Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Ruben Neves has been one of the shining lights in the club’s phenomenal Championship campaign this season, and now, he could go on to become a global superstar at the 2018 World Cup this summer.
The 20-year-old has had an enormous amount of pressure on his shoulders ever since his shock move to Molineux, with many pundits believing that he was far too good to be playing down in the Championship. Over the course of the last few months, he has proved them right, as his sublime play has been one of the highlights of a remarkable Wolves campaign.
In years gone by we have seen numerous youngsters make their mark on the world stage and, at such a young age, Neves has the ability to follow in the footsteps of some of the legends of the game.
In 2014 we had James Rodriguez and in 2010 we had Thomas Muller, and all three have a selection of similarities.
They both went into the tournament with less pressure than you would expect, with the media underestimating what they could do given their lack of experience. Thankfully, when it comes to Neves, he has gone under the radar throughout the rest of Europe due to being tucked away in the English second tier.
If he gets a chance to start he will be able to learn from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, in a Portugal team that will still be brimming with confidence from their Euro 2016 triumph back in France. They probably will not be expected to go all the way this time around but, in a group which contains Morocco and Iran, we could see a few showcase performances.
Momentum will be key in the World Cup and Neves will certainly have a lot of that, considering he is coming off an utterly sensational season with Wolverhampton Wanderers. He’s proven himself to be a somewhat defensive midfielder who is not afraid to take the ball forward and start promising attacks, with his passing ability and composure being something we’re not used to seeing from someone so young.
His distribution and desire to win do not go unnoticed either and, as long as he can keep up his current run of form and fitness, the sky is the limit for him.