After all the waiting, Euro 2020 is almost here – and a year’s delay could mean a whole crop of young talent is now ready to shine on one of the biggest international stages of them all.
The European Championships can often see exciting stars suddenly unlock serious world-class pedigree, and Euro 2020 looks to be no different.
With UEFA also relaxing the rules on squad size to allow 26 players per team, we could see even more young talent given a chance at this summer’s tournament.
Here are our seven to shine across the continent as we pick out our top Euro 2020 rising stars…
Euro 2020 Rising Stars | Seven Players To Watch at Euro 2020
Phil Foden – England
The Man City magician has surely forced his way into the heart of Gareth Southgate’s season after a real breakthrough campaign with the Premier League champions.
For all the talk of previous golden generations, England now look they finally boast an abundance of talent in midfield with the game-changing spark required to shade a tight knockout game, and Foden looks the pick of the bunch on current form.
His Champions League performances in 2020/21 mean he’s now a known quantity on the continent, but that won’t make the life of some weary international defences any easier this summer.
Jamal Musiala – Germany
The one who got away?
England’s production line of young talent could have included London-raised Musiala this summer, but the 18-year-old opted to declare for the country of his birth back in February.
It’s a bold decision that means he’s bang in contention to make the cut for the Germany squad this summer and add extra dynamism to Die Mannschaft midfield.
He’s made almost 40 appearance for Bayern Munich this season and already scored in the Champions League.
Next stop, European domination?
João Félix – Portugal
There could be a passing of the torch this summer in the Portugal Euro 2020 squad.
While Portuguese national hero Cristiano Ronaldo has his own redemption mission in mind after a frustrating campaign for Juve and the disappointment of being off the pitch for his nation’s crowning moment at Euro 2016, it’s Felix who looks likely to be the figurehead for Portugal moving forward.
In truth, the 21-year-old has endured a somewhat frustrating campaign despite Atletico Madrid’s ambush of the Big Two in the Spanish Primera, one not helped by Covid and injury-related absences in what has been a stop-start season for the forward.
However, that could mean he’s fired up to prove a point to club manager Diego Simeone once he teams up with his fellow countrymen.
Ryan Gravenberch – Holland
The Netherlands are back at the top table after a long break – and their renewal has been based on blooding young talent like formidable 19-year-old midfielder Gravenberch.
The 6ft 3in Ajax ace is hard to miss in the heart of midfield. With Chelsea and Liverpool among the clubs rumoured to be monitoring his progress, he could be one to watch if given time to shine this summer.
He’s still a relative novice on the international stage having been capped just three times, but the 26-man-squad ruling should see him on the plane, and he’s also just picked up the 2021 Marco Van Basten award – a sign of the regard he’s held in back in his native Netherlands.
Dominik Szoboszlai – Hungary
Long-touted for a move to the Premier League, for now we’ll have to enjoy Szoboszlai’s talents on the European stage after the 20-year-old moved to RB Leipzig from sister club RB Salzburg back in December.
The imposing midfield engine is already a national hero in Hungary having scored the last-minute winner that booked the Magyars’ slot in Euro 2020, but that looks just the start for a midfielder who already seems set for a decade at the top of European football.
With height, pace and a piercing long-range shot on him, he’s got all the tricks in the box to help the Hungarians pull off a potential surprise in this year’s dreaded Group of Death.
Alexander Isak – Sweden
How do you solve a problem like Zlatan?
With Sweden’s talismanic veteran now officially out of this summer’s tournament, all eyes will be on 21-year-old Isak to step up and provide the goals for a Swedish side that could have a fight on their hands in a Group E that looks evenly balanced with the exception of Spain.
The powerful striker is the youngest ever goalscorer for the Sweden national team and has thrived in a Real Sociedad side that have been surprise packages in the Spanish Primera in this campaign.
Dmitri Barinov – Russia
Now, stick with us. Every tournament throws up a wildcard.
We’ve seen plenty of Russian talent seal big moves off the back of impressive displays in international competition, albeit with mixed success long term. Arshavin, Pavyluchenko and Golovin to name a few.
Could the lightly capped Barinov be the next to use this tournament as a springboard?
The Lokomotiv Moscow midfield enforcer has made the cut for the provisional 30-man squad for this summer’s tournament, but if he can make the 26, he could be one to watch after impressing in the Russian Premier League. Now approaching his peak years, he’s an expert at tidying up danger and keeping things simple, a somewhat underrated commodity in a world of xG data and Twitter clips.
Russia are in one of the more intriguing groups when it comes to Euro 2020 predictions, with Belgium, Denmark and even Finland likely to make Group B a tough one to progress from, even with the likely safety net of a third-place finish.
That means calm heads might be needed if games remain tight heading into the closing stages – a role Barisov was made for as he looks to establish himself in the Russian side.
Euro 2020 Best Young Players
- Alexander Isak
- Dmitri Barinov
- Dominik Szoboszlai
- Jamal Musiala
- João Félix
- Phil Foden
- Ryan Gravenberch
Euro 2020 Outright Betting
England expects… but can Gareth Southgate’s side live up to the hype as 103/20 favourites to win this year’s competition.
Perennial heavyweights France (21/4), Germany (73/10), Spain (37/5) and Italy (43/4) are also feared, while holders Portugal could provide the value at 8/1.
Alternatively, could this be the tournament where Belgium finally deliver?
The Red Devils are 59/10 to finally get the best from their golden generation.
Check our latest Euro 2020 outrights as Europe’s biggest stars get ready for a huge summer of football.
Odds correct at time of writing but may be subject to change.