Euro 2020: 10 young players to watch this summer
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There’s no bigger or better stage for a player to make a name for themselves than at a major tournament, and Euro 2020 could be the platform on which several youngsters launch their careers. We have compiled a list of 10 of the hottest talent likely to appear at the European Championship, some of who you might not have heard of, while others are superstars-in-waiting who could enjoy their coming out party this summer.
Our Top 10 Young Players
Let’s start with one of those superstars-in-waiting. Phil Foden has had to bide his time for his chance at Manchester City and it is a mark of the high regard in which Pep Guardiola holds the 20-year-old that he wanted to keep him under his watchful eye, rather than send him out on loan. Dubbed a “genius” by Guardiola, Foden looks to be England’s brighter prospect since Wayne Rooney, who announced himself to the world at Euro 2004.
Foden heads to the Euros off the back of his most productive senior season for City to date, reaching double figures in terms of goals for the first time in his career. He started all three of England’s World Cup qualifiers in March and looks certain to be in Gareth Southgate’s first XI for the Euros.
This spot on the list would have been reserved for Barcelona’s Ansu Fati 12 months ago, only for injury to likely ruin his chances of going to the Euros with Spain. Instead, his Barca team-mate Pedri gets the nod after a rapid rise to prominence. Just 18 months ago the 18-year-old was making his debut for second tier Las Palmas; now he’s a regular in the Barcelona team and is nailed on to be part of Spain’s Euros squad.
In the mould of fellow Canary Island native David Silva, Pedri has shown the versatility to operate centrally or out wide for Barcelona this season, while La Roja coach Luis Enrique tried him playing from slightly deeper during March’s World Cup qualifiers. Competition is fierce for a spot in Spain’s midfield but having proven himself at Barcelona, Enrique could keep faith in Pedri.
3. Eduardo Camavinga
If breaking in to Spain’s midfield is tough, then spare a thought for the highly-talented Eduardo Camavinga as he bids to force his way into France’s World Cup-winning squad. The 18-year-old from Rennes missed out on Les Bleus squad for the World Cup qualifiers, but head coach Didier Deschamps may well take a chance on him for the Euros, as he did when making him the youngest player to ever represent France when he made is debut in 2020.
Camavinga is a box-to-box midfielder who can seemingly do it all – his first goal for France was netted via an overhead kick – and has the potential to light up the Euros.
4. Jamal Musiala
Germany have a couple of promising youngsters who could make a big impact at the Euros, with Bayer Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz worthy of mention. However, there’s a bit more hype surrounding Jamal Musiala, particularly after Germany snatched him from under the noses of England.
The former Chelsea academy prospect and England Under-21 international became Bayern Munich’s youngster-ever goalscorer this season having been fast-tracked into the first-team set-up. Germany head coach Joachim Low has since handed him his debut in March’s World Cup qualifiers and the attacking midfielder could provide the spark an out of sorts Die Mannschaft has been looking for.
5. Jude Bellingham
Sticking with rising stars from the Bundesliga and Jude Bellingham looks on course to be the wildcard in England’s squad for this summer’s Euros. Gareth Southgate handed him his debut last year and went above and beyond to get him in his squad for March’s World Cup qualifiers.
Southgate is clearly a huge fan and it it is easy to understand why with the Three Lions lacking when it comes to a box-to-box midfielder. The 17-year-old has grown in confidence as the season has gone on for Borussia Dortmund, typified by a man-of-the-match performance against Manchester City, and could be ready to realise his potential.
6. Federico Chiesa
Federico Chiesa has been on the scene for Italy for three years now but is only just starting to realise the potential he first showed at Fiorentina. He’s had to raise his game since moving to Juventus last summer and has managed to stand out in Turin, despite playing in the shadow of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo.
At 23 years old, the best is yet to come from Chiesa, who can causes defences all kinds of issues with his direct play and explosive pace. He’s a potential difference maker in an Italy side who are dark horses for Euro glory.
7. Jeremy Doku
Eden Hazard might still be on the scene for Belgium, but the national side already have his replacement lined up in Jeremy Doku. The 18-year-old swapped Anderlecht for Rennes last summer and has impressed in Ligue 1 this season with his dribbling ability catching the eye.
Doku has also done well for Belgium when called upon, forcing his way into a Red Devils side packed full of talent. He was one of the standout players in an 8-0 thrashing of Belarus in March and is the player most likely to profit if Hazard’s fitness continues to let him down.
8. Ryan Gravenberch
The latest product from the Ajax star factory looks to be rangy midfielder Ryan Gravenberch. A regular in the Ajax side the last two seasons, the 18-year-old has shown glimpses of being able to dominant a game with his calm and composed work on the ball belying his age.
He’s earn comparisons to Zinedine Zidane with his style of play and, although he’ll have a tough time displacing Frenkie de Jong or Georginio Wijnaldum from the Netherlands’ starting XI, he’s certain to make an impact when called upon.
9. Mikkel Damsgaard
Denmark could be poised to cause a few upsets at this summer’s Euros having put together a competitive team with a sprinkling of young talent. One of those young talents is Mikkel Damsgaard, who has risen to prominence via his performance for Sampdoria in Serie A this season.
The left-winger has been a regular in the Samp side, leading to a first cap for Denmark last November. He scored his first goals for the national side in March’s World Cup qualifiers and could provide the cutting edge which the Danes have often lacked at recent major tournaments.
10. Joao Felix
Having cost £113m when he swapped Benfica for Atletico Madrid, Joao Felix is already a well-known figure on the footballing stage. However, playing for a workmanlike Atleti side has meant Felix has had to rein in his attacking tendencies and it’s fair to say we haven’t seen the best of the 21-year-old recently.
A change of scenery to the Portugal team will hopefully lead to him showing more of the thrilling dribbling skills which earned him comparisons to Kaka in the past. With Cristiano Ronaldo’s powers finally waning, Portugal needs a new hero and Felix is the man in pole position to step up this summer.