Many of today’s stars earned their spurs at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens, and at the 2016 edition there will be a host of new talent on display with aspirations to join them. Here are 10 players you should be looking out for when the action kicks off at Hong Kong Football Club.
Daniel Barlaser – Newcastle United
Gateshead-born Turkish youth international Daniel Barlaser (pictured above, right) grew up a Newcastle United fan and has been at the club since the age of nine. The midfielder is known for his mazy runs down the right flank, modelling his game as a youngster on Hatem Ben Arfa. Barlaser, 19, won the Montaigu Tournament with Turkey’s U-16s in 2013, after beating England in the final.
Jo Sang-hyun – FC Seoul
Leading scorer in Group A of the K-League Junior 2016 U-18 Championship, Jo Sang-hyun is highly regarded at FC Seoul. The striker, 18, was part of the South Korea squad that finished runners-up in the 2014 AFC U-16 Championship, and the Korean giants will be looking to the frontman to help fire them to the latter stages of the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens in their tournament debut.
Admiral Muskwe – Leicester City
Admiral Muskwe is one of Leicester City’s most promising youngsters, having built up a reputation as a prolific marksman. The 17-year-old has also represented England at U-16 and U-17 level and recently picked up the Leicester’s Academy Player of the Season award. Muskwe, a regular in his side’s U-21 team, will arrive here on a high after Leicester’s incredible Premier League triumph.
Joel Taylor – Stoke City
Recently named Stoke City’s U-21 Player of the Season award, Joel Taylor has been tipped to break into the first team in the near future. The winger-cum-attacking full-back, 20, has already spent long spells training with the senior squad, and youth coach Glyn Hodges believes he has a bright future in the game.
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy – Aston Villa
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy became Aston Villa’s youngest player when he came off the bench in March 2015 in a 4-0 away victory at Sunderland. Now 17, the pacey forward is regarded as one of the hottest prospects in Villa’s youth set-up, and made his second substitute appearance in the 0-0 draw with Newcastle United at Villa Park earlier this month.
Dylan Fox – Wellington Phoenix
Already established as a first-team player after making his debut in 2015, Dylan Fox made 12 appearances for Wellington Phoenix in Australia’s A-League last season. Born in Northern Ireland, the 22-year-old Australian national’s next step is to replace club veteran Ben Sigmund, who retired at the end of the 2015-16 season, in the heart of the Phoenix defence.
Ngan Cheuk Pan – Kitchee
Tipped for big things by Kitchee’s first team captain Lo Kwan Yee, 2016 has already been a year of firsts for 18-year-old Ngan Cheuk Pan. A debut appearance at the AFC Cup in February was followed by his first Hong Kong Premier League game-time in early May, and the Hong Kong youth international will have a vital role to play for his side at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens.
Daisuke Otsuka – Kashima Antlers
Daisuke Otsuka will be among the players to watch out for at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens as Kashima Antlers return for the first time since 2004. The skillful midfielder has been a key part of Kashima’s U-18 side and will have high hopes of breaking into the first team of the J.League’s most decorated team in the years to come.
Wuttichai Sooksen – Thai Youth Football Home
After learning his trade at Youth Football Home, Wuttichai Sooksen impressed enough to be signed up by Thai Premier League outfit Chonburi FC. Although he has yet to make his first-team debut, the 20-year-old midfielder has starred for Thailand at both U-19 and U-21 level, and will be key to Youth Football Home’s chances of progressing from a tough looking group.
Lewis Page – West Ham United
Yet another product to come through the ranks of West Ham United’s esteemed academy, Lewis Page starred in his club’s recent U-21 Premier League Cup triumph over Hull City. The attack-minded defender made his first-team debut against Lusitanos of Andorra last July, before spending a month on loan at League Two side Cambridge United in early 2016.