Euro 2020 is just two days away from getting underway and excitement is building ahead of the delayed tournament.
The international festival of football will pit some of the world’s best players against one another across a host of the continent’s state-of-the-art arenas, including Wembley, the Stadio Olimpico and the Allianz Arena.
Everyone at the tournament will be looking to impress, but for young players the Euros provides a real opportunity to take their budding reputations to new heights.
Wayne Rooney catapulted himself into the global elite as an 18-year-old at Euro 2004, while Kylian Mbappe’s journey into the footballing stratosphere accelerated rapidly during France’s 2018 World Cup triumph.
With that in mind, GIVEMESPORT have created an XI of the best youngsters under the age of 22 on show this summer.
Goalkeeper: Anatoliy Trubin
Anatoliy Trubin is the youngest goalkeeper at the tournament by three years and qualifies for this position on a technicality.
However, the 19-year-old kept ten clean sheets in 21 games for Dynamo Kiev in the2020/21 season and has already been capped twice by Ukraine.
It remains to be seen whether Andriy Shevchenko will opt for him or Georgiy Bushchan when Ukraine get their campaign under way against the Netherlands on 13 June.
Right-back: Reece James
That Reece James is now a credible threat to Trent Alexander-Arnold’s position in the England squad speaks to how impressive he’s been at Chelsea this season.
The flying full-back starred in Chelsea’s Champions League triumph and could have a big role to play for Gareth Southgate.
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Centre-back: Eric Garcia
Manchester City will be gutted to lose a player of Eric Garcia’s boundless potential to Barcelona.
There is a strong Gerard Pique vibe about the 20-year-old, who oozes composure in possession.
Centre-back: Matthijs de Ligt
The absence of Virgil van Dijk puts Matthijs de Ligt under huge pressure to perform this summer and take on a more senior role within the squad.
A two-time domestic title winner at the age of 21, the Juventus brute has all the tools to thrive in van Dijk’s absence.
Left-back: Nuno Mendes
Nuno Mendes generally plays a bit further forward for Sporting Lisbon but he won all three of his Portugal caps as a left-back.
The 18-year-old may well draw attention from some of Europe’s big hitters if Fernando Santos gives him an opportunity during the tournament.
Centre-defensive-midfield: Ryan Gravenberch
Ryan Gravenberch is a silky yet stern defensive midfielder with the potential to blossom into one of the world’s best.
The Ajax academy product is just 19 years old but has already won four domestic trophies in Holland.
A firm part of the exciting next generation rising from Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, Pedri is valued at a whopping £63m at just 18 years of age.
He made his first three Spain appearances in 2021 and, given he’s drawn comparisons with Andres Iniesta, is certainly one to watch.
Centre-midfield: Jude Bellingham
It’s difficult to fathom that Jude Bellingham is still just 17 years old.
The Borussia Dortmund star has been a revelation in the 2020/21 season, drawing esteemed praise for his displays against Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-final.
There’s no midfielder quite like him in England’s squad but he looks likely to be used as an impact substitute rather than a regular starter.
Right-wing: Dejan Kulusevski
Juventus’ young winger doesn’t rack up a huge number of goal contributions but his work-rate and flair could hold the key to Sweden’s success at Euro 2020.
With a Transfermarkt valuation of £36m, Kulusevski is Sweden’s most valuable player.
Left-wing: Phil Foden
The stage is set for Phil Foden to cap a brilliant domestic season with a series of stellar displays on the international front.
Pep Guardiola has largely deployed him as a left-winger in recent months, to the expense of Raheem Sterling, but he’s capable of performing in any role across the front three or even in central midfield.
Foden was viewed as an up and coming prodigy this time last year.
Now it looks impossible for Southgate to leave him out of the starting XI.
Centre-forward: Kai Havertz
Chelsea’s Champions League final winning hero has stepped up since moving into a central striking position under Thomas Tuchel.
The 21-year-old already has 13 caps for Germany and provided two assists in the final pre-tournament friendly against Latvia on Monday.