SWOL Top 100: The Best U-21 Footballers to Watch in 2013 (65-61)


SWOL analyst Mohamed Al-Hendy continues his countdown of the best U21 footballers in the world that you should watch in 2013 as we close out the 60′s with places 65-61.

Viktor Fischer of Ajax (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

65. Viktor Fischer

A product of the fabled Ajax academy, Viktor Fischer has been a terrific addition to Ajax’s squad this season.

Since moving to the left flank this season, Fischer has yet to lose a match with Ajax in which he has started, and his three goals and three assists have been big in helping the club stay close to the top of the table.

Many have already projected Fischer to be one of the world’s best players in the future, and while there is still yet some time to see if that prediction actually comes true, it hasn’t stopped Manchester United and other clubs from pursuing the player.

Some of Fischer’s fine work for Ajax this season can be seen here.

Lucas Fernando of Gremio (Photo via Getty Images)

64. Lucas Fernando

Thirteen appearances in 2010; 22 appearances in 2011; and 32 appearances in 2012.

It has taken Lucas Fernando some time, but he has finally become a fixture for his club, Gremio, in the Brazilian Serie A. And he’s still only 20 years old.

I could attempt to give a breakdown of his skills here, but this video probably conveys a much better overview of that than my words can.

Lucas Fernando gets a slightly low ranking because his club, Gremio, aren’t really among the most competitive of Serie A. But Lucas Fernando is a world-class defensive midfielder in the making.

He’s an impressive set-piece taker, a hard worker and a decent passer of the ball. His defensive game is impeccable, and he has even got a great deal of pace, on top of all that.

Whoever signs up Lucas Fernando will be getting a real bargain for their club and a future world-class defensive midfielder, as well.

Ola John of SL Benfica (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

63. Ola John

After a 2011-12 season where he recorded an insane eight goals and 15 assists, Ola John decided he had conquered the Eredivisie and was ready for a new challenge in the Portuguese league with Benfica.

So far, it has not been too bad.

Like Zakaria Labyad, John has struggled to be anywhere near the force he was last year with his new club, but he has at least gotten a regular run of games and contributed two assists in the process.

In the Champions League, John scored his first goal for Benfica against Celtic to open the scoring; even though Benfica would go on to win, Celtic’s historic result over Barcelona helped the club advance to the knockout stages at Benfica’s expense.

Gifted with mercurial speed, John will need to develop the rest of his game more thoroughly to cut it in the Portuguese league.

John has always been a quick learner though, and if given time, he’ll adjust to the demands of his new environment in due time.

Alex Sandro of Porto (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

62. Alex Sandro

“Jack of all trades, master of none.”

Such a description is very apt for describing Alex Sandro at the moment.

The FC Porto left-back has a very wide range of skills. Aside from shooting and heading the ball, it’s hard to find anything the Brazilian is actually bad at.

But he hasn’t shown himself to be an exceptionally talented passer, dribbler, crosser or defender—all things Alex Sandro is good, but not great, at.

With Brazil currently lacking a definite first-choice left-back, Sandro is a very good candidate to take over the spot, and doing so is sure to not only help him develop better as a player but also raise his profile around the world.

But in order to ensure that he is able to beat out his competition, it would be really great if Sandro worked on further enhancing his strengths. With hard work, improvement will surely come over time.

Felipe Anderson of Santos (Photo via Getty Images)

61. Felipe Anderson

When Ganso departed for Sao Paolo in September 2012, some worried that his previous club Santos wouldn’t be able to replace the firepower he had provided.

Felipe Anderson took care of that.

Santos struggled considerably in 2012, but Anderson definitely did his part, scoring six goals and assisting with another seven.

Now he heads into the 2013 Brazilian Serie A season as one of the most valuable members of Santos, behind just Neymar and Arouca (h/t Transfermarkt).

At the young age of 19, Anderson is not a player Santos’ management is planning on losing anytime soon. Yet in the future, Anderson could prove to be a real asset for any team.

Unlike many of the players we’ve covered so far, there are few aspects of the game Anderson is actually bad at. He may not be a physical or defensive kind of guy, but he can pass, shoot, cross, dribble and run at good levels.

And seeing as he’s still a teen, those levels will only rise for a couple more years.

Anderson is by no means the finished product, but he’s likely to have a great deal of influence over Santos’ success as a team this year.

If you missed any previous posts on the SWOL Top 100 U21 countdown find them here:

SWOL Top 100 U21 Guidelines

SWOL Top 100 U21 (100-96)

SWOL Top 100 U21 (95-91)

SWOL Top 100 U21 (90-86)

SWOL Top 100 U21 (85-81)

SWOL Top 100 U21 (80-76)

SWOL Top 100 U21 (75-71)

SWOL Top 100 U21 (70-66)

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