This was an incredibly difficult seven to compile, so I decided to come up with a system to make myself feel a little more confident with my eventual selections and their ordering.
Historically, and still largely to this day, the number seven shirt has tended to be donned by a wide player, but in the last two or three decades, the number has also been adopted by a number of more central forward players.
Before we start, the primary criteria here is simply how good the player was in their teenage years, typically between their 16th and 20th birthdays, but factors such as the number of games they played and what they accomplished are naturally also taken into account. There will also be some very honourable mentions at the end.
There are some truly incredible players who have never played in a World Cup, including Britain’s most decorated footballer Ryan Giggs, Manchester United favourite Eric Cantona, Liverpool legend Ian Rush, and even a Ballon d’Or runner-up in the form of Bernd Schuster.
These aren’t the seven who left the earliest, or the best seven, the best paid seven - or anything else like that. These are simply seven we randomly chose for your enjoyment, feel free to share your examples in the comments.
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