Discover how you can make the most of Wyscout and Data as a Service to identify some of the most exciting teenage talent in world football.

Football has seen a significant shift in recruitment trends, with global spending on players reaching record levels as clubs recover from the pandemic.   

Given the large sums and fine margins involved, transfer strategies have increasingly moved towards a focus on younger players with high potential for a return on investment, driving up the prices for the most coveted rising stars.

Inevitably, as more teams have access to video, data, scouting networks and player agencies, the need to ‘find talent first’ has increased in importance and, as a result, taken the search to ever younger age groups.

Player comparison example from Wyscout Player Lists' compare mode

A cursory glance at some of the hottest properties in world football highlights the worth placed in some of the youngest players. 

Barcelona’s 16-year-old wonderkid Lamine Yamal has recently signed a contract with a release clause of €1 billion, Warren Zaïre-Emery is a regular for PSG at just 17 and South American starlets Endrick, Vitor Roque and Kendry Páez all had multi-million deals in place to move to the top clubs in Europe before they turned 18.

Kendry Páez playing for IDV at the 2022 Copa Mitad del Mundo

Access to video and data is one thing but an effective use of the stats and footage at your disposal is an altogether different challenge. 

Wyscout’s one-stop database and Hudl’s Data as a Service consultancy can help scouts and agents make data-driven recruitment decisions and unearth the next generation of stars. 

But how can you make the most of the platform capabilities? Using tools such as Advanced Search, Talent Center, Rankings, we demonstrate how you can identify some of the best U17 talents in world football.

Gianluca Prestianni 

Argentina’s status as one of the biggest exporters in football is well-established, with 905 expatriates plying their trade aboard as per statistics from May 2023, and is always a fertile ground for young talent.

So when using Wyscout’s Talent Center’s ‘Regulars’ filter - which lists young players who have played at least 20% of total first team minutes in the current season - to look at players born since 2006 across all of Latin America, it’s no surprise to see an Argentinian top the chart.

Diminutive winger Gianluca Prestianni has featured in 49.39% of available minutes this season at the time of writing, playing 29 times despite being just 17. With his low centre of gravity, tight close control and impudent flair, Prestianni averages an impressive 4.01 successful dribbles and 3.5 progressive runs per 90 for Velez, a club well known for championing youth development.

Prestianni's dribbles in the Primera Division this year - Wyscout Player Report

Along with U17 international teammates Claudio ‘Diablito’ Echeverri and Franco Mastantuono, it looks like Argentina are well stocked for creative enganches for the foreseeable future.

Amara Diouf

Wyscout’s Talent Center also allows you to quickly identify players who have broken into their first team, are playing a couple age groups above their level or have recently made a senior debut. This can be filtered further down by age categories, geographical regions, leagues or position, allowing recruiters to refine a long list into a shortlist in a few simple steps.

Taking ‘National Debuts’ as an example for our desired age range, one player immediately jumps out. Senegalese forward Amara Diouf made his senior national team debut aged just 15, coming off the bench against Rwanda in an AFCON qualifier this September.

A product of the Génération Foot Academy, Diouf looks set to follow in the footsteps of former graduates Sadio Mane and Ismaïla Sarr. Usually operating off the left wing, Diouf displayed his technique, dynamism and clinical instinct as Senegal won a maiden U17 Africa Cup of Nations, finishing as top scorer with 5 goals and 2 assists, despite being nearly three years younger than most of his opponents.

Keita Kosugi

Another effective resource for any club’s talent identification and recruitment process is Wyscout’s Rankings tool, which uses customizable filters to compare and contrast metrics of players and teams in any given competition.

Analyzing the 2023 AFC U17 Asian Cup, Japan left back Keita Kosugi stands out in a number of the rankings statistics, both in and out of possession. The Shanon Bellmare defender not only charted second for defensive duels (47 with a 82.98% success rate) and interceptions (35), but also finished top for passes to the final third (69) and progressive passes (78).

Paris Brunner 

When looking to cast the net wider than a specific competition, Wyscout’s Advanced Search allows you to quickly narrow down data from over 600,000 players, based on the parameters you choose.  

For example, when selecting all competitions from the last calendar year, setting the age range to U21 players only, and ordering by number of goals, we see that no player has scored more than Borussia Dortmund’s Paris Brunner, with 33 strikes at the time of writing.

Digging down into the statistics from Wyscout’s data further, we can see the 17-year-old is the leading scorer of the U19 Bundesliga this season, averaging 1.53 goals per 90, and had the best goals to minute ratio in last year’s U17 Bundesliga with 16 goals in 560 minutes. What’s more, the lethal striker also received the Fritz Walter award for best German U17 player and was the star of the European U17 Championships in May.

Brunner's shot map from his Wyscout Player Report

Brunner would certainly seem to be in the perfect place to develop, given Dortmund’s commitment to youth development - highlighted by a recent CIES report showing that they are the club that gives the highest percentage of minutes to U20 players in all of Europe’s Top 5 leagues.

Jesus Velasco

Scouting a player based on headline numbers can often only paint part of the bigger picture. In the modern game, forwards are expected to do more than put the ball in the back of the net and finding the player profile that will best fit your team’s game model is crucial in talent identification. 

For clubs and organizations looking to take their recruitment to the next level, Hudl’s Data as a Service consultancy provides a bespoke service for scouting solutions, equipping you with everything from semi-customizable dashboards through to unique central databases, depending on your needs and data strategy.  

In the image below we can see a dashboard with custom attacking and defensive metrics - that can be adapted to your game model - which, in this case, have been filtered down to display U19 Mexican strikers.

In the top right, Nexaca’s Jesus Velasco stands out for both his attacking and defensive work. As well as having bagged 22 goals in the last calendar year, the 17-year-old also ranks highly for counter pressing regains and defensive duels.

While other players might flag up purely in terms of goalscoring numbers, such as Tahiel Jimenez, Joaquin Moxica or CONCACAF U17 Championship top scorer Stephano Carrillo, finding a player who can execute a specific role requires a more nuanced approach.

The dashboards curated by Hudl’s Data as a Service consultants can help you to find the player profiles that will best fit your team’s philosophy and style of play, boosting the chances of a seamless adaptation and on-field success to keep you one step ahead of the competition.

To find out more about the services that Hudl’s Data as a Service consultancy can provide, get in touch and start overcoming tomorrow’s challenges today.

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