Given the top-level experience and success Borussia Mönchengladbach's Granit Xhaka has already enjoyed, it is easy to forget that the midfielder is still cutting his teeth in the professional game.

Born to Kosovan parents on 27 September 1992 in Basel, Switzerland, the youngster's rise through the ranks has been steady and swift. He joined local club FC Basel 1893 in 2003 and signed professional terms prior to the 2010/11 campaign, before choosing a move to Gladbach - ahead of a host of other top European clubs - in summer 2012 on a five-year deal.

Accustomed to success


The talented No34 has represented Switzerland at every youth level, winning the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria in 2009. It was his first taste of glory, but more soon followed. Xhaka was part of the Swiss side that finished as runners-up at the UEFA Under-21 European Championship in 2011, as well as the FC Basel team that won back-to-back league titles in 2011 and 2012, when they also triumphed in the Swiss Cup.

Already a full international, Xhaka's stock continues to rise. His versatility in the middle of the park established him as a valuable member of the Gladbach squad, while his aerial ability, technique and ease in possession with either foot make the youngster an awkward opponent for anyone.