Players to look out for at the U-21 Euros


The UEFA under-21 Euros has officially kicked off, with the group stages now underway. With this edition of the tournament being hosted in Italy and San Marino, the games have often provided fans and clubs alike the chance to see Europe’s premier up and coming talent.

Luka Jovic:

One of the newest additions to Real Madrid this summer, 21-year-old Serbian striker Luka Jovic exploded onto the scene in the Bundesliga this season. Playing for Eintracht Frankfurt on-loan from Benfica, Jovic had a stellar breakout campaign for the German outfit, scoring 17 league goals.

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Averaging just under four shots per 90, Jovic has shown his eye for goal across the Bundesliga and in the Europa League. A predatory striker, his finishing this season has shown he is capable of finishing with either foot and his head comfortably. The forward averaged a better minutes per goal ratio than Robert Lewandowski in the league last season, he also scored a goal every 95 minutes in the Europa League, a competition in which he scored 10.

He is capable of creativity too, with seven assists in all competitions and an average of one key pass per 90 in the league. Paired with former Benfica team-mate Andrija Zivkovic, Serbia may have one of Europe’s best young scorers on their hands.

Dani Ceballos:

Spain have often been blessed by a strong and consistent production of talent throughout recent years and this current crop is no different. Among the current line-up, Dani Ceballos is perhaps the name that truly stands out amongst the rest. Already a victor at the at the Euros with Spain’s U-19’s in 2015 and the U-21’s in 2017, as well as being named the Golden Player of the U-21 competition in 2017 – Ceballos has shown immense potential since he emerged at Real Betis.

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Having since signed for Real Madrid two years ago, Ceballos has seen his minutes limited in the Spanish capital, however, his time at Betis certainly showed the promise the Spaniard has.

A gifted midfielder when the ball is at his feet, in the 16/17 season, Ceballos ranked third in La Liga behind only Lionel Messi and Neymar for take-on’s completed. That season, he averaged nearly three dribbles per 90, was fouled nearly four times per 90 and played over one key pass per game. He already has the experience of winning with his national team, something that could prove vital for Spain as they look to retain their crown.

Ceballos scored an incredible long range goal against Italy in the opening game of the tournament where he also completed five dribbles. With an already impressive start, Ceballos could very well carry his side to glory once again.

Federico Chiesa:

Fiorentina and Italy star Federico Chiesa is rapidly ascending in European football. The 21-year-old has caught the eyes of the European elite this season, with 14 goals and three assists in all competitions for club and country this season, he will be one to watch during the competition.

The Fiorentina winger is quite the all action player on his flank. Capable of chipping in with goal contributions, he is also very much a consistent threat with his persistent, high output style.

Chiesa is a fantastic dribbler, having completed three in his appearance against Spain in Italy’s opener, his output for club is similarly impressive. Completing an average of two dribbles and a key pass per 90 in Serie A this season, he has also shown he’s willingness to work for the team in defence too. Against Spain the wide-man made a massive five tackles, even for club, he’s averaging 1.2 per game in the Italian top flight – whilst it’s less than he made against Spain, his hard-working nature is present for all to see.

With a strong showing against Spain, where he scored two goals as his side won in dramatic fashion, Chiesa could very well go onto lead Italy to the trophy.

Jonathan Tah:

Despite the fact that he is in-fact one of the older players at the tournament at 23-years-old, Bayer Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah has been on the European stage for some time now. Tah has regularly featured for Leverkusen for nearly three seasons now and has seen his reputation grow year on year.

A capable defender, Tah has shown this season in his 33 appearances for Leverkusen that he is a capable operator with the ball at his feet. The German in his opening game at the tournament completed 67 passes at 89% – this has been a consistent figure throughout his season for club.

In the Bundesliga, he has averaged 75 passes per 90 at a completion rate of 89%. Paired with his four clearances, 1.3 tackles and 1.4 interceptions as well as being dribbled past just 0.5 times per 90, Tah showcases that he is a calm and composed figure, emphasised by the fact he commits less than one foul a game.

Considering the depth in Germany’s side, having a calm presence in Tah at the back could be key for them when chasing the trophy.

Phil Foden:

Manchester City academy product Phil Foden is the latest exciting talent to emerge from the Premier League champions. Whilst not quite as heralded as former City player Jadon Sancho, Foden has impressed when given the chance this season. The Englishman has played a part in seasons domestic treble, particularly enjoying his chances in the cup competitions, scoring 5 goals in 6 appearances in the Carabao and FA Cup.

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The excitement around the young Englishman is understandable given how he improves each time he is given the chance. Scoring in the Champions League, in the cups and playing with exciting ability in the process, Foden is a direct player and enjoys running at defences.

Possessing good pace, ball control, the Stockport native is also comfortable playing the ball as he completed 86% of his passes in the Premier League last season. Named played of the tournament in England’s winning Under-17 World Cup campaign in 2017, Foden has shown he has the capability to grow and play at the highest level and could be a key man for England’s hopes of success at the U-21 Euros.


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