By Yoosof Farah (Aston Villa Featured Columnist)
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The world of football is awash with young superstar talent, players who look up to their football icons and want to become as good as, if not better, than them.
Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney has made himself one such football icon, with his exquisite technique, creative flair, understanding of the game and overall work ethic making him one of the top players in world football today, even if he has only managed three Premier League goals so far this season.
In essence, the superstars of tomorrow want to become the next Wayne Rooney. After all, who doesn’t want to make that dream £30million move to a club like Manchester United and earn £200,000 week, winning titles such as the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup and Club World Cup?
That’s not to say these possible superstars have to be younger than Rooney to be “the next him”, nor that they have to be out-and-out strikers. After all, Rooney has played anywhere from support striker to full-back this season!
To be considered on this list as the next Wayne Rooney, these players are those who do have brilliant technique in finishing, control of the ball, passing, etc, as well as that creativity and playmaking ability which has seen Rooney be the key to Dimitar Berbatov’s 17 league goals this season.
So here on this list are 25 top talents with clear potential to become as talismanic to a top club as Wayne Rooney is for Manchester United and England.
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Javier Hernandez, a.k.a Chicharito, has lit up the Premier League this season with his natural, instinctive finishing and the ability to always make things happen when he touches the ball.
His understanding of the game, real striker’s instinct and surprisingly good aerial ability (as his manager puts it, he’s able to “hang” in the air) for a diminutive figure has made Chicharito a key player for Manchester United and one of world football’s brightest young talents.
He was the quickest player at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, reaching a top speed of 32.15 km/h, and is also the highest scoring Mexican ever in Premier League history.
With nine goals to his name this season from 24 appearances, Hernandez has learnt well from teammates like Dimitar Berbatov, Ryan Giggs, Michael Owen and of course, Wayne Rooney.
His fluent English, genuine likeability factor and the fact he’s a fan favourite have already earned the 22-year-old comparisons with teammate Rooney.
With a bit more experience in English football under his belt, Hernandez has the potential to become the player Rooney is and even challenge the Englishman for a regular place in United starting line-up.