10 Young Players to Watch at Euro 2020
Following a year-long wait, the 2020 European Championship finally gets underway on Friday, June 11, as Turkey and Italy meet in Rome for the much-anticipated curtain raiser.
The biggest names in European soccer will light up the continent in the coming weeks, with superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, and Kevin De Bruyne aiming to guide their nation to glory.
But there is also a host of up-and-coming stars that will be eager to establish themselves on the biggest stage of all. I mean, Mbappe is still only 22, but we already know what he is capable of, right?
In this post, I look at ten youngsters who are set to burst onto the international scene and take Euro 2020 by storm.
Here are ten young players to watch at Euro 2020.
- Age: 21
- Nation: England
English soccer fans are known for overhyping their young stars. But when it comes to Phil Foden, it is difficult to overstate just how good he is.
At just 21, the Manchester City prodigy has already made 124 club appearances – racking up 31 goals and 22 assists along the way. Oh, and he also has three EPL titles and a host of domestic cups to his name.
Best known for his incredible balance and vision, Foden has become a key component of Gareth Southgate’s England side in recent times – and he looks set play an important role for his country at Euro 2020.
The Three Lions’ squad is packed with world-class youngsters, with players like Jude Bellingham (more on him later), Jadon Sancho, and Mason Mount all likely to shine at Euro 2020. But in my eyes, Foden is the pick of the bunch.
|MAN CITY’S TOP SCORERS (2020/21 SEASON)|
- Age: 21
- Nation: Sweden
Dejan Kulusevsiki heads into the European Championship on the back of a breakout season in Serie A. He may not have been able to help Juventus win the Scudetto, but he enjoyed an excellent campaign on a personal level.
The exciting winger featured in all but three of Juve’s 38 Serie A matches, bagging four goals and three assists in the process. He also chalked up three goals and three assists in five Coppa Italia games and played a starring role in the Old Lady’s final triumph over Atalanta.
Having made his international debut back in 2019, Kulusevski has already represented Sweden on 12 occasions.
If he can carry his recent domestic form onto the international stage, he will be one of the best young players at Euro 2020.
- Age: 19
- Nation: Netherlands
Ajax is renowned producing incredible soccer players – and Ryan Gravenberch is certainly one of them.
For someone so young, the central midfielder has it all. His composure and class saw him start 31 of Ajax’s 34 Eredivisie games last term, and if it weren’t for a coronavirus-enforced lay-off, he probably would have started every match.
Gravenberch made his Netherlands debut in March 2021 and has featured in all five of his country’s matches since then. Frank de Boer clearly trusts the teenager in the heart of midfield, so I can see him being one of the top young Euro 2020 players.
|MOST APPERANCES FOR AJAX (2020/21 SEASON)|
- Age: 21
- Nation: North Macedonia
Remember when North Macedonia secured that famous victory over Germany earlier in the year? Well, it was Elif Elmas who scored the winning goal.
However, the 21-year-old is far from a one-game wonder.
After making a name for himself in Turkey with Fenerbahce, Napoli paid €19 million to acquire his services in 2019. Since then, the attacking midfielder has become a vital part of Napoli’s team – making a total of 80 appearances across the past two seasons.
Of course, North Macedonia is expected to cause many more upsets at Euro 2020. But having netted the winner against Germany, Elmas will be eager to show the continent what he can do.
- Age: 18
- Nation: Portugal
It is no secret that Portugal has an aging squad. I mean, veterans like Pepe (38), Jose Fonte (37), Cristiano Ronaldo (36), and Joao Moutinho (36) aren’t likely to be around at the next European Championship.
But in Nuno Mendes, Portugal possesses one of the best young players at Euro 2020.
Fresh from helping Sporting CP win the Portuguese title for the first time since 2002, Mendes looks set to be Fernando Santos’ first-choice left-back for a very long time. After all, he has all the attributes required to become a world-class full-back.
Even though he boasts a staggering release clause of €70 million, Europe’s elite clubs are bound come calling sooner or later.
- Age: 22
- Nation: Italy
It feels like Gianluigi Donnarumma has been around forever, doesn’t it? Given that the highly rated shot-stopper has already made over 250 appearances for AC Milan, it is difficult to believe that he is still just 22.
Sure, he may not be as young as some of the prodigies on this list, but he is youthful enough to be classed as one of the top young players to watch at Euro 2020.
Since making his international debut back in 2016, Donnarumma has earned 25 caps for Italy. Napoli’s Alex Meret and Torino’s Salvatore Sirigu have also been included in Roberto Mancini’s 26-man squad, although there is no question about who Italy’s number one is.
- Age: 19
- Nation: Belgium
When you consider the wealth of attacking talent at Roberto Martinez’s disposal, Jeremy Doku must be special if he’s going to be representing Belgium this summer.
Don’t get me wrong – he probably isn’t going to be keeping the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, and Dries Mertens out of the starting XI. But the 19-year-old forward has already made six international appearances and scored two goals, so Martinez obviously thinks very highly of him.
In his debut Ligue 1 season, Doku played 30 times for Rennes – contributing two goals and three assists. He also featured in all six of his side’s Champions League matches.
Belgium is one of the bookmakers’ favorites to lift the Euro 2020 trophy, meaning we are likely to see plenty of Doku throughout the tournament.
- Age: 21
- Nation: Spain
If Ferran Torres’ first ten international games are anything to go by, the Man City youngster has a seriously bright future ahead of him.
The gifted winger made his Spain debut less than a year ago, yet he already has ten caps and six goals to his name. After netting a hat-trick in the famous 6-0 crushing of Germany, Torres added a couple more goals to his ever-growing tally during March’s World Cup qualifiers.
With the injured Ansu Fati missing out on Luis Enrique’s squad, Torres is set to be Spain’s standout young player at Euro 2020.
|FERRAN TORRES – DEBUT MAN CITY SEASON (2020/21)|
- Age: 18
- Nation: Germany
When it comes to discussing the best young players to watch at Euro 2020, you simply cannot leave this guy out of the conversation.
Despite only turning 18 in February, Jamal Musiala played a whopping 39 times for Bayern Munich during the 2020/21 season. On top of that, he scored seven goals on his way to lifting the Bundesliga title with the German giant.
Born in Germany to a British-Nigerian father and German mother, Musiala grew up in England and even represented the Three Lions at various youth levels. Fans of German soccer are grateful that he pledged his allegiance to the country of his birth.
- Age: 17
- Nation: England
What were you doing when you were 17?
During the previous European Championship, Jude Bellingham was in his early years at high school. Fast-forward to today, and the Borussia Dortmund is an integral part of England’s squad.
The teenager made 46 appearances for Dortmund last term, bagging four goals and four assists along the way. His box-to-box ability is unrivalled for a 17-year-old – and his tackling and reading of the game are also outstanding.
There are question marks over the fitness of Jordan Henderson, so Bellingham could clock up plenty of minutes at the Euros.
Special couple of days. Euro selection and first start. Nice win to start our preparation.🏴🙌🏽June 2, 2021
Wrapping Things Up
We have been made to wait long enough for Euro 2020, haven’t we? I mean, we are already halfway through 2021.
While the wait has been long, the delayed European Championship has given more young players the chance to develop. If Euro 2020 had gone ahead last year, it is highly unlikely that guys such as Musiala and Bellingham would have been involved.
I can’t wait to watch the best young players at Euro 2020 do their thing. Thankfully, the wait is almost over!