*NEW* 2021 TOP 50 AUSTRALIAN YOUTH DETAILED AND RANKED


*NEW* 2021 TOP 50 AUSTRALIAN YOUTH DETAILED AND RANKED

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For the second year in a row, I have compiled a list of the 50 best young (U21) talents in Australian football. I have tried to be as comprehensive as possible, judging players on a variety of criteria, namely: 

  • Empirical achievement (first team appearances, goals, assists, performance at youth level) 

  • Selection in national teams 

  • The eye test - my personal opinion of the players based on me watching them play (I have watched all but 3 of these players reasonably extensively, some are just impossible to get match footage of) 

  • Reports/hype - what coaches, scouts, journalists, fans, forumites, observers have to say about them

  • Club - what club/level they’re at, particularly if they’re playing abroad 

This is my opinion, and I would love to hear yours. Please leave all feedback below and please feel free to let me know if you think someone is too high/low or if I’ve left someone deserving out. 

My personal assessment of this crop is that they’re the best in quite a long time; players are getting first team opportunities younger, and more young players are playing in Australia more generally. There are some players here to get genuinely excited about: Pavlesic, Rawlins, Teague, Robertson, Watts, Toure, Italiano, so we can be optimistic about the future of our national team. 


2018 edition (published by Neanderthal): https://forum.insidesport.com.au/2685048/Top-50-Australian-Youth-Detailed-and-Ranked-with-pictures?PageIndex=1


2020 edition: https://forum.insidesport.com.au/2874533/NEW-TOP-50-AUSTRALIAN-YOUTH-DETAILED-AND-RANKED 


I hope you enjoy and find this informative - it takes a long time to do. Thanks! 

GK 

1. Adam Pavlesic - Sydney FC - 2002

After impressing at the 2019 U-17 World Cup and subsequently trialling at Strasbourg and Roma as a result, the young Sydney FC shot-stopper has had a stop start beginning to his senior career, breaking his collarbone in the Asian Champions League after an impressive debut vs. Jeonbuk. He is a confident and fearless goalkeeper who is strong in the air and whose composure belies his years. 

2. Noah James - Western Sydney Wanderers (on loan from Newcastle Jets) - 2001

After performing well at the 2019 AFC U-18 qualifiers, James made his senior debut in the final round of the 19-20 A-League season, keeping a clean sheet and putting in a MOTM performance against the Wellington Phoenix. James is a strong shot stopper and has followed Carl Robinson to WSW where he will aim to unseat Daniel Margush as the first choice keeper. 

3. Nicholas Bilokapic - Huddersfield Town - 2002

Having impressed in U17 friendlies in the UK versus Brazil, England and South Korea, Bilokapic was signed from Sydney United by Huddersfield Town where he has appeared regularly for the U23 and U19 sides. At an academy which has produced goalkeepers like current Terriers #1 Ryan Schofield and Cardiff City keeper Alex Smithies, the towering Bilokapic will hope to continue his progression and reach the Town first team. 

4. Cooper Skerry - Leeds United - 2002

Skerry signed for the Premier League outfit from Brisbane City in late 2019 and has since featured for Leeds’ U18 and U19 sides, including in a blockbuster FA Youth Cup tie vs. traditional rivals Manchester United, while also receiving a call-up to the Young Socceroos in early 2020. Having impressed after signing a 2 year scholarship contract, Skerry has made the step up to training with the U23 side, however unfortunately sustained an injury in his EFL Trophy debut vs. Accrington Stanley. 

DF

1. Joshua Rawlins - Perth Glory - 2004 

Having captained the Australia U-15 side, Rawlins broke into the Joeys starting side for the 2019 U17 World Cup as a 15 year old and performed with distinction at right fullback against players two years his senior. This talent beyond his years led to a breakthrough at club level, with the young right back making his senior debut in the Asian Champions League, displaying his technical proficiency, his strength in the duel, and his capacity for lung busting forward runs. Playing first team football at such a young age, and with a manager in Richard Garcia prepared to put faith in academy players, Rawlins has the potential for an outstanding career. 

2. Jordan Courtney-Perkins - Brisbane Roar - 2002 

Having excelled at the 2019 U17 World Cup, Courtney Perkins broke into Robbie Fowler’s Brisbane Roar side playing and performing strongly in an unfamiliar left back role, before an untimely long term knee injury left him sidelined. The young centre back is fantastic in the air and a strong passer, and will enjoy his apprenticeship under Tom Aldred and Macauley Gillesphey, but will ultimately be looking to force his way into his former school coach Warren Moon’s plans. 

3. Joel King - Sydney FC - 2000

Having progressed through the final intake of the AIS’ football program, the young left back has unseated former Socceroo Michael Zullo and broken into Sydney FC’s championship winning starting eleven. Strong technically and eager to get forward, King has performed with growing maturity, rewarding Steve Corica’s faith by becoming a creative outlet on the left and consistently combining well with Serbian star Milos Ninkovic, displaying the potential which could make him a Socceroos star of the future. 

4. Mark Natta - Western Sydney Wanderers - 2002 

Earmarked as a star of the future, the stylish centre back has been plagued by injury problems, keeping him out of the Joeys 2019 U17 World Cup campaign. Having overcome those injuries, Natta, who has been compared to a young Matthew Špiranović, has been rewarded for his perseverance and potential with a scholarship contract at Western Sydney and has since broken into the Wanderers side and will be seeking to make his mark with his imperious long range passing, runs out of central defence and strength in the defensive duel. 

5. Dylan Pierias - Western United - 2000

The first player ever born in the 21st century to feature in the A-League, Pierias has made an increasingly strong impact for Western United with dynamic substitute performances demonstrating his well-known raw speed and power but more importantly a growing composure in front of goal, most notably in a 90th minute match winning assist for Steven Lustica vs. Sydney FC. With these outstanding physical attributes and notably improved technical ability and maturity, Pierias has a high ceiling and will compete for a place in the Olyroos squad. 

6. Dylan Ryan - Melbourne Victory (on loan from Willem II) - 2000 

A youth product of Liverpool and Willem II, Ryan cemented his name in the minds of Australian football fans with a series of imperious performances at centre back in the Olyroos campaign at the 2020 AFC U23 Championships. While not able to make a first team breakthrough in the Netherlands, Ryan’s eye for a pass and strength in the air makes him a solid defensive presence, a presence recruited by Grant Brebner for Melbourne Victory’s backline. Ryan is indubitably one of the best young Australian defenders, and will be hoping to keep his place in the Olyroos’ backline in 2021. 

7. Thomas Aquilina - Western Sydney Wanderers - 2001 

Quick, incisive, forward thinking, the young fullback made his professional debut in Round 1 vs. Macarthur, and has since cemented his place in Carl Robinson’s side with ever more impressive performances. Having represented Australia at U18 level, Aquilina clearly possesses significant potential, potential which Carl Robinson will be seeking to utilise in the possible Olyroos bolter. 

8. Noah Smith - Adelaide United - 2000  

Having broken into Carl Veart’s young Reds side, Smith has looked assured on and off the ball, in a backline yet to concede in the 2020-21 A-League season. While not blessed with extreme pace, Smith is technically proficient and strong in the tackle, and has a good future ahead at a club which invests in young talent. 

9. Lucas Mauragis - Newcastle Jets - 2001

Having made his debut at the conclusion of the 2019-20 A-League season, Mauragis has made an impression with athleticism and pace and a willingness to take players on and get forward. Playing both on the left and the right of Newcastle’s back 5, Mauragis will be looking to cement his place in Craig Deans’ Jets side. 

10. Hosine Bility - Midtjylland - 2001 

A product of the Croydon Kings’ academy which has also produced the Toure brothers, Bility made his mark as a strong and athletic centre back at an All Stars tournament in the Czech Republic in 2017, winning Defender of the Tournament and beating out players from the likes of Arsenal and PSG in doing so. Having continued to play first grade NPL for the Kings, Bility was signed permanently after his 18th birthday by Danish giants Midtjylland in 2019, and has since become a fixture in their reserves side, making his UEFA Youth League debut in 2020 vs. Ajax. 

11. Daniel Djurovic - Birmingham City - 2003 

The young left back signed with Birmingham City in 2014, having played his youth football with Bonnyrigg White Eagles, and has since broken into the club’s U23s side at only 17. A quick player, Djurovic will be looking to make the next step in the restructure of the Birmingham academy and emulate Jude Bellingham and break into the first team. 

MF

1. Alexander Robertson - Manchester City - 2003 

Having come through the age groups at NPL NSW side Hakoah, Robertson relocated to England in 2015, plying his trade first with Manchester United and now Manchester City, where he has broken into the England set up consistently and now trains with the first team at age 17 having caught the eye of Pep Guardiola. The most hotly debated name in Australian football, Robertson, the son and grandson of Socceroos, has represented England but also made his Young Socceroos debut in February 2020 in Holland, and with exceptional technical ability and an eye for goal from midfield, the hope is that he will follow in the footsteps of his Robertson forebears and represent the green and gold. 

2. Caleb Watts - Southampton - 2002

Watts is a name perhaps unfamiliar to Australian football fans, but shouldn’t be for long. An absolute standout at the 2019 U17 World Cup for the Joeys, with passing range and drive from midfield, Watts has since represented Australia at U19 level and become a regular for Premier League side Southampton at U23 level and made his first team matchday squad debut last week in a Premier League match vs. Leicester City. At only 19, Watts has the potential to achieve great things, and has been earmarked as a future Socceroo by Graham Arnold and Australian Technical Director Trevor Morgan. 

3. Ryan Teague - Famalicao - 2002

The former Joeys captain came through the ranks at Sydney FC, playing two years of senior football in NPL NSW, before making a January 2020 move to Primeira Liga side Famalicao, a deal brokered by mega agent Jorge Mendes, where he has appeared regularly for the U23 side and trained consistently with the first team. Teague is blessed with outstanding technical attributes; he is an outstanding passer and dribbler with the ability to control the tempo of the game, and in his time at Famalicao, Teague has begun to work on breaking down opposition play in midfield. A breakthrough at Famalicao seems imminent, and Teague should be regarded as a future 6 of the Socceroos for years to come. 

4. Calem Nieuwenhof - Sydney FC - 2001 

Nieuwenhof arrived as a bolt from and in the blue in the Asian Champions League hub in late 2020 for Sydney FC, a clear standout at the base of midfield. The teenager from Sydney’s northern beaches reinforced his growing reputation with a stunning opener on his A-League debut against Wellington Phoenix, and clearly is extremely talented, with the ability to control the tempo of the play as well as winning the ball back. 

5. Zach Duncan - AGF Aarhus - 2000

Having struggled to make his mark at Brisbane Roar, Duncan made a surprise move to AGF in the Superliga where he became a regular in the Danish outfit’s side and became a key player in the Olyroos’ Olympic qualification. An ACL injury has held him back, but upon his recovery, the 20 year old should have a big future ahead, and will aim to feature in the rescheduled Olympics. 

6. Cristian Volpato - AS Roma - 2003

Having been released by Western Sydney’s academy at the end of the 2018, Volpato was signed in late 2019 by Italian powerhouses AS Roma, where he established himself in their U17s and U18s, with his tricks, skill, pace and eye for goal drawing the attention of the coaches at i Lupi. A dual national of Italy and Australia, Volpato, managed by legend Francesco Totti, has caught the eye of Italian youth national team staff, and is seen as a big talent primed for promotion to the Primavera side at AS Roma. Merely being at such an academy at age 17, should see the former St Joseph’s College student regarded as a big talent for Australia in years to come. 

7. Ramy Najjarine - Newcastle Jets (on loan from Melbourne City) - 2000

Once famously touted as better than Daniel Arzani, Najjarine has started to slowly make good on that prediction. Starved of opportunity at Melbourne City, Najjarine was named Player of the Tournament at the Dazu Cup in China in November 2019 for the Olyroos, and since his loan move to the lowly Newcastle Jets, has become their main man, providing forward drive from the 10 role, with incisive passing, pinpoint delivery and silky dribbling, drawing constant attention from opposition defences. With these rare attributes, it is not unfair to see Najjarine as a future Socceroos 10. 

8. Louis D’Arrigo - Adelaide United - 2001

Having long been regarded as a talent of the future, D’Arrigo established himself in the Adelaide United team in 2019-20 under Gertjan Verbeek, playing more minutes than anyone else of his age in the league. Playing in a more advanced position under Carl Veart, D’Arrigo has looked a more polished and mature player, showing his passing ability and his willingness to progress the ball, notably providing a quality set piece assist for Tomi Juric to break open the game vs. Melbourne City. 

9. Birkan Kirdar - Melbourne Victory - 2002

Having made his debut for Melbourne Victory almost 3 years ago in the Asian Champions League, Kirdar has been identified for years as a gamebreaking talent in Australian football. This talent came to the fore at the conclusion of the 2019-20 A-League season, with Kirdar putting in strong performances vs. Perth Glory and Central Coast. Despite this obvious talent, Kirdar must become more consistent if he is to reach his lofty potential. 

10. Angus Thurgate - Newcastle Jets - 2000

Having broken through into the first team under Ernie Merrick, Thurgate has gone from strength to strength since moving back to a midfield role alongside Steven Ugarkovic. Industrious yet technically gifted, the Olyroo has become a key player in the Jets lineup, threatening from distance while also setting up others. Thurgate will only continue to improve, and will hope to feature at the Tokyo Olympics under Graham Arnold. 

11. Taras Gomulka - Adelaide United - 2001 

An unknown before the hub conclusion of the 2019-20 A-League season, Gomulka made his name in the injury absence of Louis D’Arrigo for Adelaide, with reliable performances at the base of midfield, controlling the tempo, stopping attacks and distributing well, earning himself a controversial move to Melbourne City, where he has impressed in his first few games. Gomulka is one of many talented ball-playing 6s in the Australian system, and has the talent to have a strong career. 

12. Cameron Peupion - Brighton and Hove Albion - 2002

Having impressed with direct running and skill at the 2019 U17 World Cup, Peupion earned trials at Reading and Brighton and Hove Albion, subsequently winning a move to the latter, where he has impressed with 7 goals and an assist in 10 games in a variety of positions for the Premier League club’s U18s. Peupion will be angling to be promoted to the club’s U23s, a promotion which would be on the basis of his pace and silky touch, which he has in abundance. 

13. Raphael Borges Rodrigues - Melbourne City - 2003

The son of former Adelaide United striker Cristiano, Rapha is a tricky, quick winger who won Melbourne City’s Youth Player of the Year after moving from Adelaide to sign for the A-League giants. An athletic player, Rapha has been a regular in Patrick Kisnorbo’s matchday squad and will be looking to find regular game time in the near future. 

14. Idrus Abdulahi - Melbourne City - 2003

Having made his A-League debut only aged 16, Abdulahi impressed with his versatility playing both at right back and in midfield at the 2019 U-17 World Cup, but has since found minutes hard to come by in the A-League. Possessing an outstanding engine and strong in the tackle, Abdulahi, with game time, has the potential to blossom as a talented defensive midfielder. 

15. Kristian Popovic - FC Xanthi - 2001

Ignoring criticism of possible nepotism, Popovic proved himself to be an unorthodox yet effective central midfielder in the most recent A-League season, demonstrating good technical ability and strength in the air, ability which earned him a regular place in Gary Van Egmond’s Young Socceroos side. Now at his father’s FC Xanthi in Greece, he will hope to make a name for himself in Europe and gain regular game time in the shop window. 

16. Tyrese Francois - Fulham - 2000 

A diminutive yet technically proficient midfielder, Francois signed for Fulham as a 13 year old, and has since made an impact at the club, winning U23 player of the year in the 2018-19 season, and since breaking into the first team, playing twice in the EFL Cup for the London side. Plagued by injuries, the midfielder will hope to stay fit and make a Premier League debut this season. 

17. Luke Duzel - Western United - 2002

The technical attacking midfielder made his A-League debut in 2020 for Western United, having been poached from Melbourne City, and on the back of impressive midfield cameos at the 2019 U17 World Cup. With impressive passing range, and the ability to glide past players in midfield, Duzel has the capacity to make an impression for the Tarneit side. 

18. Jake Hollman - Macarthur FC - 2001 

A skilful dribbler who is excellent in tight spaces and who possesses great vision, Hollman was poached from Sydney FC’s youth team by Macarthur and has impressed since his signing. A NYL winner and an Australian U19 international, Hollman is part of a new breed of skilful young Australian attacking midfielders, and has the potential to improve a lot under the guidance of Ante Milicic. 

FW:

 1. Mohamed Toure - Adelaide United - 2004

The youngest player ever to score in the A-League, Toure is a huge talent. Possessing speed and power in abundance, a knack for being in the right areas and scoring goals, Toure could genuinely be anything. At 16 years old, Toure already has 2 goals and and an assist in only 206 minutes of first team football, and looks completely at home in senior football. Under a manager in Carl Veart who is prepared to utilise and nurture young talent, there are no limits on what Mohamed Toure can achieve. 

2. Jacob Italiano - Borussia Monchengladbach - 2001

Having made his A-League debut at only 16, Jacob Italiano joined Borussia Mönchengladbach after his 18th birthday and has since flourished, joining the first team for pre-season and putting in consistently standout performances for the second team. A direct, skilful winger, who seeks to beat his man at every opportunity, Italiano shone for the Olyroos in the 2020 AFC U23 Championships, and will be seeking to break into the Bundesliga outfit’s first team and retain his Olyroos spot for the upcoming Olympics. 

3. Dylan Ruiz-Diaz - unattached - 2001 

Having progressed through the academies of Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers, Ruiz-Diaz signed for Central Coast Mariners in the 2018-19 season and made his debut off the bench towards the end of the season. However, the Australian youth international truly made an impact in the following season, with a series of impressive cameos before a stunning match winning brace vs. Melbourne Victory. An outstanding finisher, who also possesses excellent dribbling skills while also capable of linking the play and creating, Ruiz-Diaz left the Mariners to trial in Ukraine at the start of the 2020-21 season, with his footballing whereabouts currently unclear, yet with these attributes, rare in Australian football, Ruiz-Diaz has the potential for an outstanding career. 

4. Tristan Hammond - Sporting CP - 2003 

Hammond is a tricky, yet athletic and powerful winger who first caught Australia’s attention with strong performances in Malaysia and then Brazil for the Joeys. Having joined Portuguese giants Sporting CP at a young age, Hammond has received an outstanding footballing education, an education demonstrated in these aforementioned performances, showing a willingness to drive at opposition defences and beat them with skill and then pace. At such a renowned academy, Hammond has the talent to become a Socceroo in the future. 

5. Noah Botic - Hoffenheim - 2002

The 2019 Dylan Tombides Medallist, the Hoffenheim striker is highly regarded in Australian football. Botic was a standout in the Joeys, making his name with consistent goal-scoring, outstanding finishing and reliable positioning, culminating in a 4 goal return at the 2019 U17 World Cup. Despite facing recurring injuries upon signing in Hoffenheim, Botic has scored consistently in Germany, and has the potential to progress into a Socceroos #9 in the future. 

6. Lachlan Brook - Brentford - 2001 

Making his debut as a 16 year old for Adelaide United 3 years ago, Lachlan Brook has always been regarded as a player of great potential in Australian football, with quick turns, creative vision, and pinpoint set piece delivery. However, this potential was only manifested in the hub conclusion to the 2019-20 A-League season, with Brook starting regularly for the first time, getting goals and assists and earning himself a move to Brentford’s unique B team, where he has played regularly, showcasing his strong potential which has led to continued selection in the Joeys and Young Socceroos. 

7. Yaya Dukuly - Adelaide United - 2003

One two year spell at Melbourne City later, Yaya Dukuly has returned to South Australia with Adelaide United, starting to display his raw speed and 1v1 trickery on the wing for the Reds, showing why he is considered one of Australia’s best young wingers, and warranted selection in Australia’s 2019 U17 World Cup. The combination of these two attributes is lethal on the wing, and Dukuly has the potential to terrorise defenders at only 18 years old. 

8. Al Hassan Toure - Adelaide United - 2000

Having burst on the scene in 2019 winning the 2019 Mark Viduka Medal in the FFA Cup Final, Toure won selection in the Olyroos where he shone, before enduring a torrid run of injuries which have largely precluded him from taking the field with his younger brother Mohamed. However, his talent still shines bright; raw speed, power, and outstanding dribbling and finishing ability are the attributes which won Toure such plaudits in 2019, and equipped with those attributes Toure has the potential to reach great heights in football. 

9. Marco Tilio - Melbourne City - 2001

Tilio is one of a new breed of Australian wingers; quick, skilful, creative, and outstanding in 1v1 situations. That talent is what brought him to Melbourne City, and what got him a goal and assist vs. Central Coast on A-League debut for Sydney FC, and what places him as one of Australia’s foremost attacking talents. Capable of turning a game on its head, Tilio has won regular selection for the Young Socceroos where he has been a consistent goal scorer. 

10. Gabriel Popovic - FC Xanthi - 2003

Nepotism aside, Popovic played 13 games for Perth Glory last season, displaying glimpses of potential and getting crucial game time in his development which he will hope to build on in Greece. Capable of holding the ball up and confident in the air, Popovic has scored bags of goals at youth level and has a good future ahead. 

11. Rafael Rech - São Paulo - 2002

The son of former Johnny Warren medallist Fernando Rech, the young Brazilian-Australian Rafael was born in Brisbane and eager to represent the country of his birth. His development, however, has taken place in Brazil, an education reflected in his direct, skilful, pacy style of play, taking on defenders and cutting inside to test the goalkeeper, a skill set which caught São Paulo’s eye in his performances for Juventude’s U19 team at the 2020 U19 São Paulo Championship. 

12. Sam Silvera - Casa Pia (on loan from Pacos de Ferreira) - 2000

Having made an impression with his dribbling skill and creativity with Central Coast in the 2019-20 A-League season, Silvera completed a move to Primeira Liga side Pacos de Ferreira before immediately leaving on loan to Segunda Liga side Casa Pia, where he has found minutes hard to come by. While technically proficient, his lack of physicality holds him back in 1v1 situation yet Silvera possesses the talent to succeed in a technical league like that of Portugal. 

13. Mirza Muratovic - Wellington Phoenix - 2000 

After years of prolific goalscoring in the Brisbane Roar youth teams, Muratovic burst onto the scene as a deep lying striker capable of both linking play and scoring under Robbie Fowler, but having found minutes hard to come by under Warren Moon, left to Ufuk Talay’s Wellington Phoenix where he scored on debut. Muratovic’s lack of genuine pace makes it hard for him to stretch defences, but with intelligent movement and technical strength Muratovic is an effective young forward with a high ceiling. 

14. Patrick Wood - Sydney FC - 2002

The young speedster came out of nowhere last year to win the 2020 NPL NSW golden boot, using his electric pace and composed finishing to terrorise opposition defences with a wide array of diverse strikes in NPL football, showing great potential and breaking into Steve Corica’s first team plans, debuting in the Asian Champions League and the A-League. Having also broken into the Young Socceroos setup, Wood will seek to press his claims for more football at Sydney FC and push on in 2021. 

15. Ali Auglah - Western Sydney Wanderers - 2002

Having been selected in the Joeys’ 2019 U17 World Cup squad, the young forward led the line for Western Sydney in the 2020 NPL NSW, standing out for the red and black with his wand of a left foot. Capable of cutting in from the right and scoring from distance and utilising his pace to stretch defences, Auglah has been a feature of Carl Robinson’s extended squads since making his professional debut in January 2020, and will seek to excel under the Welshman’s tutelage. 

16. Pacifique Niyongabire - Adelaide United - 2000

Elvis Kamsoba’s younger brother was on the outer at Adelaide United before the hub conclusion to the 2020-21 A-League season, where he dazzled with skill, trickery, pace and composure, scoring a first A-League goal against Perth in a 5-3 victory. That skill set has been rewarded with increased game time under Carl Veart, under whom he has impressed, alongside a litany of other talented young wingers. 

17. Alou Kuol - Central Coast Mariners - 2001 

The Goulburn Valley Suns product starred in NPL2 Victoria, before earning a move to the Central Coast where he has developed and impressed with his tenacity, speed and determination, scoring a first professional goal in the F3 Derby on New Year’s Eve 2020. Still very raw, Kuol has the potential and athleticism to really star for the Mariners and develop into a well-rounded centre forward. 



Edited
Last Month by sportaddict
Bowden
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Nice work. A great read. 👏 
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This is awesome hopefully we have some future epl players here  
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Bowden Edit: No need to quote entire OP as it stretches the page.

Excellent summary. Some exciting players amongst these, that I expect to see in the Socceroos in the next three years.  Like the look of Nisbet at CCM too. Could be/should be a breakout player this year.
Edited
Last Month by Bowden
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Bowden - 21 Jan 2021 12:43 PM
Nice work. A great read. 👏 

Bondi Bossa Nova Allstar - 21 Jan 2021 1:37 PM
sportaddict - 21 Jan 2021 12:37 PM

Excellent summary. Some exciting players amongst these, that I expect to see in the Socceroos in the next three years.  Like the look of Nisbet at CCM too. Could be/should be a breakout player this year.


Melbcityguy - 21 Jan 2021 1:00 PM
This is awesome hopefully we have some future epl players here  


Thanks all for the positive feedback. Very excited to see these players develop into Socceroos and stats at club level. Hopefully it will happen! 
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Great effort putting this together mate. One question, have you ranked these in order? If so, Tyrese Francois can't be that far down the order - he's debuted for a Premier League team in a cup game already, plus Peupion's got to be up higher than that - he's carving up the u18 prem comp & I think he may have captained the Brighton team as well?
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Great effort, thanks.

Really great to see so many young talents coming to the fore this year.
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Not a bad effort. Mlinaric I’d say should beIn the DF list.
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Bowden Edit: No need to quote entire OP as it stretches the page. 

wow awesome work mate! 

Perfect thread to talk about the next talents coming through.

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SoccerooFan - 21 Jan 2021 2:14 PM
Great effort putting this together mate. One question, have you ranked these in order? If so, Tyrese Francois can't be that far down the order - he's debuted for a Premier League team in a cup game already, plus Peupion's got to be up higher than that - he's carving up the u18 prem comp & I think he may have captained the Brighton team as well?

Yes, they are in order. The reasons Francois and Peupion are so low:
- Yes, Peupion is carving up the U18 comp, but he’s 18 turning 19 largely playing against 15,16 and 17 year olds. If he was carving up the U23s that would be one thing, but at the moment he’s having age group success against mostly players who are 2 years younger than him. I would like to see him play against older players or men before judging him as more talented than players who are playing senior or reserves football. 
- Francois is talented, but he’s turning 21 and he’s played 29 minutes of senior men’s football in his life. Yes, he’s at a Premier League club, and it’s very impressive to be on the verge of a Premier League squad, but at that age he needs regular men’s football to prove his talent rather than performing at U23s level. A loan could do a lot to prove his talent but unfortunately he seems to be plagued by injuries which have halted his development. 

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chondro - 21 Jan 2021 2:27 PM
Not a bad effort. Mlinaric I’d say should beIn the DF list.

Thanks. Yep Mlinaric was on the long list and only just missed out. Difficult to judge given he was in the A-League hub so didn’t play much NPL but he’s been solid when I’ve seen him in the Y-League, U17 WC and NPL. In comparison to JCP and Natta I don’t think he has anything which differentiates himself or stands out whereas JCP is dominant in the air and Natta is superb on the ball. Mlinaric will find it hard to get senior football at Sydney which also makes it difficult; atm he’s probably 5th choice which isn’t ideal. 
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Probably in terms of power rankings from all of those I wonder who would be first? Maybe Robertson or Watts? Arzani and McGree naturally are up there based on first team football.

In terms of other talent you could add in the likes of Oliveira, Segecic, Lopane, Yull and Musa Toure.

I wonder who else could be on the list? 
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Holy fuck people stop quoting the entire OP, no shit your responding to that use the + button and not the reply button.

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Without wanting to sound greedy, why stop at Top 50?

I’d personally love an extended list with no limit on numbers if you happened to have an interest in expanding it :)
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Barca4Life - 21 Jan 2021 3:02 PM
Probably in terms of power rankings from all of those I wonder who would be first? Maybe Robertson or Watts? Arzani and McGree naturally are up there based on first team football.

In terms of other talent you could add in the likes of Oliveira, Segecic, Lopane, Yull and Musa Toure.

I wonder who else could be on the list? 

Who else could be added?
Marlee Francois (younger bro of Tyrese) - supposedly impressing at Bristol City
Aydin Hammond (younger bro of Tristan) - remember him playing quite well in u/16 joeys team
Zak Gilsenan - scoring a lot for Blackburn u/18s and regularly playing for u/23s
Isaac Danzo in Spain is only 20

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Also I love how you’ve split out the list by position. Makes it far easier to digest. Maybe a personal preference but an even stronger iteration for next time could be updating the categories to specific position e.g ‘Left Back’ instead of ‘Defender’. 

Obviously positions can be fluid with young players but the same could be said even with the current categories with many players switching between defence/midfield and forward/midfield.

Once again, sensational work 👏 

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Very good, thanks for posting.

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Always love a good speculation thread, only to check on them years later and realise none of the ‘next big thing’ ever made it.
Great work here nonetheless.
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Podiacide - 21 Jan 2021 3:49 PM
Barca4Life - 21 Jan 2021 3:02 PM

Who else could be added?
Marlee Francois (younger bro of Tyrese) - supposedly impressing at Bristol City
Aydin Hammond (younger bro of Tristan) - remember him playing quite well in u/16 joeys team
Zak Gilsenan - scoring a lot for Blackburn u/18s and regularly playing for u/23s
Isaac Danzo in Spain is only 20

People who were close but just missed out include Murray Miller, Zak Gilsenan, Oliver Kalac, Jaimie Cogman, Akiel Raffie, Anton Mlinaric, Lewis Miller, Charlie Miller, Luke Ivanovic, Moudi Najjar, Luis Lawrie Lattanzio, Jay Barnett, Jerry Skotadis, Anthony Lesiotis, Kai Trewin, Doni Grdic, Lachlan Sepping, Michael Ruhs, Isaac Danzo, Jacob Chapman
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Bowden - 21 Jan 2021 3:50 PM
Also I love how you’ve split out the list by position. Makes it far easier to digest. Maybe a personal preference but an even stronger iteration for next time could be updating the categories to specific position e.g ‘Left Back’ instead of ‘Defender’. 

Obviously positions can be fluid with young players but the same could be said even with the current categories with many players switching between defence/midfield and forward/midfield.

Once again, sensational work 👏 

Thanks for the feedback mate. Next year I’ll have a look at doing that. 
Bowden - 21 Jan 2021 3:45 PM
Without wanting to sound greedy, why stop at Top 50?

I’d personally love an extended list with no limit on numbers if you happened to have an interest in expanding it :)

The reason I stop at 50 is that was the number of Neanderthal’s original and pioneering list. But in reality imo I don’t think Australian football has enough talent depth yet to really go further. I can try and find the long list I started off with but I’m pretty sure I’ve named most of the ones I left out in a comment a bit further up. 
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Thanks a lot. The majority of 2018 have done well. Admittedly I didn't know so many at the time but they're certainly present now. 

Nicholas Pennington is now Serie C. That young City winger who assisted Maclaren will hopefully play more. 
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sportaddict - 21 Jan 2021 5:35 PM
Podiacide - 21 Jan 2021 3:49 PM

People who were close but just missed out include Murray Miller, Zak Gilsenan, Oliver Kalac, Jaimie Cogman, Akiel Raffie, Anton Mlinaric, Lewis Miller, Charlie Miller, Luke Ivanovic, Moudi Najjar, Luis Lawrie Lattanzio, Jay Barnett, Jerry Skotadis, Anthony Lesiotis, Kai Trewin, Doni Grdic, Lachlan Sepping, Michael Ruhs, Isaac Danzo, Jacob Chapman

So everyone going on about our development being shite shouldn't be so quick to criticise? With all of the u21 talent playing every week in the A League, moving up from the academy teams & all of the young kids OS, there's probably a hundred players who could make this list. Obviously not all will kick on, but it's looking pretty promising for the NT squads 
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Barca4Life - 21 Jan 2021 3:02 PM
Probably in terms of power rankings from all of those I wonder who would be first? Maybe Robertson or Watts? Arzani and McGree naturally are up there based on first team football.


"First team football"??... What first team football?? 🤔


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SoccerooFan - 21 Jan 2021 6:37 PM
sportaddict - 21 Jan 2021 5:35 PM

So everyone going on about our development being shite shouldn't be so quick to criticise? With all of the u21 talent playing every week in the A League, moving up from the academy teams & all of the young kids OS, there's probably a hundred players who could make this list. Obviously not all will kick on, but it's looking pretty promising for the NT squads 

While this is true to an extent, and the A-League has improved a lot in that most of the players above 19 on this list who are based in Australia are playing regularly, many more at least than last year, if I had to find 50 more they would be players who have never really got first team football. That’s not really that surprising and a function more than anything of the paucity of professional teams in this country, if there were 16, there’d be more choice, 20 the same etc etc. The only really regular players who weren’t included were Najjar, Akbari, Casella and Anderson. 
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Top job SA some great assessments. 
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SoccerooFan - 21 Jan 2021 6:37 PM
sportaddict - 21 Jan 2021 5:35 PM

So everyone going on about our development being shite shouldn't be so quick to criticise? With all of the u21 talent playing every week in the A League, moving up from the academy teams & all of the young kids OS, there's probably a hundred players who could make this list. Obviously not all will kick on, but it's looking pretty promising for the NT squads 

Its easy to look at it like that but the truth is the pathways and overall in developing players in the last 15 years is the reason why we haven't seen the talent from previous generations especially the 2006 team.

The reality is the biggest bottleneck in youth development in Australian, has been a lack of opportunities through mainly not enough teams or not enough spots to start games and when they are not in first team football the youth leagues are not strong enough to create long and consistent football compared to our overseas counterparts in Europe and Asia.

A 8 NYL season and a 22 NPL season is not enough football if they not at aleague level.

So basically not enough opportunities and not enough games has been the biggest problems to put it short, also ive witnessed the lack of international exposure has been a problem more and more in the last few years.

Some former coaches and players say we lack in football talent if anything but, in fact largely to the FFA NC implemented a decade we are starting to see fruits of that labour where a large breed of Aussie footballers who are technically more efficient and not relying on the speed and strength which Australian football has being known for, alot of these names reflect this.

If it wasnt for Covid would we see these young players get the amount of game time we are seeing? Not sure but as they say any crisis presents opportunity this perfectly describes the current situation.
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Barca4Life - 21 Jan 2021 9:14 PM
SoccerooFan - 21 Jan 2021 6:37 PM

Its easy to look at it like that but the truth is the pathways and overall in developing players in the last 15 years is the reason why we haven't seen the talent from previous generations especially the 2006 team.

The reality is the biggest bottleneck in youth development in Australian, has been a lack of opportunities through mainly not enough teams or not enough spots to start games and when they are not in first team football the youth leagues are not strong enough to create long and consistent football compared to our overseas counterparts in Europe and Asia.

A 8 NYL season and a 22 NPL season is not enough football if they not at aleague level.

So basically not enough opportunities and not enough games has been the biggest problems to put it short, also ive witnessed the lack of international exposure has been a problem more and more in the last few years.

Some former coaches and players say we lack in football talent if anything but, in fact largely to the FFA NC implemented a decade we are starting to see fruits of that labour where a large breed of Aussie footballers who are technically more efficient and not relying on the speed and strength which Australian football has being known for, alot of these names reflect this.

If it wasnt for Covid would we see these young players get the amount of game time we are seeing? Not sure but as they say any crisis presents opportunity this perfectly describes the current situation.

We would not sadly. I would like to hope the AL now has proof of what kind of league it is. Which is a development league to give senior football to talented youngsters. We can pretend we will be the biggest in Asia, but the reality is for the next decade development should be priority.

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jaymz - 22 Jan 2021 9:48 AM
Barca4Life - 21 Jan 2021 9:14 PM

We would not sadly. I would like to hope the AL now has proof of what kind of league it is. Which is a development league to give senior football to talented youngsters. We can pretend we will be the biggest in Asia, but the reality is for the next decade development should be priority.

The A-League should be on the whole a development league. But this is not as black and white as people make it out to be. CR at WSW is developing players: Tass, Natta, Aquilina, Baccus, Margush, Russell - in two years time with a lot of football under their belts if a Wanderers team with those players, now in Socceroos contention and ready to move to Europe, and surrounded by experienced imports and Aussies, were to play in the Asian Champions League, then they should be very competitive against Asian opposition and could make a run for the trophy. 

Being a developmental league doesn’t preclude the league from being a strong and competitive league in Asia. If anything, the ultimate test of our developmental system should be if we can take a team with some older players and  some 20-22 year olds with 50-100 A-L appearances into the ACL and those players can not only compete but dominate. The ACL should be the finishing school of young Australian talent before moving to Europe; before proving yourself against Europe’s best, prove yourself against Asia’s best. Development doesn’t come at the expense of competitiveness   

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sportaddict - 22 Jan 2021 10:16 AM
jaymz - 22 Jan 2021 9:48 AM

The A-League should be on the whole a development league. But this is not as black and white as people make it out to be. CR at WSW is developing players: Tass, Natta, Aquilina, Baccus, Margush, Russell - in two years time with a lot of football under their belts if a Wanderers team with those players, now in Socceroos contention and ready to move to Europe, and surrounded by experienced imports and Aussies, were to play in the Asian Champions League, then they should be very competitive against Asian opposition and could make a run for the trophy. 

Being a developmental league doesn’t preclude the league from being a strong and competitive league in Asia. If anything, the ultimate test of our developmental system should be if we can take a team with some older players and  some 20-22 year olds with 50-100 A-L appearances into the ACL and those players can not only compete but dominate. The ACL should be the finishing school of young Australian talent before moving to Europe; before proving yourself against Europe’s best, prove yourself against Asia’s best. Development doesn’t come at the expense of competitiveness   

I agree, i was more saying we are pretending that we will be the biggest league in Asia (along the lines of the CSL), but realistically we wont be. I see the A league as having the potential to be the Dutch equivalent of Asia. A great development league which is competitive at champions league level but realistically never has any tournament favourites

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jaymz - 22 Jan 2021 9:48 AM
Barca4Life - 21 Jan 2021 9:14 PM

We would not sadly. I would like to hope the AL now has proof of what kind of league it is. Which is a development league to give senior football to talented youngsters. We can pretend we will be the biggest in Asia, but the reality is for the next decade development should be priority.

Personally I dont think you could force the clubs to become development clubs, after all its based on thier business model but it does make sense for Australian clubs to developer of talent as the markets overseas in Europe and Asia are quite tempting on a financial perspective.

To me it all starts with the salary cap, and introduce the domestic transfer system and think we will see clubs business models change and it might encourage more player development.

The salary cap brings in a safety net financially but it isnt sustainable for squad development, the foreign quota I think he been overdone and has allowed clubs to recruit in a lazy manner.
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