Five exciting youngsters to watch out for at Euro 2024

The start of Euro 2024 is just around the corner with some of Europe’s best young talent set to be on show in Germany.

Throughout the tournament, the big names will likely take the headlines, with the likes of Harry Kane, Kylian Mbappe and Rodri all looking to win their first European Championship, but there will also be some younger players who will capture the eye and announce themselves on the biggest stage.

Here are five youngsters to watch out for…

Florian Wirtz (Midfielder, Germany)

There are few players who have had better seasons than Florian Wirtz. He won an invincible Bundesliga title, then added the DFB Pokal, and was one game away from an unbeaten treble, before losing 3-0 to Atalanta in the Europa League final. It was a historic achievement for Xabi Alonso’s side, and 21-year-old Wirtz was his main man throughout the season.

He won the Bundesliga Player of the Year award, ahead of Harry Kane, and contributed 22 goals and assists for Leverkusen. He is the star of the Bundesliga side, with his range of passing, ability to create and tricky dribbling making him an exciting player to watch.

But shining as the best player at club level is different to fitting into an attack full of superstars, which is something the midfielder will have to do at the Euros this summer when he plays alongside Jamal Musiala, Leroy Sane and Kai Havertz.

Lamine Yamal (Forward, Spain)

Lamine Yamal will be spending his summer holidays in Germany playing in the Euros. The 16-year-old is still at school while also balancing the life of a professional footballer. He is the youngest player to play for Spain, and when he scored on his debut against Georgia he became the nation’s youngest goalscorer as well.

He also holds the record for the youngest La Liga goalscorer and appearance maker for Barcelona, a club that has a long record of producing world class talent. The faith shown in him by the club has been rewarded as he has managed to translate his composed dribbling and chance creation from youth football to senior level, all the way to the national team.

Spain have always had a wealth of brilliant technical players and Yamal is no different. He will be a player Luis de la Fuente can turn to when Spain need to break through a defence or create a moment of magic. It is a lot to demand from a child who should be sitting the Spanish equivalent of GCSEs.

Xavi Simons (Forward, Netherlands)

Before Yamal, Pedri, Gavi and Ansu Fati, there was one youngster who football fans thought would become the future of Barcelona, and that was Xavi Simons. The Dutch forward has been highly rated since he was in his early teens but he moved away from Barcelona to forge his career elsewhere, and he has been spectacular since.

His first stop since the Catalan club was PSG, but with the constant demand for trophies and a congested path to the first team, Simons went on loan to his native Netherlands and shone for PSV. He hit 19 league goals in his sole season in Eindhoven and would carry across his talents to Germany when he had another temporary spell at RB Leipzig.

Despite his diminutive frame, the 21-year-old is a powerful carrier of the ball and has high attacking intelligence. The Netherlands have strong talent in the defence and midfield, but the attack is where they lack the quality that could take them deep into the competition, but with Simons, they do have a player who can make exciting things happen.

Cole Palmer (Forward, England)

When Chelsea signed Cole Palmer for an initial £40 million, not many would have expected him to be on England’s plane to Germany, but it got to a point where Southgate couldn’t avoid calling him up after scoring 22 league goals along with 11 assists.

Palmer has been Chelsea’s go-to man and he has lived with that pressure well, dragging the Blues through difficult games. It is unlikely that there will be such a heavy burden on him when he plays for England but he does have the ability to take control of a game if Southgate’s side struggle.

With Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden also having very strong seasons and having earned the trust of the England manager, Palmer may only have little cameos to impress but he is more than capable of doing so. He can also convert a penalty, which is always a useful skill to have in knockout football.

Arda Guler (Midfielder, Turkey)

Arda Guler has struggled to get consistent game time since his move to Real Madrid from Fenerbahce in the summer of 2023, due to injuries and the quality that the Turkish midfielder has to compete with, such as Jude Bellingham and Brahim Diaz but his potential is clear.

The 19-year-old has a great strike on him and has good passing ability too. He will have more expectation on him from a passionate fanbase who saw him regularly a couple of years ago playing in the Turkish first division and will have more opportunity to impress.

There are many exciting prospects coming through Turkey right now, such as Juventus’ Kenan Yildiz and Benfica’s Orkun Kokcu but Guler is the brightest star, and he has the opportunity to show the world what he is capable of after a frustrating start to his career at Real Madrid.


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