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With the domestic season now behind us, attention quickly switches to the Euros this summer and it’s not long before things get underway with Turkey and Italy kicking things off on June 11.
Having been postponed for 12 months due to the global pandemic, there is a great deal of excitement for the tournament to get underway as each country’s shoulders already begin to weigh heavy with the expectations of their fans.
We’re all hoping Southgate and his players can bring football home come July but regardless of that, we’re equally excited to see so many exciting young stars on show throughout the tournament.
We’re all so pumped for this to get started, and these six players are fully expected to get the blood pumping further over the month or so…
The 21-year-old has enjoyed a very productive season in La Liga for Real Sociedad, with 17 goals and two assists in 34 outings, and he’ll be desperate to keep that momentum going as rumours emerge of a potential return to Borussia Dortmund this summer.
If Erling Haaland leaves BVB then Isak could be the favourite to return and lead the line in his absence, but he’ll need to have a strong Euro 2020 campaign with Sweden in order to convince the decision makers that he’s capable of doing so.
Sweden should be confident of getting out of Group E, with Poland, Slovakia and Spain standing in their way, and we fully expect Isak to be at the forefront of their route to the latter stages of the tournament.
England are blessed with young talent at the moment, especially in midfield, but there isn’t one who is more exciting than Phil Foden.
The 21-year-old was a vital member of Pep Guardiola’s impressive City side in 2020/2021 as they wrapped up the Premier League title with relative ease.
This will be his first major tournament for England and have emerged as one of England’s best young superstars over the last year or two, there is so much hope that he can play a significant role for Gareth Southgate this summer, despite the stiff competition he’s up against in a very talented England squad
As fans and pundits alike continue to compare him to the likes of Paul Gascoigne, Foden clearly has a huge future ahead of him and this his chance to show the rest of Europe what he’s all about.
Portugal face the group of death this summer, with France, Germany and Hungary also in Group F, so Joao Felix will have to be as good as we all know he is if they’re to wriggle their way out of what is a daunting route towards the knock-out stages.
Tipped as a future Ballon d’Or winner, all eyes will be on Felix this summer to see if he can produce for his country at a major tournament. Expectations are high after Atletico Madrid paid Benfica €126m for his services in 2019 but he put in a number of impressive performances in La Liga to help them lift the title in 2020/2021, which will no doubt give him confidence to carry that form into the Euros.
He has drawn several comparisons with some of the world’s best players, like Kaka, Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi, so this summer is huge for him if he’s going to live up to such high praise. If he can find himself in deep and dangerous positions in the opposition box, then you can be sure he’ll be amongst the goals for Portugal, too.
Goran Pandev and Gjanni Alioski will probably be the only North Macedonians people will recognise at this summer’s tournament but, by the end of it, we expect Napoli’s Elif Elmas to have raised his own profile amongst fans across the continent.
The 21-year-old joined Napoli from Fenerbahce for £14.5m in July 2019 and hasn’t looked back since, making over 50 Serie A appearances and scoring three goals from central midfield.
Even at such a young age, Elmas is a bit of hero amongst the country’s fans having scored a later winner in North Macedonia’s 2-1 World Cup qualifier win over Germany in March and, with 26 caps under his belt, he’s already an established international.
If Elmas can enjoy a quality summer in a tournament North Macedonia aren’t expected to do much in, then we think it won’t be long before Europe’s big boys come calling for one of Europe’s most impressive, yet underrated, performers.
The 23-yeard-old has enjoyed an industrious Serie A campaign with Sassuolo, returning four goals and three assists in 34 league outings – the best season of his career to date.
His form over the last two years for Neroverdi, since his £12m switch from AC Milan, has deservedly caught the attention of European powerhouses such as Man City and Juventus, who have both been credited with an interest in signing the defensive midfielder this summer.
With nine caps to his name so far, Locatelli is beginning to rubber-stamp his place in the Azzurri midfield and has been earmarked as one of the best emerging world class talents in European football right now.
His performance levels this summer will no doubt be under the watchful eye of some of Europe’s biggest clubs, so expect the youngster to be on his game throughout.
If you don’t know about Kylian Mbappe by now, then are you even a football fan?
Widely considered to be one of the best players in the land right now, despite still only being 22-years-old, Mbappe announced himself on the world’s stage three years ago, when he became the youngest French player to score at a World Cup and the second ever teenager to score in a World Cup final, after Pele.
This term he’s bagged 27 Ligue 1 goals and seven assists for PSG and he’ll be at the forefront of whatever France achieve over the summer – with a desire to add to his World Cup triumph in 2018 with Euros glory, Mbappe is fully expected to not only protect his own reputation as one of the world’s best but also be the main man for Didier Deschamps’ side.