He scored his first league goal of the season in the next game against Everton. He’s added a further 2 goals (including 1 in a 3-0 win against Spurs) and 3 assists in the league. He’s also scored twice in the Capital One Cup.
His good run of form this season has led to him breaking into the U-21 squad for England. He’s made 3 appearances for them thus far and scored a brace against Lithuania.
Looking to 2014: It’s always been a question of temperament rather than talent for Morrison and it looks like he’s finally got his head straight. Building on the first half of the season is vital for his career and indeed for West Ham’s prospects. As for World Cup ambitions, making the 23 is a big ask but a great run of form towards the end of the season certainly wouldn’t hamper his chances.
Back in 2013: Fred started the season at Internacional playing 5 games at the Brazilian club. He scored a goal and assisted another in the first league game of the season against Vitoria. He moved to Shakhtar soon after and scored his first goal for the club in his second start. He also scored against Tavriya also registering 2 assists in the same game. He’s started 11 times in the league and made a further 5 appearances off the bench. He’s also appeared 3 times in the Champions League, 2 of which were starts. Fred is yet to capped for Brazil but he has played for the U-20 team.
Looking to 2014: Fred is still finding his feet in Ukraine and will look to make more of an impact come the new year and he has every chance of following in the footsteps of his countrymen in Ukraine.
13) James Ward-Prowse
Back in 2013: After catching the eye in the first half of the 2012-13 season, the Southampton academy product had a relatively quiet second half of the campaign with all his league appearances coming from the bench. He’s played a more prominent role this time around with 12 starts and 9 substitute appearances so far. His versatility has helped in this aspect with Ward-Prowse capable of playing on the wing as well as central midfield. He’s made 2 assists in the league so far.
Ward-Prowse was a member of the England U-20 team in the World Cup starting all 3 games. The highly rated midfielder is a key component in the England U-21 side and has started all 6 of the qualification games so far. He has 2 goals and 1 assist in the qualifiers.
Looking to 2014: Ward-Prowse is yet another product of Southampton who looks set for big things. He’s already established himself in the U-21 set up and it seems a question of when and not if he makes the transition to the senior side. For now, there’s nothing more he can do other than continuing the good work of last year.
12) Max Meyer
Who is he?: Max Meyer is an 18-year-old attacking midfielder who currently plays for Schalke, a club where he came through the academy. He is yet to make an impact at International level, having not featured higher than the U-19s.
Back in 2013: Meyer started off 2013 with a handful of substitute appearances in the Bundesliga and a solitary one in the Champions League last 16. He continued that into the 13/14 season, making a stronger case for himself in the first-team. His first start didn’t come until September, but when it did, he wasted no time in attracting attention; it took him 3 minutes to notch up his first assist as Boateng slotted home. That was followed by a goal in each of the next three games, including the 3-1 defeat to arch rivals Dortmund in the Revierderby. He even made 5 appearances in the Champions League, starting one of those at Stamford Bridge. Meyer has manage to show his ability in the Bundesliga but still hasn’t quite established himself in the first-team, we believe that will change in 2014.
As stated, he hasn’t earned a call-up to the U-21s but is a regular with the U-19 squad. He scored one U-19 goal in 2013, that coming against Netherlands (from the spot.
Looking at 2014: A lot is being said about Draxlers’ proposed move away from Schalke. If that does take place, Meyer would be the biggest beneficiary, and will see at as an opportunity to exploit. So a first team berth at Schalke will be the realistic dream.
11) Maximilian Arnold
Back in 2013: Arnold began making a name for himself in the latter part of the 12/13 season. He scored some important goals against the likes of Bremen and Gladbach. Arnold had a poor start to 13/14, get sent off in the very first game. Due to suspensions and lack of faith from the manager, Arnold found it hard to get his chance. He did get it though, nevertheless, and he made sure he made full use of the opportunity. He scored on his first start on his returm, scoring a couple of important goals from attacking midfield. In all, Arnold has scored 8 goals in the calendar year 2013 (at the time of writing) and has taken the Bundesliga by storm.
Maximilian Arnold has been regularly featuring in the U-19 and U-20 sides for Germany and also got his first U-21 appearace, a 4 minute cameo against Romania.
Looking at 2014: Arnold will look to continue to form he has found and ensure he continues to retain the first-team spot in the Wolfsburg side. He has done enough to do so so far, more of the same will be needed from Arnold.
Stay tuned for the next part of this series.
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