Ten young Euro 2024 stars to watch — from Florian Wirtz to Lamine Yamal | Football

Europe’s young talent will be on display at Euro 2024 (Picture: Getty)

Euro 2024 will be an opportunity for some of the finest young players in Europe to announce themselves to a global audience.

The likes of England superstars Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham will dominate the news later this year, but a collection of the continent’s biggest starlets could steal the show and spark huge transfer tussles at the end of the four weeks in Germany.

Metro.co.uk previews ten players to watch out for at this summer’s European Championships, which get underway from June 14.

Xavi Simons (Netherlands, 20)

Xavi Simons playing for the Netherlands

The Netherlands have a real star on their hands (Picture: Getty)

Arguably the best young player the Dutch have produced for years, Simons has already established himself as one of the finest attacking players of his age group in Europe.

On loan at RB Leipzig from PSG, Simons is genuinenly capable of playing anywhere across the midfield and in the forward areas.

Simons, who made one appearance at the World Cup, could fire the Netherlands to a deep run at Euro 2024 if he can recreate his mesmerising club form for his country.

Florian Wirtz (Germany, 20)

Florian Wirtz playing for Germany

The German national team will be built around Wirtz for years to come (Picture: Getty)

Wirtz is the biggest young star in the Bundesliga right now and has been pivotal to Bayer Leverkusen’s incredible title charge under Xabi Alonso this season.

His form for the league leaders will likely spark a huge scramble for his signature next season, with the attacking midfielder set to become one of the superstar names in European football over the next decade.

Wirtz, who missed the last World Cup through injury, will start Euro 2024 as one of the German poster boys and will be vital to the team’s chances of claiming glory on home soil.

António Silva (Portugal, 20)

Antonio Silva playing for Portugal

Silva has already featured at a major tournament for Portugal (Picture: Getty)

Silva is the latest in a long line of huge talents to have emerged from Benfica’s academy, with the classy centre-back long-since established as first choice at the back for the Portuguese giants.

His commanding performances at the heart of defence have seen him linked with several Premier League big boys, with Benfica likely to demand an astronomical fee if they are to part ways with their academy graduate.

Silva was included in Portugal’s squad for the World Cup in 2022, with his appearance in the final group game seeing him become the youngest player to ever represent the country in the tournament.

Warren Zaïre-Emery (France, 17)

Warren Zaïre-Emery playing for France

Zaïre-Emery will be hoping to force his way into Frane’s Euro 2024 plans (Picture: Getty)

Zaïre-Emery has enjoyed a jaw-dropping rise to the PSG first-team and has already established himself as one of the first players on the Parisian teamsheet.

A genuine all-round midfielder, Zaïre-Emery made his France debut at the end of last year, scoring on his debut against Gibraltar to become Les Blues’ third-youngest debutant and second-youngest goalscorer.

Such is the embarrassment of riches available to Didier Deschamps in the middle of the park, it is not absolutely guaranteed that Zaïre-Emery will be included on the plane to Germany – but that is absolutely no testament to his world class potential.

Benjamin Sesko (Slovenia, 20)

Benjamin Sesko playing for Slovenia

England will have to be wary of Sesko at the Euros (Picture: Getty)

Sesko has been compared to Erling Haaland ever since his potential was first unveiled to the world at Salzburg, the Austrian club which the Manchester City star burst onto the scene himself with.

The Leipzig striker, whilst not being quite as quick as Haaland, boasts enviable physical qualities and possesses superb positioning in the penalty area.

Undoubtedly Slovenia’s most-promising outfield player for a generation, England will have to keep close tabs on the starlet when the two sides meet in Group C on June 25.

Kenan Yildiz (Turkey, 18)

Kenan Yildiz playing for Turkey

Yildiz is one of a number of promising Turkish youngsters (Picture: Getty)

Juventus beat off competition from Barcelona to sign Yildiz as a free agent in the summer of 2022 after Bayern Munich were unable to re-sign the player.

Yildiz has enjoyed plenty of gametime at the Italian giants recently and became the club’s youngest foreign goalscorer in Serie A with a strike against Frosinone in December.

Regarded as one of the biggest talents in Italian football, Yildiz was born in Berlin but has elected to represent the country of his parents, with whom he has scored one goal in his three appearances for the national team to date.

Lamine Yamal (Spain, 16)

Lamine Yamal playing for Spain

Yamal has a huge future ahead of him (Picture: Getty)

Yamal looks to be the latest superstar to emerge from the fabled La Masia academy and has already blossomed into one of Barcelona’s most influential players despite his tender age.

The teenage sensation is already the youngest player and scorer in the history of both Barcelona and Spain, and the youngest to ever score for any club in La Liga.

Yamal will celebrate his 17th birthday one day before the Euro 2024 final, and the winger could prove to be a perfect replacement for Gavi, who has been ruled out of the tournament with injury.

Arthur Vermeeren (Belgium, 19)

Arthur Vermeeren playing for Belgium

Vermeeren is a star in the making (Picture: Getty)

Vermeeren burst on to the scene halfway through the 2022/23 season and played an instrumental part in guiding Antwerp to their first league title since 1957.

His playing style has drawn comparisons to the likes of Andreas Iniesta and Andrea Pirlo, and his playmaking abilities make him a potential long-term heir to the great Kevin De Bruyne.

The midfielder is regarded as the biggest diamond of Belgium’s new generation of players, and Red Devils boss Domenico Tedesco will be keen to ensure he gets plenty of gametime between now and the start of the tournament at new club Atletico Madrid, who paid £15m for his services in January.

Arda Güler (Turkey, 19)

Arda Guler playing for Turkey

Güler could be the next big thing at Real Madrid (Picture: Getty)

Güler has endured a torrid time with injury at Real Madrid since completing his move from Fenerbahce for £25m last summer.

But much is expected of the young playmaker, who was handed the number ten shirt at Fenerbahce at the age of just 17 years-old and took Mesut Ozil’s spot in the starting line-up.

Dubbed the ‘Turkish Messi,’ and described by Real Madrid teammate Jude Bellingham as a ‘phenomenon’, Guler will add to his four caps for Turkey at Euro 2024 – so long as he can stay fit.

Johan Bakayoko (Belgium, 20)

Johan Bakayoko playing for Belgium

Bakayoko could be a nightmare for fullbacks at Euro 2024 (Picture: Getty)

Bakayoko has been key for PSV this season, helping the Dutch side to a commanding lead at the top of the Eredivisie table with some electrifying displays on the wing.

The Belgian has been linked with Manchester United and Tottenham in recent months, and he could be the next big thing to depart the Philips Stadion after the likes of Cody Gakpo and Noni Madueke.

Bakayoko already has one goal and two assists to his name since making his Belgium debut last season, and his inclusion in their Euro 2024 squad could be hugely welcome for a team who are arguably beginning to lose some of their stardust.


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