Ten young talents to watch in the Euro 2024 tournament

They are among the most coveted young football talents of their generation. Already key players at their respective clubs, they have been selected to play for their national teams in the Euro 2024 tournament that kicks off Friday in Germany. FRANCE 24 looks at 10 players under 22 who France’s Les Bleus might meet on the pitch.

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They are young, talented and promising. Many of them already play regularly for their national teams. Destined to play leading roles in a few years’ time, these footballers are already playing at a high level and will participate in the Euro 2024 in Germany, where they are likely to shine.

• Arda Guler

Attacking midfielder, 19, Turkey

 

Turkish midfielder Arda Guler (left) duels with Polish player Jakub Kiwior on June 10, 2024.
Turkish midfielder Arda Guler (left) duels with Polish player Jakub Kiwior on June 10, 2024. © Kacper Pempel, Reuters

 

The “Turkish Messi” is hungry for more football after an injury-plagued season at Real Madrid. Recovered in time for the Euro 2024 tournament, the former Fenerbahce jewel showed off his technique and scored six goals in his last seven games for the Merengue.

• Rasmus Hojlund

Striker, 21, Denmark

 

Denmark’s Rasmus Hojlund celebrates scoring a goal against Kazakhstan on March 16, 2023.
Denmark’s Rasmus Hojlund celebrates scoring a goal against Kazakhstan on March 16, 2023. © Pavel Mikheyev, Reuters

 

The expected saviour of Manchester United, where he was transferred for more than €70 million during the summer, Danish prodigy Rasmus Hojlund has yet to display all of his talent. A powerful and opportunistic goalscorer, he will be Denmark’s biggest threat during the Euro tournament.

• Kobbie Mainoo

Midfielder, 19, England

 

English player Kobbie Mainoo is seen in action during a friendly match against Brazil in London on March 23, 2024.
English player Kobbie Mainoo is seen in action during a friendly match against Brazil in London on March 23, 2024. © Alastair Grant, AP

 

Called up to the national team in March after some 30 Premier League matches, the mature Kobbie Mainoo, a revelation and rare bright spot for Manchester United this season, is ready to make a difference in the Euro tournament, which he will probably start on England’s bench.

• Jamal Musiala

Forward, 21, Germany

 

Germany’s Jamal Musiala contends with four Ukrainian defenders in a match in Nuremberg on June 3, 2024.
Germany’s Jamal Musiala contends with four Ukrainian defenders in a match in Nuremberg on June 3, 2024. © Heiko Becker, Reuters

 

He will be the phenomenon to watch for the Mannschaft. Fast, skilful and often decisive in the last 30 metres before the opponent’s goal, the invaluable (and nontransferable) jewel of Bayern Munich will strive to leave behind memories of the 2022 World Cup, where he and his teammates failed to make it out of their group.

• Joao Neves

Midfielder, 19, Portugal

 

Portugal’s Joao Neves plays during a friendly match against Ireland on June 11, 2024.
Portugal’s Joao Neves plays during a friendly match against Ireland on June 11, 2024. © Luis Vieira, AP

 

On the radar of Manchester City and PSG, Joao Neves is considered the most promising player in Portuguese football. Even though the Selecao have a crowded midfield, the little gem of Benfica, which could expect to pay at least €120 million to let him go, could have a great impact for coach Roberto Martinez at the Euro tournament.

Read moreEuro 2024: Who are the favourites?

• Antonio Silva

Centre-back, 20, Portugal

Portugal’s Antonio Silva is seen during the World Cup in Qatar on December 2, 2022.
Portugal’s Antonio Silva is seen during the World Cup in Qatar on December 2, 2022. © Hassan Ammar, AP

Top European clubs dream of António Silva, a pillar of Benfica’s defence who was a part of Portugal’s side during the 2022 World Cup. A solid defender with impressive heading skills, his reputation is likely to climb even higher after the Euro tourney.

• Bart Verbruggen

Goalkeeper, 21, the Netherlands

 

Netherlands goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen dives during a match against France in Amsterdam on October 13, 2023.
Netherlands goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen dives during a match against France in Amsterdam on October 13, 2023. © Kenzo Tribouillard, AFP

 

Having made a habit of world-class saves, Bart Verbruggen will start in goal for the Netherlands after a good first season in the Premier League with Brighton. Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman warned the competition: “If Bart maintains his level, he could be number one for a while.”

• Florian Wirtz

Attacking midfielder, 21, Germany

 

Germany’s Florian Wirtz gestures during a friendly match against Greece at Monchengladbach on June 7, 2024.
Germany’s Florian Wirtz gestures during a friendly match against Greece at Monchengladbach on June 7, 2024. © Martin Meissner, AP

 

He shone in the Bundesliga from start to finish and contributed plenty to the first league title in the history of Bayer Leverkusen. Florian Wirtz is one of the most promising young talents in German football. Known for being effective in front of goal with tallies of 11 scores and 11 assists, he was deservedly voted as Germany’s player of the year.

• Lamine Yamal

Forward, 16, Spain

 

Spanish player Lamine Yamal celebrates scoring a goal against Cyprus on November 16, 2023.
Spanish player Lamine Yamal celebrates scoring a goal against Cyprus on November 16, 2023. © Yiannis Kourtoglou, Reuters

 

At a (very) young age, Lamine Yamal is already an essential player for FC Barcelona. Called up to the national team after an accomplished season (seven goals and eight assists in 50 matches in all competitions), the forward with the devastating dribble could become the youngest player in history to play at the Euro tournament. He will celebrate his 17th birthday the day before the final, set for July 14 in Berlin.

• Kenan Yildiz

Striker, 19, Turkey

 

Turkish player Kenan Yildiz (right) plays during a friendly match against Hungary in Budapest on March 22, 2024.
Turkish player Kenan Yildiz (right) plays during a friendly match against Hungary in Budapest on March 22, 2024. © Denes Erdos, AP

 

Born in Germany, Kenan Yildiz is preparing for a tournament that may feel like it is unfolding on home turf. Powerful and unpredictable, the young Juventus striker, a big fan of club legend Alessandro Del Piero, is the source of insomnia for many defenders in Serie A.

This article has been translated from the original in French.

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