Top 10 Potential Future World Snooker Champions
As Mark Selby upset the odds to win his first World Snooker Championship at the weekend, FREEbets.org.uk got thinking about players that could be King of the Crucible in the future. The old guard of Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and the like are coming to the end of their careers at the top, here are 10 younger contenders with world title ambitions.
10. Liang Wenbo
When Liang got to the World Championship quarter-finals, on debut, at the age of 21, big things were expected of him. Six years on he has not lived up to expectations, but he still clearly has the talent to beat the best. He is only 27-years-old and if he can build up some momentum, he will be a threat at the Crucible.
9. Kyren Wilson
At just 22-years-old Wilson qualified for the final stages of six ranking events last season, reaching the last eight of the Shanghai Masters, and making his Crucible debut. The Warrior put up a good fight against Ricky Walden in Sheffield, and in a narrow defeat, showed he will be back.
8. Cao Yupeng
Another of the young batch of Chinese players who has joined the tour, but not quite hit the big time yet. Cao beat Mark Allen on his Crucible debut in 2012, and made the last eight of the Wuxi Classic last year. At just 23, he has plenty of time to kick on.
7. Mark Allen
The world number nine is still only 28-years-old, so whilst he has not cracked the Crucible yet, time is on his side to do it in the coming years. The Pistol has the talent to win the world title, as his double World Open win showed, he just needs to apply himself more effectively.
6. Luca Brecel
The Belgian lacks consistency, but seen as he is only 19-years-old, he can be forgiven for this. He has already reached the quarter-finals of the UK Championship in 2012, and was within a whisker of the last four that year. He has performed at the Crucible and he could well have conquered it within the next 10 years.
5. Xiao Guodong
The Chinese number two is undoubtedly the best talent to come out of the country since Ding Junhui. The 25-year-old reached his first ranking final last season at the Shanghai Masters, there are plenty more to come from a man who is upwardly mobile in the world rankings.
4. Stephen Maguire
Not a young talent anymore, but the Scot could still be world champion if he can find some consistency in his game. Maguire has five ranking titles to his name and has twice been to the semi-finals at the Crucible. At 33-years-old, he has less time to play with than his rivals on this list, but he cannot be written off in the next five years.
3. Michael White
The Welshman made his Crucible debut in 2013 and stormed through to the quarter-final. He was also impressive on his return this year, losing out in a deciding frame to eventual winner Selby in the first round. At just 22 he is up into the world’s top 32 and this could be the season that he starts to challenge for ranking tournaments. In the coming years he is bound to be involved at the business end of the World Championship.
2. Judd Trump
The 2011 finalist is still just 24-years-old but has three ranking titles to his name and has already been to the world number on spot. He looks at home at the Crucible and also has a quarter and semi-final appearance to his name. It would be a major surprise if the Ace in the Pack does not win the big one during his career.
1. Ding Junhui
The world number two’s consistent failure at the World Championships is one of the strangest phenomena in the sport. The 27-year-old has won an outrageous 11 rankings titles but has just one semi-final appearance at the Crucible to his name. On six of his appearances in Sheffield he has failed to get past the second round, which is very poor for a man of his talent. However, it seems unbelievable that he will not win the world title at some stage. Ding has only just turned 27, so he has years to come at the top of the sport, and he will triumph at the Crucible in one of those years.