Football Manager 2017 wonderkids revealed
By Adam Smith & Jonny Keogh
Last Updated: 03/11/16 6:11pm
We've worked out the world's best wonderkid XI from the new Football Manager 2017 game.
Sports Interactive uses a network of more than 1,300 football scouts across 51 countries to create player databases for the simulation game.
This year's instalment of Football Manager will be released on Friday and we've scouted their latest player stats to find 11 of the world's best youngsters who were under 21 years old at the start of the season.
Gianluigi Donnarumma is just 17 years old but has established himself as AC Milan's No 1 goalkeeper this season and earned his first international cap for Italy against France in September.
Benfica and reported Manchester United target Alex Grimaldo makes the XI at left-back, while Leverkusen centre-back Tin Jedvaj and Sampdoria right-back Pedro Pereira, who was reportedly a Leicester target earlier this year, make up the back three.
Santos defensive midfielder Thiago Maia's talents have alerted Chelsea, and the 19-year-old is the wonderkid XI anchor in defensive midfield.
Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli is the only English player to make the wonderkid starting XI but the 20-year-old is forced to the left wing amid the abundance of midfield talent available.
Lodged in the centre of midfield is 19-year-old Ruben Neves, who has been linked with a host of Premier League clubs and has collected 51 caps for Porto and two senior international caps for Portugal.
Southampton's Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who Pep Guardiola compared to Sergio Busquets during his time at Bayern Munich, slots between Munich's very own Renato Sanches and Ponte Preta Brazilian midfielder Matheus Jesus.
Inter Milan's Gabriel Barbosa leads the attack ahead of Manchester City's Kelechi Iheanacho, who makes the bench. The 19-year-old Brazilian is typically employed on the right wing, but his stats were too good to resist.
Besides Iheanacho, the wonderkid XI subs bench includes Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman, on-loan from Juventus, River Plate goalkeeper Augusto Batalla, Atalanta's Franck Kessie, Gelsenkirchen's Breel Embolo, Bordeaux's Malcom, Manchester City-bound Gabriel Jesus and Gremio's Lincoln.
A raft of youngsters with British links just fell short of making the XI, including Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, Watford's Isaac Success and Adalberto Penaranda, West Ham's Reece Oxford, Chelsea's Tammy Abraham and West Brom's Jonathan Leko.
Other hot prospects include Liverpool's Divock Origi and Joe Gomez, Arsenal's Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Krystian Bielik, Manchester City's Patrick Roberts and Enes Unal, Newcastle's Chancel Mbemba, Leipzig's Oliver Burke and Celtic's Moussa Dembele.