The Scout's Notebook returns with its weekly review of youth talent around the world and, on this occasion, features three youngsters whose goalscoring contributions this weekend will only serve to add to ever-increasing hype regarding their development.
The trio -- Vitesse's Brazilian forward Lucas Piazon, Monaco's Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco and Sevilla's Alberto Moreno -- are all regular first-team members at their respective sides and have all featured at some level for their national teams. They are, though, all further adding to their reputations with impressive starts to a season that has brought each player a raft of new challenges and difficulties.
Let's, then, look at our three burgeoning stars and their standout performances this weekend:
Lucas Piazon inspires Vitesse comeback
At 2-0 down away to Heerenveen on Saturday evening, it did not look as though Vitesse would be returning home to Arnhem in good spirits after 50 minutes of the two sides' Eredivisie clash. However, three goals "made in Chelsea" -- if you'll excuse the pun -- saw Piazon and his colleagues claim a 3-2 victory in the final minute thanks to a wonderful effort from left-back Patrick van Aanholt.
There was nothing particularly special about either of Piazon's goals in the comeback, but it was the manner of his overall performance that impressed greatly -- as it has been for much of the campaign. Once Vitesse came into the game, though, the Brazilian was a constant threat on the left flank. A swept left-footed finish brought his side back into the game, while his second was a touch fortunate as a floated back-post free kick evaded everyone and snuck into the corner of the net.
He would also go on to play a major role in Van Aanholt's winner. A swept ball into the left channel was chested down well, stretching play before checking his run and playing a simple pass back to the advancing full-back. While his colleague's sumptuous strike could not have been expected, the Brazilian's work-rate and quality even in the final minute of the game helped to seal the triumph.
He must still work on cutting out some basic errors at times, but at just 19-years-old has plenty of time ahead to refine his all-round game. Chelsea invested a lot in his talent a couple of years ago and, at the time, there were doubts over the investment. Since arriving in Europe, though, Piazon has made steady progress and, with Vitesse, looks to be thriving in the free-flowing environment that the Eredivisie has to offer. He is, certainly, a player to keep an eye on for the remainder of the campaign.
Ferreira-Carrasco stars in Ligue 1
Belgian attacking midfielder Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco was a major feature for AS Monaco last season and, despite fears he would lose his place as part of their summer overhaul, has remained a nigh-on permanent presence on the left-wing this campaign.
The 20-year-old has played well this season without contributing greatly in terms of either goals or assists. However, he was everywhere in the opening minutes of the clash with Sochaux this weekend and saw his work-rate rewarded with two opportunities that were calmly dispatched past goalkeeper Simon Pouplin.
Monaco, though, were unable to hold onto their two-goal advantage in what was a first major sign of weakness this season. With their mishap, the principality side surrendered their lead at the top of the table, with reigning champions PSG now two points clear at the summit of Ligue 1.
With a good season at Monaco, the young winger undoubtedly has a chance of making next summer's World Cup with Belgium. Both Kevin de Bruyne and Nacer Chadli are out of favour at club level for the time being, while there will almost certainly be injuries between now and next summer. He is excellent technically, his work-rate would help any side and, given his versatility, he would be a useful figure in any 23-man squad.
Ferreira-Carrasco has been a hugely influential figure in the rise of Monaco from Ligue 2 over the past year and he must surely be a candidate for inclusion in Marc Wilmots' side even at the current time. A major role in a title challenge, though, would of course very much help his case.
Alberto Moreno continues to attract attention
In the past few weeks, this column has discussed the rise of Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke and how his impressive start to the season has propelled him into Vicente del Bosque's plans for the World Cup next summer. However, Koke may be far from alone in graduating from Spain's victorious Under-21 squad of this summer to the senior squad over the next 12 months.
Real Madrid's Isco has long been an obvious candidate, as has Barcelona's Thiago, but it would appear that Sevilla left-back Alberto Moreno may be the surprise package that makes Vicente del Bosque's squad for Brazil next summer. Just a year ago, Moreno was playing at B-team level for his club side and, indeed, it was only with the arrival of Unai Emery in February that the versatile youngster was promoted to senior level for use at left-back. By the summer, though, he was already first-choice for Spain Under-21s and, just last week, he would make his senior international level.
Moreno, of course, can rely on impressive speed and stamina to push up and down the left flank throughout the game. What particularly stands out about his game, though, is the intelligence he shows in his positioning and in interplay with teammates. Such is his intelligence that, this weekend, he was back in a left midfield role and adapted with ease to his more attacking role -- a position he played many times at youth level. The 21-year-old got himself on the scoresheet to give Sevilla a 2-0 lead on the half-hour mark and, while the Andalusian club conceded their lead later in the tie, Moreno could not be faulted.
He will now likely make Spain's squad at the World Cup next summer as backup to Barcelona's Jordi Alba, yet if the former-Valencia man struggles to recover fitness and form, Moreno may well find himself in a first-team role. Over the summer, Liverpool were linked with a bid for his services and the Reds were highly unlikely to have been alone in enquiring as to Moreno's availability. If he can maintain his current form over the coming months, interest is likely to expand exponentially by January -- yet alone next summer.
Much has been made of Spain's long-identified talents such as Thiago, Isco and Gerard Deulofeu for many years now. Moreno, though, could be one of the best of what is a hugely talented bunch, having emerged almost from nowhere in what has been a tremendous 2013 calendar year for the rising star of Sevilla's much-changed side.
For further discussion on any of the players featured in The Scout’s Notebook, Christopher can be found on Twitter –@chris_elastico. More of his work profiling rising talents can also be found at TheElastico.com.