Despite being drawn into arguably the easiest group of Euro 2016, few pundits seem to rate Portugal’s chances of success highly.
Drawn in Group F alongside Austria, Hungary and Iceland, Portugal are expected to ease their way into the group stages at the very least in France.
However, there have been question marks over how well they can do past that stage, given the fact most of their success will rely on how well Cristiano Ronaldo performs.
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Despite Ronaldo being the poster boy of Portuguese football, they do boast some talented youngsters who could make a name for themselves this summer.
Here are four youngsters who could help Ronaldo and Portugal lift their country’s first ever international trophy.
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With his name continuously echoing throughout Old Trafford’s halls, Manchester United fans should keep a close eye on Gomes during the Euros.
Despite his club’s tumultuous campaign, the Valencia star can look back on a successful season in terms of his individual displays.
Since moving to Spain from Benfica in 2014, he has featured in 78 games for Los Che, scoring eight in the process. After representing his nation at youth level, the midfielder’s full international debut came when Portugal suffered an embarrassing 1-0 home defeat against Albania almost two years ago.
Gomes embodies the modern midfielder perfectly, and his diverse attributes allow him to operate in various roles across the middle of the park.
His excellent dribbling skills, delicious long shots, and gracious technique provide him with the necessary ammunition to constantly pose as a major threat to opposition.
Furthermore, he also puts in a shift at the other end of the pitch thanks to his admirable work-rate and stamina.
Joao Mario’s retired compatriot, Paulo Futre, recently declared he was a natural replacement for Andres Iniesta at Barcelona. Despite Futre’s words being slightly far-fetched, the midfielder does share a few similarities with the Spanish legend.
Passing, technique, and vision are all key aspects of his game, whilst his composure and concentration brings balance to a relatively inexperienced Portuguese midfield. The stage is set for the 22-year-old to take the tournament by storm.
Mario’s genius undoubtedly contributed to Sporting Lisbon earning an honourable second
place in the Primeira Liga this season.
It’s clear the Alvalade Stadium won’t be able to witness his brilliance for much longer, however, the maestro’s next destination remains unknown.
Were Bernardo Silva and Danny not ruled out of the tournament, Silva may not have made the cut. However, he was part of the 23-man list that made the trip to Brazil in 2014 and remained an unused substitute.
Despite this, you shouldn't be fooled, the right-footed winger has bags of talent.
Gifted with devastating pace and insane trickery, Silva mainly operates on the left wing and relishes in carving defences open by cutting inside on his favoured foot.
Currently plying his trade with Braga, the 23-year-old reached the impressive haul of eight league goals this term, and also displayed his tremendous skills on several occasions in the Europa League.
Unfortunately, Silva could be restricted to a few cameos in France, meaning fans might not be able to assess his real value.
Last but not least, Renato Sanches is the only teenager to feature in Fernando Santos’ selection.
Despite having continuously flirted with Manchester United, the wonder-kid recently earned himself a big-money move to German giants Bayern Munich.
Still only 18, both his physical and mental ability are already integral parts of his game. As a box-to-box midfielder, he impressively combines pace, strength, and stamina, whilst his aggression and determination turn him into a difficult adversary to beat.
Furthermore, his fantastic technique and dangerous long shots make him one of the most complete teenagers in the world.
Sanches obviously still has a couple of rough edges to polish, like his finishing and positioning for instance. However, should Carlo Ancelotti be able to eradicate these imperfections, the teenager could become a truly unique player for Bayern and his country.
How far can Portugal go this summer at Euro 2016? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!
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