The 19-year-old English sensation has performed years beyond his age at the World Cup this year. Bellingham played the role of a perfect box-to-box midfielder as his nation narrowly lost 2-1 to France in the last eight of the competition. Not only did the Borussia Dortmund midfielder display incredible athleticism and dynamism for England but he also demonstrated true leadership as he was the first player to immediately console Harry Kane after blazing his penalty over the bar versus France. A player who can do it all, a technician, a warrior, a goal threat and most notably a player who possesses characteristics of a captain.
In potentially Modrić’s final World Cup, the Croatian showed no signs of slowing down as the 37-year-old played an instrumental role in his nation’s semi-final run before losing 3-0 to Argentina. His agility on the ball paired with his ball progression abilities make him still one of the best midfielders in the World despite most players typically beginning their decline soon after turning 30. His longevity is astounding and if he does in-fact continue playing until Euro 2024, it will hardly be surprising. A true great of the game and yet another tremendous World Cup campaign to notch under his magnificent legacy.
A relative unknown before the World Cup started but now the 22-year-old Angers midfielder has a whole host of top European clubs chasing his signature. Ounahi was part of the Morocco side which defied the odds after becoming the first African team to reach the semi-finals of a World Cup. What was most impressive about his performances was his bravery on the ball. Ounahi showed an immense nature to constantly demand the ball and be the driving force for Walid Regragui’s side. He was an accomplished ball-progressive midfielder, in a side that needed a courageous and adventurous player to successfully advance in transition. Ounahi stepped up and became one of the breakout stars in Qatar.
Similarly to Ounahi, Amrabat made his name global after his performances for Morocco. An assured defensive midfielder who played the orchestrating role from deep and was a constant defensive obstruction as he often broke up play. At 26-years-old, Amrabat played with a great deal of maturity in his game and from an outsiders perspective, was a player who’s presence inspired confidence and composure throughout the team. Not to mention he produced one of the best tackles of the tournament on Kylian Mbappé.
In what ultimately turned out to be a disappointing campaign for Brazil, Manchester United’s midfield general, Casemiro, consistently produced assured defensive displays which allowed the likes of Richarlison and Neymar Jr to flourish. His performances never really dropped below a seven out of 10 and he even scored a sumptuous half-volley versus Switzerland in a 1-0 win to seal Brazil’s place in the last 16.
Mark Marston | GWFN