With the World Cup just around the corner, the eyes of football fans all across the planet will be on Qatar for the quadrennial tournament.
The competition will provide a brilliant opportunity for stars young and old to announce themselves on the global stage – and so Sportsmail wants to give you the lowdown on nearly a dozen up-and-comers who could make their mark in Qatar.
Our SECRET SCOUT is a top football expert who attends matches each week searching for the next star – and here’s his list of 10 emerging players to keep an eye on…
There are plenty of exciting young stars to watch at the upcoming World Cup – and Sportsmail’s Secret Scout has compiled a list of 10 emerging players to keep an eye on
ALPHONSO DAVIES, 22 (Canada), Wing-back
A very left-footed player with searing pace. Think Roberto Carlos.
His intelligent breaks combine timing, control and power to surge past opponents and are a weapon Canada will exploit.
His career acceleration has been just as swift. A Liberian refugee recruited by Vancouver Whitecaps and then bought by Bayern Munich, he will thrill the world with his well-timed breaks if he is fully fit after an injury lay-off.
Alphonso Davies will thrill the world with his well-timed breaks if he is fully fit for Canada
JAMAL MUSIALA, 19 (Germany), Midfield
One of the world’s fastest emerging talents, he was educated in England but chose Germany, the country of his birth. Versatile, he is a highly-technical player with an eye for an opening.
For one so young, he has quiet confidence and his skill is finding areas where he can attract the ball and play quickly into the front players.
He is also making a name as a goalscorer and already has 11 for Bayern this season. Equally at home wide or centrally.
PEDRI, 19 (Spain), Midfield
Still a teenager, this son of the Canary Islands signed for Barca from Las Palmas and has won a plethora of youth awards. Qatar may be his stage.
A central midfielder who creates chances, he is elusive in tight areas and can make penetrating passes with the vision of a far more experienced player. He is slight of build but is calm under pressure and has good stamina.
MOISES CAICEDO, 21 (Ecuador), Midfield
Inexperienced but highly-talented and signed by the shrewd scouting network at Brighton. Positive in possession, he moves through centre field with control, composure and an eye for his next move.
Not quite 6ft tall, he is an imposing driver from deep who is also versatile enough to play further forward. His energy is infectious and he is always looking for opportunities.
Ecuador star Moises Caicedo’s energy is infectious and he is always looking for opportunities
BRENDEN AARONSON, 22 (USA), Midfield
This attacking midfielder is an energetic, never-say-die force who can surprise many at the World Cup. Think of the bundle of energy that was Alan Ball in 1966. He has an all-action style.
A versatile player for Leeds, he can play wide or centrally and likes a tackle. He makes himself available and can shoot. At close quarters he can extricate himself with clever footwork.
He has made quick progress from Philadelphia Union to Red Bull Salzburg and has established himself well at Elland Road.
Brenden Aaronson is an energetic, never-say-die force who can surprise many in Qatar
AURELIEN TCHOUAMENI, 22 (France) Midfield
Shades of Claude Makelele but much taller, this holding midfielder is mature beyond his years. Sitting deep, he will give licence to France’s creativity. Tall and commanding, he reads the game brilliantly for one so young.
He has succeeded Casemiro at Real Madrid, using the ball quickly and efficiently. Always available, he tackles cleanly and heads the ball well under pressure. A great career beckons.
LAUTARO MARTINEZ, 25 (Argentina), Forward
Now maturing, at 5ft 9ins he is in peak form. He has strength and speed and is a proven scorer. Clever in the opposing third, he is a fox in the box. He can link play and assist goals mainly as a second striker.
Very tenacious with a strong personality, he follows greats like Sergio Aguero and Hernan Crespo and has a one in two goals record for his country.
DUSAN VLAHOVIC, 22 (Serbia), Forward
At 6ft 3ins, he has a goals record of eight in 16 for his country. He will be the perfect front foil for Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic. Powerful in his hold-up play, he is capable of dribbling past people in a one-vs-one situation.
A strong finisher for Juventus, he shows fast movement and quick reactions across the box. Serbia are in a tough group but could provide a shock with the talented Dusan Tadic of Ajax providing the passes.
Serbia’s Dusan Vlahovic is powerful in his hold-up play and capable of dribbling past people
KIM MIN-JAE, 26 (South Korea), Centre back
A perfect theatre for this fantastic centre back. Now in his mid-20s but not exposed on the world stage, this player has been the rock of the brilliant Napoli side this season.
At 6ft 3in, he has real presence, happy to sit deep under pressure or to play a high line where he has sufficient pace. Right-footed, he left Korea and joined Napoli from Fenerbahce when the whole scouting world was aware of his abilities.
Strong and mobile, he can pass accurately. Excellent in the tackle, he is thick set and commanding in the air.
CHARLES DE KETELAERE, 21 (Belgium), Attacking midfield
While all eyes will be trained on Kevin De Bruyne, watch for his obvious successor. At just 21 his movement and skill in possession are obvious.
Tall and elegant, he is technically top class. He has advanced through the international youth ranks, but this World Cup could be the platform for the gifted playmaker from AC Milan.