PARIS: Before the start of Euro 2020 on Friday, AFP Sport selects six of the continent’s brightest young stars to watch the month-long tournament:
– Phil Foden –
The player of the tournament when England won the 2017 Indian World Cup in India, Foden will now be released at the age of 21 for the first time at a full international competition. Coming from an excellent season in Manchester City in which he had a star in Pep Guardiola’s title-winning team, he regularly cut off the left flank and contributed 16 goals in all competitions.
Foden, who enjoys fishing with his father, made his full English debut last September and scored his first goals against Iceland in the Nations League in November.
– Pedri –
In the footsteps of people like Juan Carlos Valeron, David Silva and Pedro Rodriguez before him, Pedri is the youngest star to emerge from the Canary Islands and break into the Spanish setup.
The lightweight 18-year-old midfielder with silky touch, who hails from Tenerife, joined Barcelona from Las Palmas last year.
When he was growing up, he modeled on Andres Iniesta and he wasted little time settling in Camp Nou and playing in Barca in La Liga, except for one, in the just concluded season. He made his World Cup qualifier against Greece in March in Spain.
– Jamal Musiala –
The 18-year-old midfielder from Bayern, Munich and Germany, was born in Stuttgart, but he could have performed in the Euro series for England.
His father is British-Nigerian and he moved to England with his family of seven years. He also represented Germany and England at youth level.
“I have a heart for Germany and a heart for England,” he told The Athletic earlier this year.
However, he left the Chelsea academy’s setup to join Bayern in 2019 and committed his international future to Germany in February, just before signing a new five-year deal at his club. Shortly afterwards, he made his full debut in Germany in a qualifying World Cup tournament against Iceland.
– Matthijs de Ligt –
The center-back De Ligt is still only 21, but his importance for the Netherlands cannot be underestimated, especially with the fact that Virgil van Dijk has been excluded outside the Euro. This explains the concern about his fitness when he apparently suffered a groin injury over the weekend.
The Dutch coach, Frank de Boer, needs De Ligt, who appointed Ajax as head of the Champions League at the age of 19. , the amount is initially 75 million euros ($ 84.2 million).
A symbol of the new Dutch generation after the Orange missed the Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup, De Ligt made his full international debut as a 17-year-old.
– Jeremy Doku –
The Belgian group is full of established stars these days, but amid concerns over the fitness of Kevin De Bruyne and the form of Eden Hazard, Doku could play a significant role for Roberto Martinez’s team.
The wing, who has just turned 19, broke through at Anderlecht and made his full debut in Belgium last September, just before Rennes paid a club record of 26 million euros ($ 31.6 million). Doku needed time to adjust to his new environment, but ended the season strongly in France and could be a threat on both sides.
– Joao Felix –
Felix, 21, became one of the five most expensive players in history when he was still a teenager after Atletico Madrid agreed to pay 126 million euros ($ 142 million) to sign him from Benfica in 2019.
Able to play on one of the flanks or through the middle in attack, Felix broke through at Benfica and did not try Atletico to win La Liga. He is also a symbol of the new Portuguese generation that will support Cristiano Ronaldo during this Euro, as Fernando Santos’ team defends the title they won in 2016 in France.