The FIFA U20 World 2023 is set to see some new rising stars due to the absence of some well-known promising youngsters.
The U20 World Cup is bound to be the stage for plenty of young stars to steal the spotlight. A number of clubs will deploy their scouts to monitor their targets. They have been the new ‘seeds’ in demand at the market, who are less expensive than established stars with huge wage demands. Barcelona, for example, have sent their two scouts to Argentina 2023.
Unfortunately, some of them will have to miss out on the opportunity to showcase their skills at the global stage. The tournaments’ date, which has been set on May 20 to June 11, happens to be a crucial period of the club’s domestic campaign, either for a title race and European place race or relegation and promotion battle.
As a result, a number of clubs have decided not to release their young stars because they have been valuable members of the squad. FIFA had to pick those dates to avoid clashes with other tournaments this year, including the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 in Australia and New Zealand and CONCACAF Gold Cup 2023 in the summer.
So who missed the final round and who could potentially be the new rising stars? It might soon be revealed as the group stage is already in progress.
Those who missed the tournament
One of the most highly anticipated youngsters to see in action at this global stage was Palmeiras’ Endrick. The 16-year-old talent has just signed a contract with Real Madrid. Yet, he was not being released by his parent club due to scheduling.
Another Brazilian sensation, Victor Roque of Atletico Paranaense, also did not get permission to play in the U20 World Cup. He has been the mainstay in the club’s first team and registered eight goals and four assists in 18 games so far.
The host, Argentina, is unable to play their young sensation, Alejandro Garnacho. His club, Manchester United, who is still battling for a Champions League spot, would not let him go for the tournament. Garnacho seems to share the same fate as Manchester City’s Rico Lewis and Cole Palmer, alongside Chelsea’s Carney Chukwuemeka.
The winner of the 2013 edition, France, faced the same issue. They were unable to name Bayern Munich’s Mathys Tel, Lyon’s Malo Gusto and Montpellier frontman Elye Wahi in the final squad. The United States also failed to include Paxten Aaronson as his club, the Eintracht Frankfurt, did not release him.
Those who might steal the spotlight
Fortunately, some other names managed to be given the green light. They could seize the opportunity to shine in this competition while their teammates are confined to their clubs. A few games in the opener appear to have showcased several names who may attract the attention of the big clubs after the tournament.
Argentina has Valentino Carboni. The attacking midfielder did quite well in the first match and netted a winning goal against Uzbekistan. He is currently playing for Internazionale and has featured in five Serie A matches. The son of former Catania man Ezequiel Carboni has also made one appearance in the Champions League against Bayern Munich this season.
Meanwhile, the young Brazilian Marcos Leonardo, caught attention after bagging a brace despite his team losing 3-2 against Italy. The Santos forward shows his physical prowess, positioning and clinical finish.
On the other hand, their opposition, Italy has their own hero in Cesare Casadei. The Reading man also registered a brace in their impressive win over Brazil through a header and a penalty. He is in fact a Chelsea player who has been sent on loan with Championship side this season.
Rising stars in past editions
Rising stars always emerge in every edition. Some managed to be named as the best player of the tournament such as Diego Maradona (in the 1979 edition), Robert Prosinecki (1987), Javier Saviola (2001), Lionel Messi (2005), Sergio Aguero (2007), Paul Pogba (2013) and Lee Kang-In from the previous edition, Poland 2019. They have all gone to the top levels. In fact, some were able to have illustrious careers at club level. Others went as high as to lead their country to the World Cup title. Maradona did it in Mexico 1986, Pogba thrived in Russia 2018 and Messi set records in Brazil 2014 and Qatar 2022.
Nevertheless, some others have not been so fortunate, who also included the former tournament’s best players. They might continue to shine at the senior levels but their countries have been unable to qualify to the World Cup finals. The likes of UAEs Ismael Matar (the Golden Ball award winner in 2003 edition), Mali’s Seydou Keita (1999) and Adama Traore (2015) (not the Wolves player) are examples of such.
There were also those who flopped since they could not handle the great pressure at the top levels. Take Caio Ribeiro for example. He was awarded The Best Player in the 1995 edition. The Brazilian forward was soon transferred to Inter Milan after the tournament.
Unfortunately, he failed to live up to the expectations. He then signed for Napoli in 1996 but it did not get any better. Caio eventually left Italy in 1997 to join Santos. Once again, he could not replicate his fine form in São Paulo in 1994/95 season or in the U20 World Cup in 1995 when he bagged five goals in the final round.
Another example is the best player in the 2009 edition, Dominic Adiyiah of Ghana. He did manage to get a call-up for the World Cup 2010 squad, where he made two appearances. That included an appearance against Uruguay at the quarter finals. Adiyiah then joined AC Milan but failed to break into the first team. He was eventually loaned out to Reggina in Serie B, followed by Serbian outfit, Partizan Belgrade, Turkish second tier side Karsiyaka and Ukrainian club Arsenal Kyiv, until his contract with the Rossoneri ended.
Last but not least, there is the most recent example, Dominic Solanke. He was England~s hero in the 2017 edition when The Young Lions clinched their first title ever at this level. Solanke netted four goals and won the Golden Ball award. After the tournament, Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool snatched him from Chelsea.
Sadly, he could not be in his top form with only six appearances from 2017 to 2018. He soon moved to Bournemouth in 2019. This season, the towering striker has registered six goals and seven assists in the Premier League, which is much lower than his 29 in the Championship last season.