10 Top Young Talents to Follow at Euro 2020
Euro 2020 will host some of the hottest young talents in world football. In this article, we take a look at 10 of the most promising ones.
Jude Bellingham, 2003 – England
There’s nothing normal in Jude Bellingham’s path to professional football so far. At 17, he already experienced a £26M transfer – the most expensive ever for a 17-year-old youngster. – As a first-team regular with Borussia Dortmund, a goal in a Champions League quarter-final (against future winners Man City) and an honor usually reserved to football legends at the end of their career, his jersey with the number 22 retired by his former club Birmingham City FC. The last step has been the call-up to play the Euros, making him the youngest player in England’s squad and the second youngest of the whole tournament after Poland’s Kacper Kozlowski, three and a half months younger than him.
At least at the beginning of the tournament, Bellingham shouldn’t have a central role among the Three Lions – although he already became the youngest ever to play at the Euros, being subbed in at the 82nd minute of England’s opener against Croatia. In the past months, since his debut against Ireland in November, he’s almost never been a regular for Southgate. But in the only match played from the first minute before the European championship – the friendly match against Austria in early June – Bellingham played so well that many people now expect him to be played as a starter soon. But that’s not so easy. Henderson, Rice and Phillips provide balance and cover behind England’s most advanced lines, both vital skills to balance the Three Lions’ massive offensive talent. Bellingham, on the other hand, tends more to move around the pitch, helping to get the ball in the last third and running in the box. It’s really up to what kind of midfield Southgate wants to play with, either more balanced and control-oriented, or brave and supportive of offensive players. Whatever the case may be, for his very ability to change the tempo in the midfield, Bellingham can play an important role in this tournament, even if not playing as a starter.
Jérémy Doku, 2002 – Belgium
Belgium is the most experienced team at the Euros, with the highest average age of the tournament and the highest number of international caps in their 23-man squad. The only exception, and the only Under-23 player called by Roberto Martinez, is Jérémy Doku. It’s not a surprise. Doku debuted last November and he starts the Euros with a tally of eight games and two goals with the Red Devils- the same amount scored in the 30 matches played with Rennes in the last Ligue 1 season.
He arrived in France last October from Anderlecht, with great expectations around him. The transfer was quite expensive – €26M + bonuses- and he immediately forced himself into the starting XI, playing on the wing, both on the right and left flank. But he wasn’t very effective from an offensive perspective (only two goals and three assists in the campaign) and he mainly showed his ability to beat his man in 1v1s. After Mbappé, he’s the player who completed the most dribbles in Ligue 1. He’s not a starter for Belgium but with his electric style of play, his speed and his talent in 1v1s, he can change games even starting from the bench.
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