The Uefa U21 European Championship is a prestigious tournament that is often a conveyer belt for some of the top talent across the continent. At the end of the tournament the Golden Player award is handed out to the stand out performer with illustrious names on the list include Luis Figo and Fabio Cannavaro. Midfield enforcer William Carvalho (Portugal) was the latest winner of the award as he claimed it during the 2015 Championship, as his side were defeated in the final on penalties to Sweden.
With the action kicking off today as England take on holders in Sweden and hosts Poland entertain Slovakia, here at Sideline View we profile 5 potential talents that could announce themselves on the European stage.
- Mohamed Dahoud (Germany)
Dahoud’s performances in the Bundesliga over the last 2 seasons with Borussia Monchengladbach has resulted in him putting pen to paper for Borussia Dortmund and has put to be report interest from both Chelsea and Liverpool.
Dahoud has played over 60 first team games before the age of 21 and he is a versatile midfield. He can operate as a playmaker and a box to box midfield and will be valuable for the Germans as they look to win back the crown they won back in 2009 with the crop of Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira and Manuel Neuer leading the side.
- Renato Sanches (Portugal)
Perhaps one of the more well-known names at the tournament, Sanches burst onto the scene with his boyhood club Benfica before sealing a reported £27.5 million move to Bayern Munich. The midfielder has senior experience already as he played a part in Portugal’s surprise triumph last summer in France as they clinched the European Championship.
However, things have not gone to plan this year for Sanches as he has struggled to break into the Bayern midfield, but he has the potential to light this tournament and remind Carlo Ancelotti that he is the man to replace the retiring Xabi Alonso.
- Tammy Abraham (England)
Abraham enjoyed a brilliant campaign on loan at Bristol City bagging an impressive 26 goals in 48 appearances. The breakthrough campaign has resulted in interest from newly promoted Premier League clubs, with both Newcastle and Brighton keen on securing his signature.
It looks as if the striker will lead the line for the three lions as they look to continue England’s winning run this summer as the U20’s have already won the Fifa World Cup defeating Venezuela 1-0 in the final.
- Marco Asensio (Spain)
My own tip for player of the tournament, Real Madrid wonder kid Marco Asensio will look to continue his fine form as he scored the final goal in Madrid’s 4-1 victory in the Champions League against Juventus. He made a total of 37 appearances for Madrid this season bagging an impressive 9 goals in all competitions. As a result, he looks to be the main man for Spain this time around as they look to win the title they last lifted in 2013.
- Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy)
The man that looks destined to fill Gianluigi Buffon’s boots in the near future as Italy’s number one goalkeeper will feature for the U21 side, despite being only 18 years old. However, age is only a number in Donnarumma’s case as he has made over 70 first team appearances for AC Milan since bursting onto the scene at just 16.
With reports circulating that he has rejected a new deal at AC Milan, he may say this tournament as a chance to enhance his already fantastic reputation as reliable number one.
No doubt the giants of Europe will be watching but the question is who will lead their country to glory in Poland in 2017?