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Seven young stars to look out for at Euro 2020

Seven young stars to look out for at Euro 2020
© Reuters
A young, unfamiliar talent often becomes the breakout star of the European Championship.

The forthcoming European Championship is a stage on which some of the best players in the world can showcase their skills.

But, while the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo are household names – invariably a young, less familiar talent becomes the breakout star.

Here, the PA news agency highlights seven precocious players whose names could be on everyone’s lips by the end of the summer.

Joao Felix – Portugal

Joao Felix made his Portugal debut at the age of 19.
Joao Felix made his Portugal debut at the age of 19 (Mike Egerton/PA)

Joao Felix may not be the most shocking name to make this list but the tournament could provide a coming-of-age moment for the 21-year-old.

He can now add his LaLiga title with Atletico Madrid to his Portuguese Primeira Liga winner’s medal and the Nations League crown of 2019 but in a squad as talented as Portugal’s, he can sometimes get lost in the shuffle.

He has three goals from his 16 caps to date and will have to add to that when given the opportunity if he is to begin to emerge from the shadow cast by the likes of Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes.

Dejan Kulusevski – Sweden

Juventus may have endured a frustrating season but there is no doubt that Dejan Kulusevski emerged as a positive force during the campaign.

The 21-year-old winger scored and assisted in the 2-1 Coppa Italia final win over his former side Atalanta before his place in Sweden’s squad was confirmed.

He has 11 caps to his name and, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic sidelined, Kulusevski is likely to be among those players who the Swedish supporters will gravitate towards – especially if he has a strong showing over the summer.

Ryan Gravenberch – Holland

Ryan Gravenberch (left) was part of Holland's Under-17 World Cup-winning squad in 2018.
Ryan Gravenberch, left, was part of Holland’s Under-17 World Cup-winning squad in 2018 (Martin Rickett/PA)

Another fine product of the fabled Ajax academy, 19-year-old midfielder Ryan Gravenberch will be hoping to make his mark at the Euros.

With two Dutch titles and a 2018 Under-17s World Cup winners’ medal to his name already, the defence-minded teenager made his senior Holland debut in March.

While he may not be in the team for the first game against Ukraine, he will be there or thereabouts for as long as Holland can go into the tournament and will no doubt benefit from the experience.

Eljif Elmas – North Macedonia

Tournament debutants North Macedonia will be looking to provide some memorable upsets in their first appearance at a major finals.

Elmas will undoubtedly play a big role for the newcomers, much as he did when scoring in a shock 2-1 World Cup qualifying win away to Germany earlier this year.

The 21-year-old midfielder has amassed 80 appearances for Napoli and was named Macedonian footballer of the year in 2019 – with a strong tournament his stock will only continue to rise.

Phil Foden – England

Phil Foden has impressed on his early outings for England.
Phil Foden has impressed on his early outings for England (Carl Recine/PA)

Phil Foden’s rise to the heady heights of the game has been anticipated for some time and the Manchester City forward enjoyed a fine season for club and country.

Still only 20 years of age, he collected a third Premier League winners medal last month, scoring 16 goals across all competitions for Pep Guardiola’s side.

He also broke into the senior England squad for the first time, scoring twice in a 4-0 Nations League win over Iceland in November and he could prove to be Gareth Southgate’s joker in the pack if the Three Lions are to progress deep into the tournament.

Pedri – Spain

Unlike the majority of young talent that breaks into the Barcelona first team, Pedri is not a product of the club’s famed La Masia academy.

The 18-year-old joined from Las Palmas and played in 37 LaLiga games in his first season at the Nou Camp.

The midfielder became the second youngest player in Barca history to reach 50 appearances and made the cut for Luis Enrique’s 24-man squad with the hope of getting a chance to impress for his country.

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