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Europe's wonderkids: Ten young players to watch out for at Euro 2024

Euro 2024
Euro 2024 Copyright Euronews
Copyright Euronews
By Alessio Dell'Anna
Published on
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As Euro 2024 is set to kick off on Friday, we take a closer look at the young players who are expected to set the competition and the transfer window on fire this summer.

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With an unparalleled amount of talent on show, Euros have always provided a breeding ground for new talents as well as an opportunity for the biggest football stars to shine.

From Wayne Rooney in 2004 to Mario Balotelli in 2012 and Renato Sanches in 2016, many wonderkids used the tournament as a platform to burst onto the world football scene and write their names in history.

We take a look at some of the most anticipated names in the 2024 edition.

Rasmus Højlund, 21 — Denmark

For many, the Danish striker has yet to reach his full potential, and the Euros could be his opportunity to explode.

Højlund was Denmark's top scorer in the qualifiers and recently won the FA Cup with Manchester United, boasting as the English team's fastest player. How far will he manage to carry the Danes in the competition?

Manchester United's Rasmus Hojlund celebrates after scoring against Luton Town on February 18 2024
Manchester United's Rasmus Hojlund celebrates after scoring against Luton Town on February 18 2024AP/Ian Walton

Jamal Musiala, 21Germany

Bayern Munich's Musiala is a symbol of Germany's new football generation.

A versatile player who can serve as a winger, midfielder and striker, he became the youngest German player to feature in a major tournament in 2021, and following an unusual trophy-less season at Bayern, he's expected to play with the eye of the tiger with home fans watching on.

Germany's Jamal Musiala plays during the international friendly soccer match between Germany and Greece at the Borussia Park in Moenchengladbach, Germany, Friday, June 7, 2020
Germany's Jamal Musiala plays during the international friendly soccer match between Germany and Greece at the Borussia Park in Moenchengladbach, Germany, Friday, June 7, 2020AP/Martin Meissner

Jude Bellingham, 20 — England

If not now, when? Following the recent Champions League victory, Jude Bellingham has now the incredible opportunity to become the youngest Ballon d'Or Winner in history.

But it will all depend on whether he and his teammates manage to break England's 58-year-long curse in international competitions. Is it finally coming home?

Real Madrid's Jude Bellingham bites his medal walking by the trophy after winning the Champions League final match between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid at Wembley
Real Madrid's Jude Bellingham bites his medal walking by the trophy after winning the Champions League final match between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid at Wembley AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Gavi, 19 - Spain

Spain remains probably the biggest breeding ground for talent in European football.

Despite his young age, Gavi has already played for Spain in the World Cup and won a Liga with Barcelona in 2023.

He's set to be one of the key players in the Red Furies' staggering midfield at Euro 2024.

Spain's Gavi reacts during the Euro 2024 group A qualifying soccer match between Spain and Georgia at Jose Zorrilla Stadium in Valladolid, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023
Spain's Gavi reacts during the Euro 2024 group A qualifying soccer match between Spain and Georgia at Jose Zorrilla Stadium in Valladolid, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023AP/Manu Fernandez

Ryan Gravenberch, 22 — Netherlands

With a mix of physical force and technical skills, the Dutch pivot grew up in the Ajax academy and later went on to play for Bayern Munich and Liverpool, but at times struggled to prove his worth.

The group phase against a tough set of opponents — Poland, France and Austria — is the perfect opportunity to prove detractors wrong.

Netherlands' Ryan Gravenberch, center, and Canada's Stephen Eustaquio, on the pitch on June 6, 2024
Netherlands' Ryan Gravenberch, center, and Canada's Stephen Eustaquio, on the pitch on June 6, 2024AP/Patrick Post

Eduardo Camavinga, 21 — France

Another fresh Champions League winner with Real Madrid, Camavinga, has been proclaimed as the legitimate heir of Clarence Seedorf, thanks to the silky moves on the pitch and the ability to break important games when the whole world is watching.

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The amount and importance of the trophies he's already won is impressive, and France is the perfect team to add a Euro Cup to his already crowded trophy cabinet.

Eduardo Camavinga celebrates the Champions League victory in London, Saturday, June 1, 2024
Eduardo Camavinga celebrates the Champions League victory in London, Saturday, June 1, 2024AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Benjamin Šeško, 21 — Slovenia

Benjamin Šeško has heated up the last Bundesliga season with 14 goals in 31 games for RB Leipzig, leading the club to end transfer speculations and finally extend his contract for another five years.

He is the man who can turn Slovenia into one of the biggest surprises of Euro 2024.

Benjamin Šeško celebrates scoring for RB Leipzig against Werder Bremen in Leipzig on May 11, 2024
Benjamin Šeško celebrates scoring for RB Leipzig against Werder Bremen in Leipzig on May 11, 2024AP/Hendrik Schmidt

Jérémy Doku, 22 — Belgium

The Belgian winger is likely to trouble opponents with his supersonic speed. He won the Premier League and made 29 appearances in his first season at Man City, where he earned significant compliments from Pep Guardiola and Belgian teammate Kevin De Bruyne, who defined him as a "diamond in the rough".

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Belgium's Jeremy Doku controls the ball during the international friendly soccer match between Ireland and Belgium in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, March 23, 2024
Belgium's Jeremy Doku controls the ball during the international friendly soccer match between Ireland and Belgium in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, March 23, 2024AP/Peter Morrison

Pedri, 21 — Spain

Another young gem in the Spanish squad, Pedri is a master of vision and creativity in the midfield. In 2021, he became the youngest player ever to represent Spain at the Euros.

Whether Spain will surpass host Germany this year to become the most successful nation in the competition will largely depend on the Barcelona player's performances.

Pedri celebrates his goal against Northern Ireland on June 8, 2024
Pedri celebrates his goal against Northern Ireland on June 8, 2024AP/Francisco Ubilla

Lamine Yamal, 16 — Spain

Another Barcelona talent, 2007-born Yemal, is set to become the youngest player ever to participate in a Euro championship. Some have already rushed to compare him to another Barcelona legend, Lionel Messi.

Whether he deserves such plaudits or not, Yamal is certainly gifted with excellent chance-creating abilities and killer dribbling moves. He's already worth €90 million and a great Euro 2024 could send his transfer price through the roof.

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Lamine Yamal celebrates scoring against Athletic Bilbao at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao, Spain, on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024
Lamine Yamal celebrates scoring against Athletic Bilbao at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao, Spain, on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024AP/Alvaro Barrientos
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