As tournament kicked off yesterday night we bring you a list of five young stars who could dazzle at the extravaganza in France…
1. Renato Sanches
The young Portuguese midfielder burst on the scene last season for Benfica. In 24 senior appearances he has scored two goals providing noteworthy performances along the way. Sanches made his international debut for Portugal in March this year and at only 18 years of age he is the youngest Portuguese player to be selected for an international tournament. The midfielder’s exploits have not only thrust him into the international limelight but also attracted the interest of some of Europe’s biggest clubs including Manchester United amongst others.
The German champions snapped up Benfica’s 18-year-old midfield starlet Sanches for a €35 million fee ( Picture Courtesy -DailyMail)
The youngster has recently sealed a big money move to Bavarian giants Bayern Munich and will be plying his trade at Allianz Arena from next campaign. But, first the schemer will be a key part of Portugal’s charge at Euro 2016.
2. Dele Alli
The Englishman who came through the ranks at MK Dons joined Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur some 18 months ago. Alli has had an instant impact in the English top flight racking up 10 goals and 9 assists in 33 league appearances for the North Londoners. Dele Alli also won PFA Young Player of the Year 2015-16.His eye-catching displays have seen him become an England regular and have also earned him a place on the plane to France.
Dele Alli is one the best performer for Three Lions in pre tournament friendlies ( Picture Courtesy -DailyMail)
The midfield ace’s pace and directness combined with his intelligence in the final third and the ability to run at defenders means he will be one of the main protagonists for the Three Lions as they bid to win a first major international crown since 1964.
3. Anthony Martial
The Frenchman’s £36m move from Monaco to Manchester United in the summer of 2015 raised many eyebrows. However, the plucky youngster has acquited himself remarkably well in his first season in England netting 17 times in 49 appearances for the Red Devils. Martial’s physical attributes and his pace combine well with his lethal finishing making him a rounded and versatile asset suitable to all gamelpans.
Manchester United striker Anthony Martial has won the 2015 Golden Boy award for Europe’s best young player. ( Picture Courtesy -Manchester United)
His exploits mean the forward will be a marked man for Les Bleus’ opponents this summer. Moreover, with Karim Benzema suspend and the likes of Olivier Giroud and Alexandre Lacazette misfiring, Martial could prove to be France’s main man as Didier Deschamps’ side look to become champions of Europe on home soil.
4. Breel Embolo
The Swiss striker has impressed in his time with FC Basel netting 30 goals in 86 caps for RotBlau. The bulky forward has earned a reputation for putting himself about and despite his size he’s nibble on his feet too. His performances have earned the attention of some of Europe’s biggest clubs and Euro 2016 could prove the perfect shop window for the teenager who is keen to be on the move this summer.
Big European clubs like Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool have shown interest in the young prodigy.( Picture Courtesy -www.watson.ch)
It is only poignant than that he along with midfield magician Xhedran Shaqiri, who impressed for Stoke City last season will hold the key to Switzerland’s fortunes at the mega event.
5. Hakan Çalhanoglu
The Turkish international has sparkled for Bundesliga sides Hamburg and Bayer Leverkusen and looks primed for the European big stage. The midfield ace who has an eye for goal will be hoping to impress at Euro 2016 to further his career. A player with flair and the courage to try to and unlock a defence, he is also an absolute artist with the dead ball. Hakan is one of the most talented free kick specialists in the game today.
Çalhanoğlu has a total of 11 Bundesliga direct free kick goals.
Çalhanoglu who is the creative linchpin for both club and country is already an established member of the national side having scored six times in his 18 caps.
Editorial by Khel Now-Content Editor Mrunal Nakashe. A sports buff, he’s also a foreign policy enthusiast and keen North Korea watcher. Mrunal loves gaming, reading, traveling and is a self-confessed Football Manager addict. You can follow him on Twitter.