In my opinion, 19-yr-old Kantaphon Wangcharoen is the same mould as Wang Tzu Wei, a fast, ferocious hard hitter coupled with a tenacious defence and fitness to boot. If and when players like them become more consistent, they should be expected to rise within the top 3 or 5.
But, I also think they can’t wait too long to do that until age catches up as it is physically very demanding to maintain that kind of pace match after match throughout a tournament. That’s how Chou Tien Chen started and now at age 28, he’s forced to slow down and play a more all-rounded game.
Chen Long at age 29 is already finding his physicality not as strong as before, not to mention his reading of the game hasn’t been first-rate for a top player. I’m afraid, CL is going downhill, for almost the past two years since his pinnacle at the Rio Olympics, he hasn’t lived up to his billing, too many indifferent results to convince anyone he still has what it takes to rise again.
OTOH, Kantaphon is very young and continues to improve, he should have at least five good years ahead of him to make his mark. Certainly a Thai MS to watch, in fact, I think a couple of his fellow teammates are more or less like him, eg, Khosit Phetpradab. Actually, Tanongsak and, to a lesser extent, Suppanyu , also started like that but age has caught up with them now, 28 and 27 respectively.
The key to success at the top is consistency.