The knockout phases of the UEFA Champions League are gearing up to get underway, and amongst all the thrills and spills that they have to offer, there will be a wide range of youngsters trying to make a name for themselves in Europe’s top competition.
Now more than ever it seems that the continent’s top teams aren’t afraid to put faith in their youngsters, even the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich, who lead the way in the Champions League odds, have fielded youth players amongst their heavily experienced XIs in this season’s campaign.
So, with the Round of 16 little more than a month away, let’s take a look at some of the best youngsters to keep an eye out for. Read on to find out more!
Tyler Adams – RB Leipzig
At just 21 years of age, RB Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams is already a fairly experienced player. Adams joined the German Bundesliga side from New York Red Bulls last January and instantly became a regular feature in the Leipzig XI. The United States international was a key figure in Leipzig’s progression to the semi-finals of the competition last season, but minutes have been hard to come by this campaign, and he is yet to start a UCL game. Here’s hoping we get to see a glimpse of him against Premier League champions Liverpool.
Mitchel Bakker – PSG
Mitchel Bakker joined PSG from Dutch side Ajax in the 2019 summer transfer window, but it wasn’t until this season that he burst onto the scene at Le Parc des Princes. The 20-year-old left-back has been left on the bench for just one of PSG’s league games thus far this season and featured in all six of Les Parisiens’ Champions League group stage games – starting in the home ties against Leipzig and İstanbul Başakşehir. He will, however, have his work cut out against Barcelona in the Round of 16, so it will be interesting to see how he copes.
Jude Bellingham – Borussia Dortmund
17-year-old Jude Bellingham got a mammoth move from English Championship side Birmingham City to Borussia Dortmund in the summer, with BVB paying just over £20 million for his services. He has already become one of the first names on the team sheet at the Signal Iduna Park, featuring in the majority of the side’s Bundesliga games, and all six of their UCL games – starting in four. Dortmund will be going up against Europa League champions Sevilla in the Round of 16, and we’re sure the reliant pairing of Bellingham and Axel Witsel will be in midfield.
Jamal Musiala – Bayern Munich
Jude Bellingham isn’t the only 17-year-old English midfielder making a name for himself in the Bundesliga. In July 2019, Bayern Munich signed Jamal Musiala, who has represented both Germany and England at youth level, from Chelsea and back in June he made his debut for the Bundesliga and Champions League winners. Since then, he has made a further 11 league appearances and three UCL outings, alongside a couple of cup appearances. It’s not often Musiala is left on the bench for the full 90 minutes, so hopefully we will get to see something from him against Lazio.
Pedri – Barcelona
Youngster Pedri has given Barcelona fans a lot to get excited about this season. The Catalan side paid Las Palmas just 5 million euros for the 18-year-old last September, but the deal didn’t come into effect until July. This season, Pedri has been a stalwart in Ronald Koeman’s Barça side. He has featured in all 16 of Barcelona’s La Liga games, and was left on the bench just once in the UCL. It will be interesting to see how he fairs against a top PSG side in the Round of 16.