20 young players to watch at Euro 2016

Kingsley Coman:

Kingsley ComanPhoto courtesy of The Mirror

Imagine having Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich on your CV at only 19 years-old. Coman made himself an integral facet of Pep Guardiola’s Bayern side who frequently enjoyed exploiting the wide areas to play to the strengths of Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski. A tricky winger with a beguiling turn of pace as it is suicide for any fullback that gives him space on the flank or allows him to get to the byline. His ability to pump impeccable pin-point crosses while also stretching play makes him an interesting option for Didier Deschamps at the tournament.

 

Anthony Martial:

Martial Sky SportsPhoto courtesy of Sky Sports

A big-money move from Monaco to Manchester United has accelerated his development rather than hinder it as he was the most consistent performer for the Red Devils last season. The 20-year-old is unnervingly calm and confident in his ability as he can be a fox in the box or a tricky wide man which represents an interesting tactical alternative for Didier Deschamps. He could play on the left supporting the likes of Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann or in the centre where he can provide foil for the creative hub of the team. He will be looking to show new manager Jose Mourinho just how good he really is.

Renato Sanches:

Renato-Sanches-665205Photo courtesy of The Express

His debut, an assist against bitter rivals Porto, a Portuguese Primera title and a big-money move from Benfica to Bayern Munich all happened in the dreadlocked haired star’s breakout season. A natural box to box engine with ‘edge of your seat’ technical ability and a stocky frame to hold off opponents will be part of a Portugal side which brings about a selection headache for Fernando Santos in central midfield. At only 18 years old, he represents somewhat of a golden generation coming through in Portuguese football and will be looking to prove that there is more to Portugal than just Ronaldo.

Leroy Sane:

Leroy Sane BRPhoto courtesy of Bleacher Report

He announced himself to the world with a brilliant solo goal against Real Madrid in the Champions League, the season before last. This season, he provided constant reminders of his unique talent for Schalke with his searing pace and his sublime control of the ball which can sometimes culminate in ice-cool finishes. The 20-year-old is a product of Schalke’s Knappenschmiede conveyer belt of talent and will bring something different to Joachim Loew’s World Champions.

Julian Weigl:

Julian Weigl S1Photo courtesy of Sport 1

The German youngster joined Borussia Dortmund from 1860 Munich last summer and many were surprised to see him in the starting lineup at the beginning of the season. The 20-year-old the made the position his own as his blend of solid positioning, hard challenges and unique playmaking abilities from deep edged Sven Bender out of the starting lineup. The Germans may have the best central midfield in Europe with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira but Weigl will do as he has always done, put up a stern challenge.

Joshua Kimmich:

Germany s Joshua Kimmich in action Germany v Denmark UEFA Under 21 s Eden Stadium Czech Republ
Germany s Joshua Kimmich in action Germany v Denmark – UEFA Under 21 s – Eden Stadium – Czech Republic – 20th June 2015 – Picture David Klein/Sportimage

Another player from the German 2nd Division who made his way to the pinnacle of the Bundesliga as he joined Bayern Munich from Red Bull Leipzig last summer. His season had not even begun when he was on the wrong end of a rough challenge in a friendly against AC Milan but the youngster continued uninhibited. The 21-year-old midfielder found his home in defence as he allayed Pep Guardiola’s defensive crisis showing intelligence as he played in a back three and a back four. He will provide another intriguing option for Loew this summer.

Federico Bernadeschi:

Federico-Bernardeschi-Fiorentina-Man-United-661281Photo courtesy of The Express

 

Giancarlo Antognoni, Roberto Baggio and Rui Costa are esteemed players to have worn the legendary Fiorentina number 10 shirt and Bernadeschi is the current recipient. After a high-turnover of playing personnel in the summer, Bernadeschi became a pivotal piece of Paulo Sousa’s La Viola side that were challenging for top honours in the first half of the season. The 22 year-old is a hardworking creative player who can work the pockets and specialises in delicate through balls while his strike against Tottenham in the Europa League could’ve challenged for goal of the season. Bernadeschi has played on the flanks, as a central attacking midfielder and a wingback this season as he could work his way into Antonio Conte’s starting lineup.

Dele Alli:

England v France - International Friendly
LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 17: Dele Alli of England celebrates scores his team’s first goal during the International Friendly match between England and France at Wembley Stadium on November 17, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

 

From the lower tiers of British football at MK Dons to the Euros after a brilliant season at Tottenham. The 20 year-old is clever, composed and intuitive in space with Harry Kane in front of him. Alli has been one of the many bright spots in a brilliant Tottenham Hotspur team. The flawless technique and grace of his goal at Crystal Palace will remain in the memory for many years as his background in the lower leagues provides a humble and hardworking attitude to a future star of English football.

 

Ante Coric:

Ante Coric SquawkaPhoto courtesy of Squawka

 

A player tracked by Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Barcelona in his youth before choosing to move to Red Bull Salzburg. However, the 19 year-old attacking midfielder has found his feet back home at Dinamo Zagreb where he had 5 goals and 6 assists this season. According to InStat, the youngster makes an average of 3 key passes per match, 2 shots and 5 dribbles. Croatia have no shortage of talent, especially in midfield but Coric is proof that their conveyer belt of talent will keep churning out stars.

Marko Pjaca:

Marko PjacaPhoto courtesy of HNS

 

Another Zagreb born player, currently plying his trade at Dinamo Zagreb proving Croatia’s fine array of talent in their squad. The 21 year-old is a goal-scoring left winger who will add something different to the Croatian front line. There is a high-chance he will be starter for Ante Cacic’s side after an exceptional season where he netted 13 goals and layed on 9 assists, according to InStat. A creative player who posseses fine dribbling and an ability to roam into the centre or stretch play from out wide, he will be the apple of many scout’s eyes this summer.

Emre Mor:

EMRE MOR HABERLERPhoto courtesy of Haberler

A Turkish youngster who has also played for Denmark at youth level and is currently playing for Danish side Norsjaelland. The 18 year-old already posseses unbelievable technical ability as he glides on the surface of the pitch with the ball glued to his feet as Turkish coach Fatih Terim has taken a leap of faith in him by including the teenager in his squad. He also has an innate sense of the spaces in the channels and can fool any defender as he dashes past them as he will bring another dimension to an already strong Turkey side.

Oleksandr Zinchenko:

Zinchenko PlanetadesportivoPhoto courtesy of Planetadesportivo

 

A Ukranian from the Shakhtar Donetsk youth system currently playing in Russia for Ufa as he has dazzled both sets of fans with his mercurial dribbling ability and his eye for a pass in the final third. The 19 year-old has a turn of pace that can leave any defender stumbling as they try to catch him while he is comfortable with the ball in every area of the pitch. Shakhtar must be kicking themselves for losing him while he will be an interesting option for Ukraine on the bench.

Viktor Kovalenko:

Viktor KovalenkoPhoto courtesy of The Metro

 

Shakhtar and their former Brazilian loving Romanian manager Mircea Lucescu have been known to the world as a stepping stone for Brazilians like Willian, Douglas Costa, Fernandinho and many more. However, they have a 20 year-old Ukrainian in their midst who has just put a stunning season behind him. Capable of acting as a deep-lying playmaker or as an attacking midfielder, Kovalenko posseses an incredible passing range and an intuitive ability to create neat passing sequences in approach play. He provides another interesting central option for a team whose strength lies on the flanks.

 

Breel Embolo:

Breel Embolo

 

One of the most sought-after talents of the last two years is expected to play on the left of a front three of a very talented Switzerland team. At only 19 years old, the man of Cameroonian origin has been talked about so much in transfer rumours, it feels he has been around for a decade. His physique does little to dispute that claim as he uses it to hold off defenders for the ball while his pace, elastic dribbling ability and brilliant positional sense do the rest. This young man has just come off a season where he has reached double figures in goals and assists as many scouts will follow him around France this summer.

Hector Bellerin:

Hector Bellerin

 

The Spaniard with a cockney accent who stole the attention of Arsenal scouts after only one game at right-back before joining the London club from Barcelona’s prestigous La Masia academy in his mid-teens. An injury to Dani Carvajal in the Champions League final made him a last minute inclusion in Vicente Del Bosque’s Spain side. This season he was one of a few constant performers for the Premier League runners up as the ultra-attacking fullback will look to make a lasting impression in the Spain squad.

Arek Milik:

Arek Milik przegladsportowyPhoto courtesy of Przegladsportowy

 

A player signed by Ajax from Bayer Leverkusen after a season-long loan spell a year ago still has Amsterdam undecided over his talents. However, he has bagged an astounding amount of goals for the club since and even grabbed a goal against World Champions Germany in the first game of qualifying for his country. He will play just in behind or next to the great Robert Lewandowski for Poland in a lethal strikeforce. He has the mobility to link-up with midfielders while being blessed with sharp finishing in the box as the 22-year-old managed to get to 50 goals for Ajax at a quicker rate than Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the last two seasons.

Yannick Fereira- Carrasco:

yannick_ferreira_carrascoPhoto courtesy of Fourfourtwo

 

His first season at Atletico Madrid has been astounding as it culminated in a goal in the Champions League final after a move from Monaco last summer. A sign of how spoiled for options Marc Wilmot’s is as the Belgian talent factory shows no sign of slowing down production. An out and out winger with the ability to trick his way outside his fullback and cross or cut in and shoot, the 22-year-old has only grown under the guidance of Diego Simeone. He will bring a totally different dimension to Belgium as he has at club level.

Victor Lindelof:

Victor Lindelof

 

This time last year, this young Swede was winning the Euro U-21 Championships with his country and after a breakout season at Benfica, he has found himself going into the senior tournament with the senior team. An old-fashioned ‘take no prisoners’ type centre back who treasures the gritty and physical side of the game rather than the technical side of the game which he is solid at, the 21-year-old will prove that there is more to Sweden than Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Ozan Tufan:

ozan tufan

 

An engine in midfield who possesses the physical application and discipline to help shield his defence and the technical guile to help out his attack. The 21 year-old is at his best when he is charging from box-to-box and covering every blade of grass. Spectators of the Turkish National team will see the Fenerbache midfielder buzzing around the pitch giving his team an advantage in numbers in every zone and space. Fatih Terim is blessed with a fine selection of options in defence, midfield and attack as Ozan is expected to be an integral cog of his Turkish machine.

Tin Jedvaj:

Tin JedvajPhoto courtesy of Zimbio

 

Roma have made a name for themselves in wheeling and dealing defenders in the last few years with Marquinhos, Mehdi Benatia, Kostas Manolas and now Antonio Rudiger representing their large turnover in defenders. One move that went under the radar is Tin Jedvaj’s move from Roma to Bayer Leverkusen after an initial season-long loan spell. This season he struggled with injury and missed the first half of the season but when he returned, his hard-tackling, rugged nature and ability on the overlap was welcomed. Another Zagreb native and component of their well-oiled production line, the blonde, floppy-haired 20-year-old is adept at playing centre-back and right-back. He will need to keep his anger in check though as he has already picked up 3 red cards in two years at Leverkusen.

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