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Young players to watch at Euro 2016


North and South America’s biggest stars are currently lighting it up in the United States at the Copa America Centenario, but with Euro 2016 just around the corner it’s time to take a look at the best young players in Europe.

While stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic headline the core of veterans, youth talents like France’s Kingsley Coman and English duo Dele Alli and Eric Dier have the potential to showcase themselves in this summer’s tournament. Players like Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (Belgium) have already reached star status, while some others will be looking to follow in their footsteps.

Today, we take a look at the top players under the age of 25 who could make a significant impact at this summer’s European Championship:


THIBAUT COURTOIS (BELGIUM)— At 24 years old, Courtois is already recognized as one of the world’s best keepers because of his length and innate sense for cleaning up mistakes in the back.

ROMAN BURKI (SWITZERLAND) Burki has filled in beautifully at Borussia Dortmund since Roman Weidenfeller was eased out of the team’s starting role this past season. He’ll look to continue his form in Group A.

DAVID DE GEA (SPAIN)— Vicente del Bosque has played coy over Spain’s starting goalkeeping situation, however, it’s clear De Gea is the squad’s No. 1, although his current legal issues could derail his tournament.

ANTHONY LOPES (PORTUGAL)— Lyon’s netminder has been fantastic since joining the club in 2011. Lopes has made 30-plus appearances for the Ligue 1 side over the last three seasons, providing the Portuguese with plenty of experience.

MARC-ANDRE TER STEGEN (GERMANY)— It’s difficult balancing two No. 1 keepers, which is what Barcelona has had to do, but Ter Stegen is more than capable in net. He’d start for most teams, but unfortunately he has to deal with Manuel Neuer.


JOHN STONES (ENGLAND)— Everton didn’t have the season they would have liked to enjoy, but Stones was a key figure in the team’s backline. He’ll look to carry over his growth with the Three Lions.

SAMUEL UMTITI (FRANCE)— With Barcelona reportedly beckoning, Umtiti’s performance at the Euros could prove massive for his career.

HECTOR BELLERIN (SPAIN)— The Arsenal youngster is coming off of an impressive campaign in Premier League and is a heavily sought after defender. La Furia Roja could be his path to further success.

BEN DAVIES (WALES)— With Tottenham’s continued rise and massive depth of players, Davies hasn’t been featured as much as he wants or really deserves. The young defender could really take the tournament by storm on a Welsh side loads of talent.

JORDAN LUKAKU (BELGIUM)— The brother of Romelu, Jordan looks to make a name of his own for the Red Devils.

NORBERT GYOMBER (SLOVAKIA)— A lengthy center back, Gyomber remains one of the team’s younger options on defense. While he may not start from the beginning, he has a promising future, as shown by several appearances with Roma in 2015/16.

PADDY MCNAIR (NORTHERN IRELAND)— While he had the ability to playing as a holding midfielder, the young Manchester United product could give Northern Ireland help in several areas.

LUCAS DIGNE (FRANCE)— Digne made a name for himself at Roma this past season while on loan, but if he finds his way on the field for France that could give PSG a reason to bring back the left back next season.

RICARDO RODRIGUEZ (SWITZERLAND)— Serving as one of the steady forces in the back for Wolfsburg over the past few years, Rodriguez has plenty of versatility and quality on the ball to present mismatches against opposition.

ELSEID HYSAJ (ALBANIA)— Hysaj is coming off of a solid season at Napoli, where he earned 35 appearances for the club. He’ll be a key on Albania’s backline and certainly play a significant role in his team trying to advance out of Group A.


DAVID ALABA (AUSTRIA)— His experience with Bayern Munich has already afforded him plenty of recognition, but Alaba can continue his rapid ascent with Austria by adding another strong tournament performance.

RENATO SANCHES (PORTUGAL)— A big performance from the Portuguese will justify the youngster’s signing with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. He’s already been stellar at Porto, but the Euros will serve as reassurance with the midfielder.

DELE ALLI (ENGLAND)— One of the many Tottenham representatives this summer, Alli will look to provide a spark to an exciting English midfield.

ERGYS KACE (ALBANIA)— As a prototypical holding midfielder, Kace is at his best when he’s playing physical soccer. Kace has already been firmly involved in the team’s 2014 World Cup qualifying run as well as during the buildup to Albania’s appearance at the Euros.

OSCAR LEWICKI (SWEDEN)— Lewicki originated from Bayern Munich’s academy but has since impressed playing in his native Sweden. The 23-year-old currently plays for Malmo, where Ibrahimovic began his career.

ERIC DIER (ENGLAND)— Dier’s familiarity with Alli and the other Premier League players in the squad should give him the chance for a breakout tournament.

MATEO KOVACIC (CROATIA)— Inconsistent playing time at Real Madrid is to be expected if you’re not named Ronaldo or Gareth Bale, but Kovacic can make an argument for more playing time if he and Croatia make a run.

MARCEL SABITZER (AUSTRIA)— Sabitzer has already notched three goals in his 13 caps for Austria, and while Austria does boast experience in the midfield it’s like he’ll see the field at some point.

HAKAN CALHANOGLU (TURKEY)— A dangerous attacker from Bayer Leverkusen, Calhanoglu has made a steady climb up the German soccer ladder over recent seasons. Since 2015, Calhanoglu has notched six goals for the Turks.

JOHANN BERG GUOMUNDSSON (ICELAND)— Since joining English side Charlton Athletic in 2014, Guomundsson has impressed as both a goalscorer and distributor. In addition to his success in England, the midfielder has been in the national team fold for Iceland since 2008.


KINGSLEY COMAN (FRANCE)— At just 19 years of age, Coman sparked massive interest this season at Bayern Munich while on loan. Pace and innate finishing ability have already earned him significant looks from around the world.

YANNICK CARRASCO (BELGIUM)— The dazzling Atletico Madrid attacker made a name for himself in the Champions League final, and now he could cement himself amongst the rest of Belgium’s golden generation.

LEROY SANE (GERMANY)— It’s not likely he’ll be on the field with a stacked Germany roster but there’s zero question Sane has a bright future. The 20-year-old posted eight goals last season in the Bundesliga for Schalke.

FLORIN ANDONE (ROMANIA)— While still relatively new to the international scene, Andone has been spectacular for club side Cordoba since joining two seasons ago. After receiving his first cap in 2015, Andone has already earned the respect of his native country with the Euro call up.

MARCUS RASHFORD (ENGLAND)— It’ll be hard to find the field with Jamie Vardy, Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane standing in front of him, but Rashford’s efforts at Manchester United this season have at least earned him the right to make the squad.

ANTHONY MARTIAL (FRANCE)— Like Rashford, Martial is in a similar predicament with France’s stacked lineup. One opportunity is all he’ll be looking for to showcase his skills.

ARKADIUSZ MILIK (POLAND)— Watch out for this kid. After scoring 21 goals in 31 matches for Ajax this past season, Milik could set the Euros on fire with his goalscoring form.

STEPHAN EL SHAARAWAY (ITALY)— With a weak attacking corp, El Shaaraway’s role will be all the more vital for the Italians, who face a difficult test in the group phase.

BREEL EMBOLO (SWITZERLAND)— A very calculated striker, Embolo is forceful when making runs and has a quality finish when close to the net. His time at Basel has already made him a name to know with the ranks of Swiss soccer.


  1. Young for Europe should be considered under 21. Many on this list are already established players. Alaba is considered by many to be one of the best left backs in the world.


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