Raheem Morrison

Tue, 15 Jun 2021

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This summer will see EURO 2020 finally kick off and as with most international tournaments, fans, coaches and scouts alike will be looking out for youngsters who come to the fore and rise to the occasion when called upon. STREAM have thus chosen 10 of the top talents we think will have a breakout tournament with their national teams.

Adam Hlozek (Czech Republic / Sparta Prague)
Date of birth: 25/7/2002. International caps: 3 Goals: 0
We start with the explosive Adam Hlozek, who despite being just 18 years old and not being an out and striker, has scored 16 goals in 19 games for Sparta Prague and was the top scorer in the Czech topflight. Hlozek possesses insane strength, pace and ball carrying ability that gets him into positions to pose danger himself. He is also adept at running the channels which allows him to create for his team mates as well. Hlozek’s movement and awareness is very mature for a player of his age, and it is no surprise he has attracted the interest of a host of European clubs, with rumours linking him with a summer transfer to West Ham United.

Mykola Shaparenko (Ukraine/Dynamo Kyiv)
Date of birth: 4/10/1998. International caps: 12 Goals: 0
Dubbed by many to be ‘Ukrainian Grealish’, Mykola contributed four goals and four assists as Dynamo Kyiv won the league and cup double. Shaparenko works extremely hard, has imagination and links up well with his teammates. He is one of the youngest players ever to score a goal in the Ukrainian Premier League. He dons the number 10 for a reason and has been praised in many quarters for being a special talent. For most of their games in this tournament, Ukraine may set up to play on the counterattack, it will be interesting to see how Shaparenko’s unique skill sets will be integrated.

Jude Bellingham (England/Borussia Dortmund)
Date of birth: 29/6/2003. International caps: 4 Goals: 0
17-year-old Jude Bellingham shrugged off any suggestion he was another overhyped English talent after completing his first season in the Bundesliga with German powerhouse Borussia Dortmund. There he regularly demonstrated his talent following a 25 million Pounds transfer from English Championship side Birmingham City. He scored four goals and provided four assists and became the second-youngest scorer in Champions League knockout stage history and the youngest ever Englishman to score in the competition. Bellingham’s dominant performance in both games against Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals surprised many as he showed maturity beyond his years. If given proper minutes this summer, Jude is expected to take full advantage and showcase his talents.

Giacomo Raspadori (Italy/Sassuolo)
Date of birth: 18/2/2000. International caps: 1 Goals: 0
When Italy named their squad for Euros 2020, one name on the list would surely be new to most football fans. That name was of the young Sassuolo striker who ended the 2020/21 season in red-hot form, scoring five goals and providing two assists in his final nine Serie A matches – Giacomo Raspadori. The 21-year-old is not your typical No.9, as he drops between the lines and regularly drifts out to the wing. He offers something very different from the other strikers in the squad – Belotti and Immobile – and can be called on if Italy find themselves struggling to break down an opponent sitting deep defensively during the tournament. The striker is being lined up as a potential replacement for Lautaro Martinez at Italian champions Inter Milan, should they part ways with the Argentine.

Ryan Gravenberch (Netherlands/Ajax)
Date of birth: 16/5/2002. International caps: 5 Goals: 1
Having already become a regular starter with 61 first-team appearances for Ajax at the age of 19, Gravenberch has shown an ability to improve year on year and could now light up Euro 2020 for the Netherlands. He was crucial to Ajax winning the league and rounded off his season with five goals and six assists, this has caught the attention of Europe’s biggest clubs. The very lanky midfielder demonstrates strong passing, is strong in aerial duels and exhibits continued concentration throughout his games. He is also very good with shots from distance and could prove to be a different option from the likes of Marten De Roon and Frenkie De Jong in midfield should coach Frank De Boer consider alternatives.

Sasa Kalajdzic (Austria/Stuttgart)
Date of birth: 7/7/1997. International caps: 7 Goals: 3
The 23-year-old Stuttgart forward is the tallest outfield player at Euro 2020 at two metres tall, automatically making him a dominant force in the air. Despite his height, Sasa Kalajdzic is also very good with his feet and links up extremely well with his teammates. His technical skills are quite astonishing, his left foot is powerful and when his side are building an attack, Kalajdzic plays his part showing confidence, knowledge, and finesse. After three injury-hit seasons, he exploded in the Bundesliga last season, as he ended the campaign with 16 goals and six assists in 33 games. With Austria not expected to do much in this tournament, do not be surprised if he and his teammates ruffle a few feathers.

Jeremy Doku (Belgium/Rennes)
Date of birth: 27-5-2002. International caps: 8 Goals: 2
One of the members of Belgium’s squad that most people may not have heard of, but Jeremy Doku is an insanely precocious talent. Belgium is stacked with attacking talent, so Doku will have to make do with a bench role, but he should see the field throughout the tournament. He possesses amazing trickery and dribbling ability and only Neymar surpassed him in dribbles in the French league last season. Rennes paid Anderlecht 26 million Euros for him last summer and though he only scored twice and contributed 3 assists, the player can provide a spark off the bench with fresh legs to make up for his lack of efficiency.

Nuno Mendes (Portugal/Sporting CP)
Date of birth: 19/6/2002. International caps: 5 Goals: 0
Already linked with Manchester City and having a reported 70-million-dollar buyout clause is nothing to scoff at and it does not seem like it will take too long for 18-year-old Nuno Mendes to secure a move to a bigger club. Following some stellar displays for Sporting CP since making his debut, he has quickly locked down the left back spot having also shown that he is comfortable playing left wing back and as a left-sided centre back in a back three. He was a key player in Sporting’s league win, posting the best defensive record in the league as they only conceded 20 times all season. Provided he gets the minutes, Nuno will be one of the most exciting players to watch this summer.

Jamal Musiala (Germany/Bayern)
Date of birth: 26/2/2003. International caps: 3 Goals: 0
A young player who can stand out in a team as good as Bayern Munich has to be very special and that’s precisely what Jamal Musiala demonstrated this season. He scored seven goals and provided one assist last season, but he is so much more than goals. Musiala can slither through opposition defences with ease and plays as a traditional Number 10 but can also fill in as a striker; he has quite a powerful shot on him for someone not powerfully built. Germany fought off interest from England to secure Musiala at international level, and the youngster will be looking to prove his worth this summer when called upon.

Pedri  (Spain/Barcelona CF)
Date of birth: 25/11/2002. International caps: 4 Goals: 0
Pedri became a starter for Barcelona at just 17-years-old and never looked out of place once, having played a total of 52 official matches, which was the most in the entire first-team squad. He has a small frame but has excellent balance and is extremely adept at dribbling. A very attacking-minded player, his passing and vision is excellent for his age. Always ready to take risks and progress the ball forward, he is capable of quick link-up play, which makes him threatening on and off the ball as well. Though he is an offensive player, he shows an excellent work rate and tracks back, completing defensive duties regularly. Along with high intensity pressing, he is also decent at pure tackling. He played several different positions this past season, making him a very favourable option for Luis Enrique, a coach who is known to like players who can play various roles.

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