The European Under-21 Championship is a fantastic opportunity for the nations of Europe to showcase their star international prospects.

These tournaments have seen such great players as Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and Frank Lampard showcase their talents.

On Wednesday 5 June, the tournament will be underway again and England will consider themselves to have a fighting chance of winning it this year.

The Premier League has seen an influx of young, English talent this year; in fact, of the 23-man squad, more than half played in England's top division this season.

Some of these players are considered established Premier League footballers.

Here are three players that have showed their quality this season, and could be vital to England in the forthcoming championships.

Steven Caulker | Tottenham

After three very successful loan spells at Yeovil, Bristol City and Swansea, Steven Caulker finally managed to work his way into the Tottenham first-team this season.

His first Premier League season was with Swansea. In 2011/12 he played a vital part in helping Swansea to a mid-table finish in what many expected would be a short stay for the winners of the 2011 Championship play-off final.

This season in the Premier League he has established himself as a figure in an already very strong Spurs defence. After impressing in the Europa League, he made his first league start for the club against Manchester United at Old Trafford - a daunting task for a young defender.

The Tottenham side ended their 23-year winless run at Old Trafford with a 3-2 victory and, after the match, William Gallas stated that he believed Caulker would go on to be one of the best defenders in Europe.

Caulker hasn't looked back since. His strength in the tackle and impressive pace mean that he can perform at the highest level and, on top of that, he is not afraid to go forward and play football.

This season he scored twice in the league and recorded two assists. He will surely be important in England's under-21 campaign.

Jordan Henderson | Liverpool

Jordan Henderson's first season at Liverpool, after his big money move from Sunderland, could be described as uninspiring. Some would argue that the pressure was on after the substantial transfer fee that he commanded and that the young lad needed time to settle into an environment that demanded a lot more from him than was previously the case. His second season provided much more reason for joy.

Henderson has established himself as a regular first team player along the technically excellent likes of Steven Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho in Liverpool's midfield.

Perhaps his finest moment came in the 6-0 thrashing of Newcastle at St. James' Park. Henderson's movement was excellent and his passing superb, constantly cutting through Newcastle's defence in a performance that saw him score two and assist one, with an outstanding pass completion rate of 95%.

On top of this, his work rate has improved drastically, his movement in the centre is both disciplined and effective, he is a player you can count on to perform at 100% for the full 90 minutes.

Something that will be important in England Under-21's attempt to win the European Championship this summer.

Wilfried Zaha | Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson's last ever signing for Manchester United, Wilfried Zaha has been perhaps the Championship's most effective player this season.

He played in nearly every single league match for Crystal Palace in the Championship, scoring eight goals and creating eight assists. The most important of these goals, however, were undoubtedly the two that he scored against Brighton in the play-off semi-finals, sending Palace to Wembley on the back of a 2-0 win.

Named in the Championship Team of the Year, Zaha has no lack for talent. This season he has skipped between countless defenders and embarrassed many with his quick footwork.

He darts past challenges with an ease that is almost frightening. It is this speed and skill that Ferguson saw in him and that could prove to be invaluable at the Under-21 European Championships.

 

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Topics:
#Internationals
#Football
#Stuart Pearce
#Jordan Henderson