Even though we are only midway through the 2021-22 Premier League season, many of the brightest stars in the division will already have their sights firmly set on the World Cup later in the year.
Unlike other competition editions, the 2022 World Cup takes place mid-season, in the unusual time slot of November and December.
The competition is always about stars believing that they can steal the show, which will be no different in Qatar.
But currently, some underrated stars could enjoy a memorable World Cup at the end of the year?
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It has been a struggle in the Premier League this season for Watford, as they are in the midst of a dog fight to stay in the division.
However, their standout star has been Emmanuel Dennis. The 24-year-old striker has enjoyed a fantastic start to his Premier League career and has scored eight goals and recorded five assists in the 19 games he played.
That tally sees him sit join fourth in the top scorer charts in the Premier League, which is mightily impressive given how much the Hornets have struggled this campaign.
Regardless of whether Watford will go down this season, it’s likely that Dennis will immediately attract the attention of other Premier League clubs in the summer.
A potential big move could also be on the cards should he enjoy an excellent World Cup for one of the leading African chances in Qatar- Nigeria.
It is no easy feat to break into the Brazilian starting eleven.
Still, it would be not easy to bet against Leeds United star Raphinha deserving a spot based on his performances for the Whites since their return to the Premier League.
The 25-year-old is the standout player in the Leeds team and is regularly their out-ball when under pressure.
Whether the 25-year-old will still be at Elland Road when the World Cup gets underway is a different question, as Manchester United, Chelsea, and West Ham United have all reportedly made a move for the winger.
Raphinha is enjoying another stellar year in the Premier League this term, as he has scored eight goals and made two assists in the 19 games that he has played.
The Brazilian boasts a conversion rate of 21 per cent and a shot accuracy of 41 per cent. It still isn’t out of the realms of possibility that the winger goes on to become one of the world-class players as all the natural ability, coupled with his relenting hard work to track back, is there.
There is always one player who makes a late charge to be part of the England squad for major tournaments.
Talents such as Jacob Ramsey and Max Kilman are two players that could break in before the Qatar World Cup, but the most likely is Crystal Palace midfielder Conor Gallagher.
The central midfielder is playing in the Premier League for the second season after impressing during a loan spell with West Bromwich Albion in 2020-21.
Despite the club’s relegation, Gallagher was praised for his difficult campaign with the Baggies. Chelsea once again allowed the 21-year-old to leave on loan in the summer.
He has been an integral part of the Patrick Vieira set-up at Palace this season and has already scored seven goals in 19 games for the Eagles.
Gallagher has also registered three assists and has a solid pass completion rate of 81.7 per cent.
The playmaker also works hard going backward, as he has averaged 2.7 tackles and 0.8 clearances for Palace this term.
His ability to be a box-to-box midfielder could be crucial to his chances of making it into the England squad, as there are few other players like him available to Gareth Southgate.
However, fans can start looking at the best match odds months before the tournament kick-off.
Also, Players must stick or twist regarding whether they believe they will get enough playing time to make it into their respective national squads.