International football competitions often provide young up and coming players with the launchpad they need to cement their place in footballing history. The FIFA World Cup in 2018 showcased the talents of many rising stars, including Benjamin Pavard (France), Juan Quintero (Columbia) and Hirving Lozano (Mexico). All of these players and more were influential in the success of their national teams and many were rewarded for their efforts with transfers to major clubs within their home countries following the tournament.
The European Cup is the second most watched international football tournament after the World Cup, and the latest competitionis taking place from the 11th of June until the 11th of July 2021. No doubt all football punters throughout Europe will be keen to back the favourites throughout the tournament, with England fans reviewing odds via bookmakers, Germany fans checking the latest sportwetten online, and Sweden football fans keeping up to date with Allsvenskan idag. Football betting is often influenced by newcomers and younger players who have the potential to shake things up and bring teams recognition and success. There are many bright young things that have been selected to play for their countries that have the potential to make game-changing moves and solidify their places as star players for many years to come.
Alessandro Bastoni (Italy)
The 22-year old Alessandro Bastoni comes to Italy hot on the heels of a great season with Inter Milan, where he has firmly established himself as an integral part of a strong defence. Bastoni has big shoes to fil in terms of the national team, with defenders such as Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini to live up to, However, his performance throughout the previous season has been strong. Antonio Conte integrated the young Bastoni into the first team in the 2019/2020 season, where he was quick to form a good working relationship with his colleagues, resulting in one of the recognised best defences in the whole of Italy.
Yusuf Yazici (Turkey)
Yusuf Yazici comes to the Turkish national team at the age of 24, having been playing for Lille throughout the season. The left-footed player Yazici shows a lot of promise as either a striker or attacking midfielder, already known for his long-distance aim and well-timed runs. Yazici debuted for Turkey’s senior team in 2017, aged just 20, and has been selected to play for his country no less than 32 times since.
Kevin de Bruyne (Belgium)
The Belgium national team has a recent history of performing relatively well in international tournaments but without much to show for their efforts. Part of their plan to hopefully improve on this in Euro 2020 involves one of Manchester City’s key playmakers, Kevin de Bruyne. De Bruyne may not be technically classed as a rising star – at the age of 29, he is already fairly well established. However, he is most definitely one to watch. Injuries may keep him out of the earlier rounds but, should Belgium make it to the later stages of the tournament, de Bruyne should be there to help improve their chances of winning.
Denis Zakaria (Switzerland)
Denis Zakaria has been one of the stand-out players of the previous season in the Bundesliga. Not yet 25 years old, Zakaria has drawn the attention of several Premier League giants during his time at Borussia Monchengladbach, with Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City all showing an interest. His selection for the Swiss national squad could provide Zakaria with the platform he needs to truly make his mark on the international landscape.
Ethan Ampadu (Wales)
Ethan Ampadu experienced his first taste of top-flight football in the UK in the 2020/2021 season, on loan to Sheffield United from Chelsea. Now selected to play for Wales, Ampadu could see more Premiership clubs battling for him in upcoming seasons if he lives up to his promise. The young Ampadu first experienced pre-tournament excitement at Euro 2016, although he had to leave to take his GCSEs before the competition got properly underway. Returning to the squad five years older and free from exam commitments, it is possible that the youngster will make his mark for Wales and increase his value for Chelsea or any other club that signs him in the future.
Phil Foden (England)
The 20-year old Phil Foden makes his debut for England at Euro 2020, having become a regular starter for top-flight club Manchester City. Despite his tender age, Foden has already been instrumental in the winning of three Premier League titles. His international debut will take place alongside his partner in crime, Raheem Sterling. The duo has a complementary style that has seen Manchester City perform well, so England will be hoping this translates to the tournament pitches and drives the team to success. With starting odds of 5/1, England are second-favourite to win Euro 2020. Foden could well prove to be the key to ensuring England’s first Coupe des Clubs Champions Européens.
While no one single player can ensure victory, there are many that are prime forces for good within their national teams, inspiring and motivating other players to push past their best and play spectacularly. Those listed above are just a handful of the young players that will make the tournament entertaining for all fans, no matter who is ultimately victorious.