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With the 2018 World Cup now one month away, football fans from all four corners of the globe will be keeping an eye on the brightest young talent. International football’s biggest competition tends to attract plenty of hype and transfer activity after the tournament will be rife. We’ve looked at five of English football’s future stars; all of these men could light up the World Cup in the years to come…
1. Demarai Gray
Once described as the golden boy of English football, Gray has matured into a regular for Claude Puel’s Leicester City this season. He has started 16 Premier League games, scored three goals, and assisted another one—a decent return for such a raw talent.
He has appeared 41 times for the Foxes in 2017/18 in all competitions, and he looks set to shine at the King Power Stadium for a long time. A move to one of the Premier League’s top clubs, such as Tottenham Hotspur or Arsenal, could be on the cards at some stage if he can maintain his current form for a prolonged spell.
2. Ryan Kent
Kent is currently on loan at Bristol City but his long-term plan is to develop into a first-team regular at parent club Liverpool. The Robins, once as short as 2/1 in the Championship betting odds to earn promotion to the Premier League, struggled to maintain momentum in the second half of the 2017/18 campaign but fans will recall their incredible Carabao Cup run.
The 21-year-old came off the bench in Bristol City’s second leg defeat to Manchester City and showed plenty of guts and determination during his cameo role. Kent could mature into a top talent in the future; for now, he remains a promising prospect.
3. Marcus Rashford
Already a household name in English football, Rashford has flourished into one of England’s most dangerous attacking options. At just 18 years old, he appeared for the Three Lions at the 2016 European Championships—making him the youngest player ever to represent England at the tournament.
He has struggled to hold down a regular spot in Manchester United’s starting line-up this season though; Jose Mourinho has preferred to go with Jesse Lingard and Alexis Sanchez. Still, time is very much on Rashford’s side.
4. Kieran Dowell
Another player out on loan in the Championship, Dowell was prolific for Nottingham Forest during the first half of the campaign but his form has tailed off in recent months. The 20-year-old has the potential to flourish into a top quality talent for Everton at some point in the future but the Toffees must now decide whether to keep him on their books or not.
He has featured 47 times for Forest this season and Championship followers will be keeping a close eye on his current situation. Everton may be looking to loan the youngster out for another season and there will be a number of interested parties.
5. Trent Alexander-Arnold
Liverpool’s first choice right-back for most of the 2017/18 campaign, Alexander-Arnold has already achieved so much at just 19 years of age. Set to play in this month’s Champions League final, the youngster aspires to captain Liverpool in the future and he could be set for a very successful career.
He has featured 32 times for Jurgen Klopp’s side this season; including 16 starts in England’s top flight. Alexander-Arnold should mature into an elite talent on the international stage at some point soon. Will he sneak into Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad this summer? Only time will tell.