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American teenager named to The Guardian's Next Generation 2016

By The Guardian

Maja Hitij/Getty Images

The Guardian named its Next Generation 2016, a list of the "60 best young talents in world football".

Included on the list is U.S. youth international Nick Taitague, a 17-year old midfielder currently training with Bundesliga club Schalke. Here's what writer Luis Echegaray has to say about the young talent:

At 5ft 7in and with a relatively slim frame, Taitague might not immediately impress with his strength but then again, if every young player were rated on their physique, we might never have heard of Neymar. "Nick is a talent," said the USA Under-18 head coach, Omid Namazi, after winning the 2016 Václav Jezek tournament in Czech Republic in August. Taitague earned the Most Valuable Player award after scoring four goals in four matches. "Wherever we play, I think people are in awe of his technical ability and his ability to pass defenders."

While there's no guarantee that youth accolades and press clippings guarantee future success, it's still an honor for a player to be included. Past Guardian Next Generation selections include Porto B defender (on loan from Sporting Kansas City) Erik Palmer-Brown and someone named Christian Pulisic (never heard of him).

There's also a nice tidbit about Taitague's future (previously reported by Grant Wahl):

According to their youth director, Oliver Ruhnert, he will receive a contract offer once he turns 18.

If he signs with Schalke, he will be joining fellow Americans Haji Wright and Weston McKennie.

Taitague joined the Carolina Railhawks (NASL) on an amateur contract in April. He played 36 minutes spread out over four appearances.

"He's going to be special," Railhawks head coach Colin Clarke told ABC 11 in May. "He's got a very quick first three or four steps to get past people. Comfortable in possession, comfortable in tight spots. He's confident and he's cocky. He wants the ball."