The first edition of Under 21s at the World Cup was rather popular so I’m back with a look at Groups C and D and whether the teams in those groups are travelling with any youngsters that may be the next big thing.
Algeria (1) — 20-year-old Ryad Boudeboz was selected for the preliminary Algerian World Cup squad. The young midfielder only just announced his allegiance to the African nation he was born in. He moved to France when he was 14 to play for FC Sochaux and he has since played for the French Under-19 team.
It’s not hard to think that the pull of World Cup football would be pretty strong and that’s why Boudeboz decided to switch allegiances back to his home country. He only made his debut against Ireland on the 28th of May, but the attacking midfielder had a fairly good season with Sochaux bagging six goals in a total of 34 appearances this season. He could provide an attacking spark for a team that’s light on forwards and could look to clog the field when playing against teams like England and the US.
England (1) -- Theo Walcott can’t exactly be classified as an up-and-comer. The 21-year-old midfielder, who has an eye for goal, made headlines back in the 2005/2006 season when he signed for Arsenal from Southampton. He was immediately thrust into the first team squad at Arsenal where a mixture of injury, stiff competition and inconsistent form saw him struggle to hold down a regular first team spot.
Nevertheless, he’s an exciting prospect who has electric pace and the ability to turn a game on its head. In the Champions League game against Barcelona Walcott came off the bench to help Arsenal claim a draw by scoring a goal. His pace and skill on the ball caused huge problems for Barcelona and he’s also been able to turn on the skill at international level.
His hat-trick against Croatia was a highlight of the qualifying campaign and Walcott should be a great addition to the England squad. The problem for Capello may be whether to start him or bring him on later in the game where his pace will play even more havoc on opposition defenses.