Five potential Premier League Euro stars

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After Hatem Ben Arfa turned in another fleet-footed performance in Sunday's 2-0 Premier League victory over Liverpool at the Sports Direct Arena, Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew urged France boss Laurent Blanc to take a closer look at the Magpies' winger with a view to picking him for Euro 2012.

Having successfully nursed the 25-year-old Frenchman back from a horrendous double leg fracture last year, Pardew and the Toon Army are now benefiting from the wing wizardry of their attacking midfielder, who has been one of the club's standout performers this season.

"When you have a player who has a special talent, sometimes they look at you as a manager and they want to play," explained Pardew.

"He wasn't fit. He had worked really, really hard, but he wasn't actually match-fit. He was fit, but not match-fit, not really sure of how we played and in the Premier League, the transition of play, where he should be and where he shouldn't be. He has taken on board and he has listened to me and he as listened to my staff and he has been very, very diligent.

"That's why nothing would give me more pleasure than for him to make the French squad, and I think he can. He has got some individual ability that I would be very surprised if France has that in the squad in terms of what he can do to a team. Even if he was to be taken as an impact player, he's got a great opportunity and he is in great shape."

Newcastle currently lie in an impressive sixth place in the Premier League table, and have a realistic chance of qualifying for the Europa League next year. Sitting five points adrift of Arsenal in fourth, some have even gone as far as suggesting that they could have an outside chance of reaching the Champions League.

Ben Arfa has played a major part in Newcastle's resurgence over the past 12 months, alongside midfield compatriot Yohan Cabaye, Cheick Tiote and summer signing Demba Ba. The emergence of Tim Krul and the January acquisition of Papiss Demba Cisse has further reinforced the club's credentials to remain in the higher echelons of the Premier League.

In light of Pardew's comments about Ben Arfa, and in the months leading up to Euro 2012, GiveMeFootball considers four other players who, based on their performances in the Premier League this season, could make an impact in Poland and Ukraine this summer.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Club: Arsenal
Nationality: England
Caps: 0 Goals: 0

After rising to prominence with Southampton in League One during the 2010–11 campaign, the 18-year-old midfielder signed for Arsenal in August 2011.

Scoring twice in his first three games for the Gunners, Oxlade-Chamberlain became the youngest English goalscorer in Champions League history and has also claimed a regular place in the England U21 set-up.

Currently uncapped at senior level, the talented teenager was tipped for inclusion in Stuart Pearce's friendly squad that faced Holland at Wembley last month, so impressive has his impact been in Arsene Wenger's first-team.

Club captain Robin van Persie refers to his teammate as the future of Arsenal and England - could Oxlade-Chamberlain be worth a punt at the Euros this summer?

Juan Mata

Club: Chelsea
Nationality: Spain
Caps: 14 Goals: 4

The 23-year-old attacking midfielder has been one of the few success stories in what has been a disappointing season for Chelsea.

After arriving at Stamford Bridge from Valencia in a £23.5million deal last summer, Mata has turned in a number of scintillating displays.

Known for his creativity, acceleration, speed, versatility, and technical ability, the Spaniard has been likened to compatriot David Silva, and compared at Chelsea to club legend Gianfranco Zola.

Vicente Del Bosque is so blessed with midfield options, that Mata - who has represented his country at every level from U16 to U21 - is not even guaranteed a place in the Spain squad at Euro 2012.

But, after captaining La Roja to glory in the European U21 Championships in Denmark last summer, and later being named player of the tournament, Mata has carried his form into the Premier League and must make the plane come June.

Mario Balotelli
Club: Manchester City
Nationality: Italy
Caps: 6 Goals: 1

The enigmatic striker's off-field activities may have garnered as many headlines as his achievements on it since arriving at Manchester City in August 2010, but there is no disputing Balotelli's potential.

His pace, powerful shot and technical ability, are often forgotten when the Italian is regularly criticised for his petulant attitude.

Balotelli was dropped by international coach Cesare Prandelli for Italy's friendly against the USA back in February, citing his 'agitated behaviour' following a stamp on Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker, that resulted in a four-game ban for the City starlet.

Roberto Mancini's patience have been tested to the limit by the fiery 21-year-old, but with a credible return of 13 goals in the Premier League this season, 'Super Mario' must be considered for a return to the Italian fold ahead of Euro 2012.

James McClean
Club: Sunderland
Nationality: Republic of Ireland
Caps: 1 Goals: 0

After declining a call-up to the Northern Ireland senior squad, the Derry-born midfielder received international clearance from FIFA in February which made him eligible to play for the Republic of Ireland.

McClean only signed for Sunderland in the summer, but has enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence at the Stadium of Light, under the stewardship of Black Cats boss Martin O'Neill.

He made his international debut on February 29, coming on to a standing ovation as he replaced Aiden McGeady in a friendly against the Czech Republic at the Aviva Stadium.

The 22-year-old has made 16 appearances and scored four goals for Sunderland, in an impressive first season in the Premier League. All eyes will be on him to see what impact he can make for Giovanni Trapattoni's side in Poland and Ukraine this summer.

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