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 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: Andreas Schjelderup
Place of Birth: Bodø, Norway
National team caps: 0 (capped at youth level up to and including U21)
Current club: FC Nordsjælland
Current Market Value (per Transfermarkt): €5million
Potential suitor(s): N/A
"Andreas is a new edition of Mikkel Damsgaard, even though he is only a teenager. I think that says it all." - FC Nordsjælland captain Kian Hansen (quote provided by Goal via Bold.dk)
Denmark streamed into football's collective consciousness once again this past summer when De Rød-Hvide embarked on a magical run to the semi-finals at Euro 2020, with many previously relative unknowns to many becoming desirable household names. One of those names was attacking midfielder Mikkel Damsgaard, who quickly became one of the darlings of the tournament. But now, a new Damsgaard is on his own path to emergence in the under-the-radar development region of Scandinavia; Bodø-born Andreas Schjelderup.
Though Norwegian-born, a nation that has given European football Erling Haaland, Martin Ødegaard, and Jens Petter Hauge in recent years, Denmark has been one of the hot-beds of youth development on the continent through the specialist club FC Nordsjælland. And it is that specialty that saw Schjelderup choose Tigrene in the summer of 2020 for his next port of call after coming through the youth ranks at hometown outfit Bodø/Glimt (a Norwegian club also known for talent production), after spending time on trials at multiple European giants including Bayern Munich.
"I visited Ajax four times, PSV four times, Tottenham, Liverpool, Juventus, Fulham, Atalanta, and Bayern Munich. They (Nordsjælland) are a club that has shown that they give young players a chance and that they spend enormous resources on player development. It was very tempting with clubs from Italy, England and Spain. I'm a Liverpool fan myself, but I kind of did not want to be one in the crowd. It is a long way to go to get into the first team at those clubs."
That decision has paid off for Schjelderup in spades for the Norwegian youth international in the early portion of the current 2021-22 Superligaen campaign when he not only became the youngest-ever goalscorer in Nordsjælland history when he found the back of the net against Odense BK but just 14-days later his brace against Vejle BK made him the youngest player to score a brace for his club.
Capable of playing through the center forward channel, as a number 10, or out on the left flank, the two-footed forward has built a platform of incredible technical craft that has allowed him to already be an influential presence on the pitch while being compared to the likes of Manchester City winger Jack Grealish.
Though he has not featured a remarkable amount for Nordsjælland overall - which should come as no shock given his age - he was certainly given the responsibility of being viewed as a first-choice option in many moments this season after he made 14-starts in the league and 20-appearances overall while being deployed in three different positions across the forward line.
Such has been his rapid development under manager Flemming Pederson that club sporting director Mikel Hemmersam could not help but sing his praises to the tune of guaranteed stardom when interviewed by Nettavisen.
"Andreas has been a fantastic player and fantastic person since he came here to Nordsjaelland. He is a player we have to hold back a bit because he constantly wants to train more and do everything he can to get better. During his first year here, he probably put on six to eight kilos of muscle, which many have noticed. It is phenomenal. We knew he was a good player, but it surprises you that a player arrives as a 16-year-old and has such a big influence on the matches he plays. It is not normal to see it in the Superliga, but he has been incredibly good at adapting to the level."
By all accounts, Andreas Schjelderup is undoubtedly one to watch for the future and that future could be just around the bend.