As everyone is aware, the Euros or indeed any major tournament offers the chance for up and coming young talent to really announce their talent to a huge audience. You hear stories about these players every tournament – just take a look at the World Cup in Brazil. A young James Rodriguez wowed crowds and earned a huge move to Real Madrid and elevated his career to new heights on the basis of a single tournament. Who could be this years stand out youngsters? Here are five potential candidates I see having the potential to really break onto the big time, along with a rating showing the likelihood of this happening.
Breel Embolo – Switzerland
For FIFA lovers, this name may not come as a huge surprise to you. Rated highly in the virtual world at least, the frontman really does appear to have a great deal of potential in his game. Any striker that can combine both pace and power to good effect usually manage to cause a number of issues for the defenders paid to eliminate this threat. Embolo appears to have these traits already at a young age – with his ability already having attracted the attention of top clubs like Wolfsburg, who bid 27 million Euros for the youngster in January. The only potential drawback is his side Switzerland who may not reach the latter stages of the tournament.
BOY WONDER RATING – 2*
Renato Sanches – Portugal
The man who’s already raised a number of eye brows this year following his high profile move to German giants Bayern Munich. Sanches is a very versatile midfield and can be deployed in a range of roles across the midfield – combining attacking flair with energy and work-rate to match. This synergy of abilities has led to Sanches emerging as one of the hottest young talents across Europe. Portugal are however a squad undergoing somewhat of a transition, meaning it may be one tournament too early for Sanches to prove his worth. He’ll be a big threat though, that is for sure.
BOY WONDER RATING – 3*
Harry Kane – England
Although most people already have heard of the Spurs frontman – the Euros may well be the tournament that really lifts Harry Kane to the next level. Having already proved a number of doubters wrong by not falling foul of ‘second season syndrome’ Kane is one of the best upcoming forwards in the world game in my eyes. English fans always love an old fashioned number 9 up top and Kane already appears to be the next one to fit that bill if his performances for club and country so far are to be believed. With a strong Spurs contingent behind him, you already feel this tournament could well be made for Kane to make himself an English legend already at such a tender age.
BOY WONDER RATING – 5*
Lukaku has really made a name for himself already in the English game. His performances this year in a stuttering Everton side have been nothing short of exceptional at times. Having watched him in the game against Bournemouth, it’s very rare for such a young player to have the intelligence and confidence that the big man possesses. Belgium undoubtably dissapointed at the World Cup in Brazil so when you combine the desire to right a few wrongs with the experience and development in Lukaku’s game, I feel this could be a massive tournament for the big Belgian. I’m aware he’s 23, but I feel this is the tournament where he really could prove he deserves the big move he’s been linked with this campaign.
BOY WONDER RATING – 4*
Having already proved a selection of doubters (including myself) wrong following his big money move to the red side of Manchester last year – Martial could well hit the next level on home soil in the Euros. With Karim Benzema ruled out not through injury but through a series of legal misdemeanors – the stage may well be set for Martial to be the main man for the host nation. Under the assumption Mourinho will have huge funds to improve his new United squad, Martial will no doubt be keen to prove his worth to the Special One.
BOY WONDER RATING – 4*