These are the players who all have big international futures in front of them and are likely to be stars of the next World Cup
Jadon Sancho will be trying to lead England to World Cup glory in 2022.
Alongside fellow superstar-n-waiting Marcus Rashford, the 18-year-old could be rubbing shoulders with football’s elite in Qatar where the next generation of superstars will grace football’s biggest stage.
So who else will be hogging the headlines in three years? Here, talkSPORT.com imagines what a ‘World XI’ in 2022 might look like.
Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan and Italy)
Gianluigi Donnarumma is a star for Italy and AC Milan
Donnarumma has been Italy’s no.1 since legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon announced his retirement from international football after his country’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. At just 20 years old, Donnarumma is expected to become one of the world’s best keepers.
Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich and Germany)
Joshua Kimmich is a reliable defender
Kimmich is maturing into a fine full-back and can also operate in midfield. He has filled the void left by former Bayern Munich and Germany captain Philipp Lahm, who retired in 2017. He has recorded an impressive 12 assists so far this season.
Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax and the Netherlands)
Matthijs de Ligt is destined for a big move
Already Ajax captain, De Ligt is tipped to become the world’s most expensive defender when he inevitably completes his big money move. His potential transfer could surpass the £75million Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil van Dijk. Karim Benzema was kept quiet by De Ligt in Ajax’s 4-1 Champions League win at the Bernabeu.
Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil)
Marquinhos is a perfect successor to Thiago Silva
Marquinhos’ only 2018 World Cup appearance came as a late substitute in a 2-0 win over Mexico in the last-16 stage. But with Miranda and Thiago Silva, both 34, highly unlikely to feature at the next tournament, it opens the door for Marquinhos to star in Qatar. The 24-year-old has become a regular starter for Paris Saint-Germain, playing in defence and midfield. In 2022, he could help end Brazil’s 20-year wait for a World Cup crown.
Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City and France)
Benjamin Mendy needs to stay fit
If Mendy can put his injury woes behind him, he could become the world-class left-back he is supposed to be. Knee issues have restricted the Frenchman to just 20 appearances in almost two years. Hopefully, he will star at the 2022 World Cup and get back to his best.
Frenkie de Jong (Ajax and the Netherlands)
Frenkie de Jong is a key player for the Netherlands
De Jong’s £65million move to Barcelona will be completed on July 1. He is set to be the heartbeat of the Netherlands’ midfield at the next World Cup. After dominating Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in the Champions League last 16, it’s clear to see why Barcelona spent so much money on him.
Rodrigo Bentancur (Juventus and Uruguay)
Rodrigo Bentancur keeps Uruguay’s midfield ticking
Bentancur was one of the surprise performers at the 2018 World Cup. He started all five of Uruguay’s games and kept Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira out of the side. He is learning off top pros such as Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi at Juventus and is expected to be a regular fixture in their midfield in years to come. He has already made 32 appearances this season.
Dele Alli (Tottenham and England)
Dele Alli is a regular for Tottenham and England
Alli scored in England’s quarter-final victory over Sweden last summer and made five appearances in his first World Cup. He is ever-present in Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham team and has shown versatility by playing in attacking and central midfield positions over the years.
Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund and England)
Jadon Sancho was all smiles in England training this week
Moving from Manchester City to Borussia Dortmund has paid off for Sancho, who is playing regular first-team football in the Bundesliga. His eight goals and 12 assists have kept £58million Chelsea signing Christian Pulisic on the bench this season. He is expected to significantly add to his three England caps in the future.
Marcus Rashford (Manchester United and England)
Marcus Rashford has won 31 caps for England
Often deployed out wide by former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, Rashford has shown he can play through the middle in recent months. He has scored eight goals as a striker during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s interim reign. A potential strike partnership with captain Harry Kane could be lethal for England.
Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain and France)
Kylian Mbappe kisses the World Cup trophy
Mbappe has won a World Cup with France and scored 55 league goals in 91 appearances. It seems like only a matter of time until he gets his hands on the Ballon d’Or award.
One way a ‘World XI’ in 2022 might look