The Euro 2020 finals are fast approaching. This edition of the tournament is truly using the length and breadth of Europe, with matches taking place from Bilbao to Baku and St Petersburg to Rome.
But what about the young players who could light up the Euros? Here is a list of four to keep an eye on during the finals.
Myron Boadu (Netherlands)
Netherlands national boss Ronald Koeman has taken the you’re-old-enough-if-you’re-good-enough approach to his tenure with the Dutchman. AZ Alkmaar’s teenage striker Myron Boadu made a goalscoring debut for his country against Estonia and could easily force his way into the Euro 2020 squad.
Siding with youth is nothing new for the Dutch but, aged just 19, he is at the top of the Eredivisie goal charts. Boadu has inspired Alkmaar to wins over the Netherlands’ big three clubs – Feyenoord, PSV Eindhoven and Ajax – and scored goals in the Europa League in a real breakthrough campaign.
Group C at the Euro finals is a kind draw for the Dutch and, given their resurgence under Koeman, they are 13/2 in the latest football betting on the tournament with William Hill. Boadu could well have a part to play.
Kai Havertz (Germany)
The Bundesliga remains a hotbed of young talent. We could just as easily have spotlighted plenty of others, but Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz is set to be involved with a new-look Germany trying to erase memories of their dismal defence of the World Cup in Russia in 2018.
Havertz hasn’t been as prolific for his club this season as last, yet he’s only 20. He has also been asked to play a slightly different role at Leverkusen at times.
All-action performances have led Havertz to be described as being everything from the next Mesut Ozil to Michael Ballack and even current Germany national teammate Toni Kroos. He is a great all-round midfield talent.
Dejan Kulusevski (Sweden)
Let’s face it, Sweden probably aren’t going to win Euro 2020 as the bookies make them 100/1 outsiders to lift the trophy. They aren’t in the tournament simply to make up the numbers though, and attacking player Dejan Kulusevski has great potential.
Juventus have already been mightily impressed by what they’ve seen from him on loan at Parma in Serie A this season. The Old Lady have bought Kulusevski’s contract from Atalanta in the winter window, thus becoming his parent club.
Being a young player in the Italian league is never easy, but this one has proven tactically astute. Kulusevski has also made his senior debut for Sweden, so can be hopeful of some Euros action in Group E.
Dani Olmo (Spain)
Former Barcelona academy player Dani Olmo has made some very brave choices in his football career so far, but they seem to be paying off. Leaving Spain for a surprise switch to Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb saw him break into first-team action away from the glare and pressures of the Nou Camp.
After playing in a relatively obscure part of Europe – all the best footballers from Croatia move abroad – he is now in the Bundesliga with RB Leipzig and chasing the title. Olmo also made a goalscoring debut for Spain, albeit in a 7-0 rout of Malta.
Having played at the Under-21 Euros last summer and helped Spain’s youngsters win that tournament, he will be looking to graduate into the senior setup. The Leipzig switch should help him stay in Luis Enrique’s plans.