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Euro 2020 Preview: Young players to watch

The opportunity a major international tournament presents usually launches a young standout’s name to a new level of reputation. This summer’s Euro 2020 tournament includes some of Europe’s best up-and-coming talents, some of which could play their way into blockbuster transfers.

Unfortunately, you could compile a similar list of young players missing the tournament, including Erling Haaland, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dominik Szoboszlai.

There is still plenty of young talent on display though, and some of them could be key factors in deep tournament runs.

Here is a look at some of the top young players who will be featuring at Euro 2020:


Phil Foden, England

Age: 20

Club: Manchester City

Foden had a breakout season in 2020/21, scoring nine goals and assisting five in the Premier League and leading Manchester City’s Champions League final run with three goals. He might be club teammates with Harry Kane soon enough, but first the two will combine for England’s shot at becoming champions of Europe.


Joao Felix, Portugal

Age: 21

Club: Atletico Madrid

Joao Felix arrived at Atleti in 2019 at 19 years old for a $139 million fee. Since then, he’s looked beyond his years in Diego Simeone’s central midfield. Felix helped Atletico Madrid win La Liga this season, scoring seven goals and adding six assists in 31 appearances. He already has 17 senior national team appearances under his belt.


Ryan Gravenberch, Netherlands

Age: 18

Club: Ajax

Gravenberch is the youngest player on this list, and he just scored his first national team goal in the Netherlands’ last pre-tournament friendly against Georgia. He’s turned in an exceptional season in the central midfield for Ajax, with three goals and five assists in the league, plus six Champions League appearances and one goal.


Ferran Torres, Spain

Age: 21

Club: Manchester City

Ferran Torres is one of several young stars for Manchester City. Coming off a strong club season, Torres is also in great form with his national side. He’s scored four goals in his past five Spain appearances. That includes a hat trick in a 6-0 UEFA Nations League win over Germany last November.


Kai Havertz, Germany

Age: 21

Club: Chelsea

It’s hard to believe Kai Havertz is only 21 years old. He scored the game-winning goal in the Champions League final for Chelsea and smoothly took the reins at attacking midfielder since joining from Bayer Leverkusen in September. Havertz will bring energy and creativity in the attacking third for Germany.


Gianluigi Donnarumma, Italy

Age: 22

Club: AC Milan

Donnarumma is still under contract at AC Milan for one more month, but Paris Saint-Germain has reportedly agreed to sign him. Juventus and Barcelona are after him, too. Donnarumma has been Milan’s No. 1 since he was 17 years old. He’s on the cusp of being known as the world’s best goalkeeper.


Pedri, Spain

Age: 18

Club: Barcelona

FC Barcelona is opening a new era, and Pedri is a massive part of the change. He’s a huge part of the future for Spain, too. The attacking midfielder played in all but one league match for Barcelona this season, and he has four Spain caps.


Jude Bellingham, England

Age: 17

Club: Borussia Dortmund

Since making history at Birmingham City as the youngest player to play in the league, youngest player to score and record sale, Bellingham has stepped into the midfield at Dortmund comfortably with 29 appearances last season. He’s got stiff competition in the England squad to see the field, but he played in both of England’s pre-tournament friendlies.


Dejan Kulusevski, Sweden

Age: 20

Club: Juventus

Kulusevski helped Juventus salvage the season and make the Champions League with breakout seasons from him and Federico Chiesa. The Stockholm native arrived at Juventus from Atalanta for $38 million in January 2020. He scored three goals and added four assists in 35 Serie A appearances.


Jeremy Doku, Belgium

Age: 19

Club: Stade Rennais

Doku could feature on the right wing for Belgium, alongside the much more experienced Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard. Doku helped Stade Rennais finish sixth in Ligue 1 with two goals and three assists in 30 appearances. He already has eight caps and two goals for Belgium.

Comments

  1. This is why I don’t want us to get ahead of ourselves with the USMNT “golden generation” stuff. I’m *really* excited about our youngsters and think it bodes well for our progress and improvement on the international stage. But it’s not like the top nations have nothing coming through the pipeline. Some of these kids are insane.

    So I feel like we’re on the right track, and we’re making shocking progress — it’s like someone’s flipped a switch for U.S. talent — but before anyone starts talking about World Cup 2026, we need to show that we even belong in the same conversation as these heavyweights. Hopefully, we can combine CONCACAF qualifying with some really challenging friendlies over the coming year. I want to play Portugal, France, and England without losing our momentum.

    Reply
    • To me the term “golden generation” means different things for different countries. For a Germany, Brazil, or Italy a group of players has to win the World Cup to potentially qualify as being a golden generation. For a country like panama it meant they qualified for the Cup after years of failing to do so. For us I think it means a decade or so of sustained success against Mexico as well as multiple World Cup appearances culminating in a quarterfinal or maybe semifinal run. While I agree it’s too early to be sure I do think there is the talent available in the US to meet those standards.

      Reply

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