Young players to look out for during EURO 2016
Posted by John Smith | Published on June 3, 2016
In a week’s time, the 2016 European Championship tournament in France will kick off at the Stade de France. In the past two years, a variety of new younger talent has swept the continent and have began to make a name for themselves at their respective team or league. The following article gives a better insight at a majority of these young talents, who you certainly will want to keep an eye out for as the EUROs take place.
Kingsley Coman – Bayern Munich (On loan from Juventus) – France:
The first person on this list is none other than winger Kingsley Coman. The French international is the youngest player to play for French giants Paris Saint Germain at the age of 16 years, 8 months. Coman was initially brought up in their youth academy, but, the French side decided to not invest in the winger, and, was soon signed by Italian giants Juventus on a five year deal once his contract came to an end. Kingsley Coman made 20 appearances in all competitions during his first season at Juventus, most notably when he was brought on in the Champions League Final defeat to Barcelona. At the beginning of the 2015/16 season, Coman joined Bayern Munich on a two-year loan. The winger had a very good debut season at the club at the age of 19 with 6 goals and 11 assists in 38 appearances. His passing and controlling dribbling ability combined with his lightning quick pace will definitely be an asset for the hosts as they look to win the EUROs in their home country.
Renato Sanches – SL Benfica (Will join Bayern Munich next season) – Portugal:
If you have been paying attention to recent transfer activity lately, you will know who this man is. The 18 year old centre midfielder recently signed for Bundesliga champions, Bayern Munich, for a reported fee of €35m (£27.2m) plus add ons. The Portuguese midfielder played a big part towards Benfica’s triumph in the league and took the place of former teammate Talisca. A creation of Benfica’s youth academy, the midfielder has put on exceptional performances against the likes of Atletico Madrid with his bursts of energy and building up play for his team. For a player with his talent, which would assume came from someone far more experienced, the fact that the “inexperienced” midfielder is putting up brilliant performances already at such a young age proves that he is one for the future. Before lacing up his boots for Bayern Munich, it will be interesting to see how he performs for Portugal during the EUROs.
Dele Alli – Tottenham – England:
The 2015/16 season saw the emergence of Dele Alli within the Tottenham first team. The PFA Young Player of the Year scored 10 and assisted 9 in 33 total league appearances for Tottenham; helping the North London side to finish 3rd in the league. The midfielder also earned a place in the PFA Team of the Season for the second time in his career (the first being in the Football League One Team of the Season with MK Dons.) The highly versatile midfielder is successful when playing behind the defence but can also play well when played further up the pitch. His style of play compliments different positions in midfield with his strong eye for a key pass as well as his ability to intercept play – averaging just under two interceptions a game. The Englishman originated from the academy of MK Dons, but signed for Spurs last year for a fee of £5m. English pundits have continued to praise Alli’s ability this season with Liverpool legend, Jamie Carragher, likening Alli to that of England’s all time top goalscorer – Wayne Rooney.
Anthony Martial – Manchester United – France:
When Anthony Martial started new life at Manchester United following a deadline day transfer from French side AS Monaco, thousands of fans and pundits alike questioned the £36m plus add ons fee that United spent on the versatile striker. Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney even admitted to Googling the French striker because of the fact that he has never heard of the player before. Following the end of the 2015/16 Premier League season, it has become very clear that the money the Red Devils spent on the striker was worth every penny with 17 goals and 5 assists in all competitions for his debut season. Although the attacking options for France is competitive with players such as Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud, Martial offers a great technical style of play that fits him well along with his high speed and good finishing. Whether he plays as striker, or on the wing, Martial offers a lot to the selected France side and will be a good asset for France to win the EUROs in their country.
Breel Embolo – FC Basel – Switzerland:
Although unknown to some, Breel Embolo has had a fine career thus far at current club FC Basel and played an important role in winning the league for them this season with 10 goals in 26 league appearances. At the age of 19, Embolo could use the EUROs to his advantage in order to pursue and move to a new club during the summer. His performances at Basel have attracted interest from a variety of big clubs, most notably Tottenham Hotspur and Wolfsburg. Embolo is another player that has a great amount of speed, and uses his strength to beat the opposition’s defenders. The Swiss is versatile in attack, typically playing on either the right or in the middle. Embolo started his career off at the youth system of FC Basel, but, played at Nordstern before making the transition to Basel.
Marcus Rashford – Manchester United – England:
At the end of 2015, Marcus Rashford was still playing youth football for Manchester United. Six months later, the young striker has stolen the headlines in England and has earned himself a place in Roy Hodgson’s 23-man squad for the EUROs. Considering the good seasons experienced strikers like Jermaine Defoe and Andy Carroll have had for their clubs Sunderland and West Ham respectively, the decision will definitely prove to be a gamble. With 5 goals and 2 assists in 11 first team appearances – most notably scoring two against Arsenal on his Premier League debut – the former academy player will definitely look to show off his skills for new manager José Mourinho before the new season kicks off.
Hector Bellerin – Arsenal – Spain:
In the past eighteen months, life for right back Hector Bellerin has improved significantly, earning his place in the Arsenal first team ahead of Mathieu Debuchy and also helping the side to FA Cup and Community Shield victories. Bellerin began his footballing career at the Barcelona youth academy, but, departed the Spanish giants in 2011 and joined the Arsenal academy. On top of this, following the end of the 2015/16 season, Bellerin earned himself a place in the provisional Spain squad and later replaced the injured Dani Carvajal in the final 23 man squad – with only two matches for Spain (including his senior debut) to his name. Bellerin is known for his electric pace, proven when he beat Theo Walcott’s 40m sprint record. In addition to this, the 21 year old also has a good dribbling ability on top of being able to play key passes, and is also able to support an attacking style of play, which his speed is known to benefit.
Leroy Sané – Schalke 04 – Germany:
The last player to feature is none other than versatile 20 year old Leroy Sané, who returns to national team after making his debut last year for Germany. The agile German had a good season at Schalke, and is another player to steal the headlines with 8 goals and 6 assists in the Bundesliga for Schalke. Sané has been praised in particular for his amazing dribbling ability on top of how versatile he can be; playing on either flank in attack as well as in midfield. Following this season, Sané has become one of the hottest talents in Europe, with strong interest from Manchester City, and other clubs including Bayern Munich and Manchester United.