In a football world filled with countless stars of today, so many of us are curious about who is waiting in the wings. That search for that next wonderkid, a youngster that has the potential to make us stand up and marvel at how they are masters of their craft despite their tender age, is always on the minds of millions of fans around the world.
With this in mind, we at 101 Great Goals will be bringing you another weekly series; this time, taking a look at players across the world that are 21-years-old or younger. Some of them you will have no doubt heard of, while we hope to bring you a few new names to spark your curiosities every now and then.
Name: Benjamin Sesko
Place of Birth: Radeče, Slovenia
National team caps: 7
Current club: RB Salzburg
Current Market Value (per Transfermarkt): €8million
Potential suitor(s): Liverpool
Since splitting off from the former Yugoslavia and gaining independence in 1991, Slovenia has been on the periphery of football in Europe across its international history unlike neighbors Italy, Austria, Croatia, and Hungary through no fault of their own.
Despite that, some familiar names hail from the mountainous central European nation at the top level of club football in the content. The likes of Atlético Madrid's Jan Oblak, Inter Milan's Samir Handanović, Atalanta Bergamo's Josip Iličić, and Primeira Liga veteran Zlatko Zahovič have all reached the highest levels in Europe, but the footprint left behind by Slovenian players has been comparatively small in their 30-years as an independent federation. But that could all be about to change.
The player production line that is Austrian giant RB Salzburg has an incredible track record of both producing and developing top-level talent that goes on to reach the upper-rungs of the European game, with names such as Erling Haaland, Sadio Mané, Dayot Upamecano, and Naby Keita all spending time in Salzburg before heading onto some of the biggest clubs on the continent. 18-year-old Benjamin Sesko could be one of the next wave to emerge from the birthplace of Mozart, and after being included in this season’s NXGN list via Goal, that emergence could be sooner than many realize.
Standing 6'4, Sesko has already drawn comparisons with Haaland in terms of their physical presence on the pitch, but as ESPN's Tor-Kristian Karlsen wrote, they are two players who look to be on different trajectories despite some of the similarities.
"But while Sesko is of a similar build to Haaland, he's right-footed and doesn't have the uncompromising single-mindedness (at least not yet), nor the extreme penetrative pace of the Norway international."
"That said, Sesko does have many other skills that may see him turn into an interesting No. 9 at senior level: he's got fine balance, is difficult to knock off the ball, can find his teammates well from knock-downs and flicks, is a developing finisher and also displays some nice footwork."
And with his development now paying dividends on the pitch for Salzburg after he has contributed 8-goals and 7-assists in 28-appearances across all competitions this term, links with Premier League giants Liverpool have emerged as the Reds could look to source a long-term center-forward option for the future after missing out on both the aforementioned Haaland as well as Sesko's club mate at Salzburg, Karim Adeyemi.
His tender age plays in his favor, however, with Sesko having all the time in the world to fine-tune his craft before searching for new grazing lands outside of Austria. But if he can hit his stride in a similar vein to those that have come before him, Europe could have another gifted attacker on its hands.