From Kudus to Gavi: eight players ready to break through at World Cup

We pick the young stars well placed to shine in Qatar, ranging from Milan’s Rafael Leão to Real Sociedad’s Takefusa KuboThe 22-year-old arrived in Europe as a teenager after spending his youth in the Right to Dream academy in his homeland. Nordsjælland put him in the first team at 18, quickly proving himself too good for the Danish league in the following two seasons. Ajax spotted his talents and paid €9m to bring him to the Eredivisie. Erik ten Hag used him mainly as a central midfielder but he can play further forward and already has five goals from 18 appearances at international level. Kudus possesses great close control, can dumbfound defenders in tight spaces and can drive his team forward thanks to his dribbling. He reads the game well and even when running at speed seems to know where his teammates will be, helping him become a prolific assister for his club. WU

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