Xherdan Shaqiri 20 Winger FC Basel
Widely regarded as the future of Swiss football, it’s easy to overlook the fact that Shaqiri is still just 20. Outstanding for his country in the Under 21 World Cup, the Kosovo born youngster has been introduced gradually over the last few years by FC Basel but fast tracked through the ranks by Switzerland.
Deployed primarily as a winger but equally adept at accomplishing wonderful things from midfield or up front, Shaqiri has an armoury of skills which suggest he will be worrying those best player in the world lists in due course. A stinging left foot coupled with trickery, strength and a ridiculously low centre of gravity have already caused carnage at international level. A hat trick for Switzerland against Bulgaria and some sublime performances for the under 21’s have left fans, coaches and scouts drooling. Whether Basel are able to hold on to their precocious young talent remains to be seen but it would be nice to witness Shaqiri grow with and lift a side to greatness rather than just become another shiny cog in another shiny machine.
We never go along with the ‘if he’s like this at 20, just imagine how good he’ll be at 27’ school of thinking (Michael Owen anyone?) but with Shaqiri developing at a galloping rate, we’re looking forward to the next couple of years at least.
“One word – thrilling” – David Hartrick (IBWM)
“Xherdan Shaqiri is clearly not short of confidence. “I'm a special player,” he stated with a cocksure gleam in his eye during an interview at this year's Under-21 European Championships. In fairness to him, his performances in Denmark certainly justified the arrogance. From an outside right position cutting in onto his left foot, usually to shoot, Shaqiri wreaked havoc on defences at that tournament, alerting several clubs as to the Swiss international's eminent potential. Martin Tyler even likened him to Maradona. Stocky, quick-witted, strong on the ball and with a good change of pace, Shaqiri continues to grow promisingly in stature and it will be interesting to see him progress in the Champions League with Basel this season” - Jonathan F (just-football.com)
B .....is for buzzing, Shaqiri could be really, really special.