The very best players
I am wondering how many great players, your Messis, Peles, Best etc had to wait until there 20s to shine through? I am not talking about your Lampards of this world, just the very best of the best. I think most of those were playing 1st team football from a young age, which could be an indication of how good some players really are?
i think football's changed a bit since the days of Best, Pele, Cruyff etc as teams like Manchester City, Arsenal & Chelsea just 'head hunt' the worlds best young talent and stick them in their All Star Academies (probably for nothing more than fashion purposes) but because the first teams are so strong these players find it very difficult to break through which usually sees them loaned out, move away and start again all be it at a later age?
The EPL (& Juventus) is mainly to blame for this and I hate it.... But in countries like Brazil, Argentina, Holland etc where clubs don't always have the money to throw on the next double-barrel named superstar they do still believe and survive on their young talent so i'm sure plenty will still come through at an early age. You may just need to look further afield than the Premier League bigshots, teams like Ajax with good reputations, perhaps Milan (recently especially), RB Leipzig, Dinamo Zagreb, Sporting are all pretty good judges when it comes to spotting and blooding young talent.
Zidane only really kicked into greatness after he joined Juventus at the age of 24.
@playingcards1 I am sure there are a few more as well.