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It is the stuff of management dreams – a blank cheque to build the most exciting young starting XI in world football  

Well that is exactly what a new BBC Sounds podcast – Wunderkids – is aiming to do over its 11 episodes and the first one is available to listen to now.

The Wunderkids team, in conjunction with BBC Sport, have come up with 11 players and each week presenter Steve Crossman will be joined by experts to discuss the latest inclusion, with one new player revealed each week. 

The criteria is simple – each player must be young and with the potential to become the next superstar in their position.

But we are not going for the obvious names – the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Erling Braut Haaland or Jadon Sancho – we are looking at the players who are on the verge of making the breakthrough into the big time.

In the first episode, the focus is on the position of striker and the first name on the teamsheet is new Manchester City signing Julian Alvarez. 

Six months after Sergio Aguero’s departure prompted much talk of the champions’ need for a replacement central striker, Pep Guardiola completed the £14m signing of Alvarez in January.

The 21-year-old arrived from Argentine side River Plate but was immediately loaned back, meaning he will not appear for City until next season at the earliest.

Alvarez is predominantly a striker, who has scored 23 goals in 57 league games, but can also play out wide.

He made his debut for Argentina in 2021 and has since won six caps for his country

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