Mbappe is just the tip of the French iceberg

With the Under-20 World Cup set to begin this weekend in South Korea, Ben Lyttleton at's Planet Futbol has assembled a list of the top 20 under-20 players in the world:

1. F Kylian Mbappe, Monaco (France, 18)
2. GK Gianluigi Donnarumma, AC Milan (Italy, 18)
3. W Ousmane Dembele, Borussia Dortmund (France, 19)
4. LB Theo Hernandez, Atletico Madrid (France, 19)
5. W Justin Kluivert, Ajax (Netherlands, 18)
6. CB Dan-Axel Zagadou, Paris SG (France, 17)
7. F Marcus Rashford, Manchester United (England, 18)
8. MF Renato Sanches, Bayern Munich (Portugal, 19)
9. CB Dayot Upamecano, RB Leipzig (France, 18)
10. MF Juan Camilo Hernandez, Granada (Colombia, 18)
11. MF *Christopher Nkunku, Paris SG (France, 19)
12. MF Nikola Moro, Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia, 19)
13. MF Christian Pulisic, Borussia Dortmund (USA, 18)
14. MF *Rodrigo Bentancur, Boca Juniors (Uruguay, 19)
15. MF Javier Ontiveros, Malaga (Spain, 19)
16. CB Vitao, Palmeiras (Brazil, 17)
17. MF Kai Havertz, Bayer Leverkusen (Germany) 17
18. F Vinicius Junior, Flamengo (Brazil, 16)
19. LB Ryan Sessegnon, Fulham (England, 16)
20. MF Carel Eiting, Ajax (Netherlands, 19)
*Will play in Under-20 World Cup.

A few things stand out about the list:

-- Just two of the 20 players will be playing in South Korea. Some are too young to be considered for their U-20 national teams. Others play for countries that didn't qualify. And several have already graduated to their senior national teams, like American Christian Pulisic.

-- For all the coverage of Pulisic as the greatest American prospect to ever come along and praise for his play this season at Borussia Dortmund, he only ranks 13th on the list.

-- What stands out about the list, though, is the dominance of French players. Kylian Mbappe, who can clinch the French Ligue 1 title with Monaco on Wednesday and led it to the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League, is the obvious No. 1 on this list, but he is only one of six French players in the first 11. To put it in context, no other country has more than two players on the list.

Ousmane Dembele, Pulisic's teammate at Borussia Dortmund, is No. 3. Atletico Madrid's Theo Hernandez, considered the top young player in La Liga, is No. 4. Less well known are Dayot Upamecano, who joined RB Leipzig in January, and a pair of Paris St. Germain players, Dan-Axel Zagadou and Christopher Nkunku.

We'll add a late candidate to this list of exceptional French "espoirs." On Tuesday, Lyon's Amine Gouiri scored to give France a 1-0 win over Hungary and fifth place at the UEFA U-17 championship that qualified for the Bleuets for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup this fall in India.

The goal gave the 17-year-old Gouiri a record nine goals in five games at the UEFA U-17 championship and upped the pressure on Lyon to get him to sign his first pro contract.
3 comments about "Mbappe is just the tip of the French iceberg".
  1. ROBERT BOND, May 17, 2017 at 10:17 a.m.

    who's coaching?

  2. Fire Paul Gardner Now, May 17, 2017 at 11:33 a.m.

    6 of the top 11? France is loaded with good young players.

  3. Quarterback TD, May 18, 2017 at 1:30 p.m.

    The only player with true individual potential is Vinicius Junior.. I have looked at Mbappe and there are a lot of suspected weakness like the ability to create when going up against good defenders as well as his endurance. Hopefully I am wrong about Mbappe but we will know in a year or two when he is traded. In addition his dribbling is not going to hold up as it is not elusive like Neymar so over time it becomes useless. Vinicius Junior Reminds me of Ronaldo of young where he can post up any player on 1v1, 1v2 and even 1v3 and that is something that is only establish young.

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