Nowadays, teens are often excesively critisized. How many times have we heard adults complaining about the immaturity of today’s adolescents? “At their age, I had to work”, “they are still children” and “when I was your age, I walked 10 kilometers to go to school” are some of the wide range of phrases utilized in an attempt to emphasize their moral superiority and attack the new generations.
In this context, a new litter of footballers as precocious as any other seen before emerge and take down the doors of professional football while, at that age, their predecessors only dreamed of playing in the park.
I have already analyzed Lamine Yamal, the youngest goal scorer in the history of the Spanish national team and LaLiga; Mathys Tel, who is dazzling all of Europe with his performance at Bayern, who paid 20 million for him when he was just 16 years old, and also was teammates with the protagonist of this article in youth categories.
This time around, I have decided to talk about the most established and developed young talent of the current footballing landscape, as he is already solidified himself as a starter in one of the contenders to win the Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain.
When speaking of Warren Zaïre-Emery, we are referring to a superior talent. He is the youngest ever PSG debutant (16 years and four months old) and it looks like he will be a part of Deschamps’ next call-up list, thus becoming the youngest footballer to play his first game for France since 1945.
But the Frenchman is no the kind of player that the managers play in their debut to stick their chest out and later dissapear. At 17 years old, he is already a bona fide starter for Luis Enrique and has been the best player of the Parisian side in the start of the season (he has arguably been more consistent than Mbappé).
Zaïre-Emery is surprisingly superior physically at the young age of 17. Once he starts dribbling the ball, he cannot be stopped (he is among the top 6% of midfielders in the five major leagues when it comes to drbbling the ball into the final third of the field, gaining more than 300 meters per game thanks to these runs).
His strength and speed contrast with his fine touch and goal-scoring instincts. The midfielder shines in everything that has to do with passing, as his ball distribution is wonderful and his positional awareness is far superior to what might be expected given his inexperience.
He does not perform many long balls (two per match), but shows evident potential as he completes 84% of them (a better success rate than 98% of midfielders).
He must develop his skills when it comes to play creation even further, and he will most-likely be able to do it due to the dominance that PSG should establish in France. But his big nights in the Champions League prove that he is a player capable of dominating the maximum continental competition for lustrums to come.
In addition, we are speaking of an impactful player in the opposing end of the pitch. He has scored two goals and dished out five assists for his club in 12 total matches. We are in front of a big-night performer at 17 years old, as three of those assists took place in the deadliest group of the Champions League.
This new generation of players break rules that many believed to be unimaginable, but in Warren Zaïre-Emery, we are probably speaking about the midfielder with the highest cieling of this generation.
Tchouaméni and Camavinga are better known to the ‘mainstream’ audience and more proven, but all the signs point towards Zaïre-Emery being chosen by the gods of football.
Translated by Nuño Alonso.
Main image: @PSG_inside.