8) Bill Tuiloma
Age: 20 Position: Defensive Midfielder Country/Club: New Zealand/Marseille
Having already represented his country at senior level seven times, Bill Tuiloma is one of the more experienced players at this years U-20 World Cup and representing the hosts, New Zealand, he will be one of the most popular also. Tuiloma is the first New Zealander to ever play in the top division of French football, where he ply’s his trade with Marseille, having made his debut in Febuary during the 2 – 2 draw with Stade de Raims.
After trials with LA Galaxy and QPR, Tuiloma headed to Marseille and while talking about his move to France, he said “It’s quite incredible if I stop and think about it. It’s a dream come true to enter Ligue 1 and I was very blessed. It’s just the start, I hope, but it was great to get that experience.”
After beginning his career as a fullback, able to function on either flank, Tuiloma has now developed into an effective holding midfielder, protecting the back four with a knowledge of what being a defender is like. Despite this, Tuiloma is an all action player and you may be surprised to see him drive forward, take on players and unleash one of his powerful strikes towards goal.
Although on first sight Tuiloma may not appear to the the most physical player, the New Zealander is deceptively strong and has great levels fitness enabling him to get around the pitch and regain possession for his side and distribute it neatly.
Tuiloma will be key to any chances New Zealand have of success at the U-20 World Cup and the Young Pro is feeling optimistic about his country’s chances. “Football is progressing and now we’re hosting the U-20 World Cup, I believe it will give football in New Zealand a massive boost and help the younger generations to start playing the game.
“People back home are really excited and can’t wait for it to start. I think there will be a big crowd at our games and there will be a lot cheering and excitement during the tournament. Having home advantage is huge, yes it gives us a bit of pressure, but this a once in a life time chance of having the second biggest football tournament in our country. So we will be ready and take on the challenge.”
Check out Tuiloma in action from the U-17 World Cup below:
Bill Tuiloma will be all out to put on a show for the hosts in New Zealand so keep an eye on their star man!