Wunderkids: Building Football’s Most Exciting Young XI – Week 11: Youssoufa Moukoko

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He is the stuff of management dreams: a blank check to build the most exciting starting eleven in world football.

The Wunderkids team, along with BBC Sport, have fielded 11 players, with pundits joining presenter Steve Crossman to discuss the latest inclusion.

The criteria are simple: each player must be young and have the potential to become the next superstar at their position.

We have not looked for the obvious names (Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland or Jadon Sancho), but players who are still about to make the big leap.

In this week’s final episode, we round out our starting XI with a Dortmund forward who Crossman describes as “the whiz kid behind the whiz kid” at the German club: a 17-year-old. Youssoufa Moukoko.

And if you want to see who has been part of our XI so far, including Manchester City striker Julian Alvarez, Bayer Leverkusen winger Florian Wirtz and Barcelona midfielder Gavi, just scroll to the bottom of this page.

The player who will take Haaland’s place at Dortmund?

Youssoufa Moukoko
Moukoko has scored four goals in 26 Bundesliga games for the Dortmund first team, although he has only started three so far.

With the talent of 21-year-old Haaland already well known, the Norwegian striker is too conventional for our Wunderkids series.

Instead, we have selected another striker from Dortmund in the form of German youth international Moukoko.

The Cameroonian-born leader, who has suffered racist abuse and had to deal with doubts about his age during a thrilling rise, has so far seen his way into the Dortmund first-team blocked by Haaland.

But Moukoko could be the player to benefit most if his coveted partner he does go to Manchester City or Real Madrid this summer.

Born in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, and raised by his grandparents, Moukoko moved to Germany at the age of 10. Living with his father Joseph in Hamburg, he soon after joined the local club St Pauli.

Although he did not have football boots, Moukoko was extremely talented. He dazzled everyone in his first training session with his finishing skills, despite wearing sneakers, and soon began scoring many goals for St Pauli’s under-13 team.

That attracted scouts from other clubs and, aged 14, he moved to Dortmund.

The teenager scored a staggering 127 goals in just 84 games for his under-17 and under-19 teams, leading then-first-team coach Lucien Favre to promote Moukoko to the senior side for the 2020 season. twenty-one.

Only eligible to play competitive matches once he turned 16 in November 2020, the striker has since scored four goals in 26 first-team appearances, although he has played largely from the bench.

What does the expert say?

Patrick Berger, German journalist and chief reporter for SPORT1 television

Haaland is a great admirer of Moukoko. He said that he had never seen a 15 year old so good, adding that when he was 15 he was not as good as him.

The key for Moukoko is to be more patient and to relax a bit, to be calm, because he puts a lot of pressure on himself.

He is doing a lot and he wants to achieve his dreams, he has big, big dreams. He has already talked about how he wants to win the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or.

I think he’s strong enough mentally, but he needs to adapt and he needs a bit of time, which is normal.

He has had to deal with racist abuse and also something that many young Africans have to deal with: when people question their age.

This was a very big problem for him. Like most young people, he reads everything that people write in the media and on social media, and I know it was difficult for him because people in Germany and Europe didn’t trust him to be his age.

It was very unfair. There are documents that show his age and when you see him and talk to him, you see that he is only 17 years old.

It was very hard for him, but there were a lot of people, his agent Patrick Williams, his father Joseph, friends like Gio Reyna and Jadon Sancho, who helped him a lot.

Where will it be in four or five years? When we talk about it, he will be the age that Haaland is now, and Haaland is still very young.

So Moukoko has plenty of time to develop. He should stay at Borussia Dortmund and he has his entire career ahead of him.

Erling Braut Haaland and Youssoufa Moukoko after a Borussia Dortmund game
Moukoko became the Bundesliga’s youngest player when he made his top-flight debut for Dortmund in November 2020, replacing Haaland during the second half of a 5-2 win at Hertha Berlin, a day after turning 16 years.

What does the fan say?

Sandra Goldschmidt, Dortmund fan since 1993 who runs the fan app Buzz09

Everyone in Dortmund is very enthusiastic about Moukoko because he has everything you need to be a successful striker.

We’ve seen him score with his head, with his left foot, with his right foot and from almost every position.

Having said that, I don’t think he’s ready to replace Haaland full time. Haaland has been injured quite a bit this season and when Moukoko got the chance, he wasn’t quite ready for first team football.

Unfortunately, he has also suffered some injuries. But of course you can’t forget about his record in the U-17 and U-19 youth team where he scored an unbelievable number of goals.

Who else made our Wunderkids XI?

BBC Wunderkids team

  • Week 10: Jurrien Timber, Ajax defender
  • Week 9: Jamal Musiala, Bayern Munich midfielder
  • Week 8: Etienne Green, Saint-Etienne goalkeeper
  • Matchday 7: Josko Gvardiol, RB Leipzig defender
  • Week 6: Kamaldeen Sulemana, Rennes winger
  • Week 5: Gavi, Barcelona midfielder
  • Week 4: Kaiky, Santos defender
  • Week 3: Ryan Gravenberch, Ajax defender
  • Week 2: Florian Wirtz, Bayer Leverkusen winger
  • Week 1: Julián Álvarez, Manchester City forward

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