Popular British football magazine “World Soccer” has picked Buriram United’s striker Suphanat Mueanta to be on their list of 500 most important football players of 2020.
The 18-year-old rising star is the sole Thai footballer named on the list and 1 of only 2 ASEAN players alongside Nguyen Quang Hai, a promising 23-year-old attacking midfielder from Hanoi FC.
Buriram fans might already be familiar with the statistics, but let’s go over them as a gentle reminder anyway. Suphanat currently holds the record as the youngest player to feature in the Toyota Thai League, the youngest to score in Thailand’s top flight, youngest-ever goalscorer in the AFC Champions League (against Beijing Guoan), and the youngest player to be called up for the Thai national football team at only 16 years 10 months and 3 days old.
Here are a few snippets from World Soccer magazine’s take on Suphanat:
“Born after the 2002 World Cup, the teenager has not only been hailed as one of the brightest prospects in Southeast Asia but one of the best in the continent as a whole. As well as his goalscoring and confidence, the impressive thing about the attacker is that he welcomes adversities and looks very comfortable when under pressure.”
“The Wonder Kid, as he is known, cuts a slight figure but has become a favorite due to his close control, ability to beat defenders, and composure in front of goal.”
“Suphanat has already established himself as a key player in one of Asia’s top teams. It is easy to forget that he has only just turned 18, and last year was the top scorer during the Under-19 AFC Championship qualification tournament.”
“Thai players don’t have the best record in the west but if anybody could change that, maybe it will be Suphanat.” The youngster has also been linked with a transfer move to Thai-owned Premier League club, Leicester City FC.