Eight starlets set to shine at Under-21 European Championship
The Czech Republic is set to host the prestigious Under-21 European Championship this month, with eight different countries hoping that their young guns can inspire them to silverware success in this coveted competition.
Ahead of the international tournament, here are eight young stars that could rise to prominence this summer for this national sides.
Danny Ings – England
Fresh after agreeing a switch to Anfield, after his contracts expires at recently relegated Burnley, in-form Ings will be looking to make an impact for the Three Lions under Gareth Southgate’s guidance (5/1 with Coral to triumph).
The new Liverpool frontman’s 11 Premier League goals this season were unable help the Clarets remain in the top flight, but a move to the Reds will give this determined striker another reason to prove his attacking credentials on a high-profile international stage.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – Denmark
Bayern Munich’s promising playmaker made his senior international debut last year, and enjoyed a successful six-month loan spell with Bundesliga outfit Augsburg this season from the Bavarians.
At the tender age of just 19, Hojbjerg has amazingly already gained two German league medals as well one for the DFB-Pokal, and was part of Munich’s Champions League triumphing squad of 2013, which also went on to lift the FIFA Club World Cup.
This dazzling Dane is sure to be a bright star in the Czech Republic, having struck in the senior team’s Euro 2016 qualifying clash with Armenia last September, and netting on the final day of the Bundesliga campaign in a 3-1 away win which secured a Europa League spot.
Vaclav Kadlec – Czech Republic
Another promising Bundesliga attacker, this time for the host nation, as Prague-born Eintracht Frankfurt forward Kadlec prepares to leave his mark this summer.
The astute teenage attacker spent this season on loan at his former club Sparta Prague, whom he left in 2013 to join the German outfit permanently. Kadlec made history in 2010, on his senior international debut, as he struck to become the youngest goalscorer in Czech Republic national team history.
Max Meyer – Germany
Schalke’s superb attacking midfielder has been a mainstay in Roberto Di Matteo’s side this term, striking six times during 36 appearances in all competitions, including a Champions League goal last December.
At just 19 years of age, Meyer is another sensational talent in the constant German production line, and was a runner-up with his national side at the Under-17 European Championship in 2012. Germany will hope their latest crop of talent can emulate the senior squad’s success and are 2/1 favourites to triumph.
Domenico Berardi – Italy
This highly-regarded 20-year-old Serie A marksman has been in fantastic form this season for Sassuolo, where he was on loan from parent club Juventus, and incredibly has fired home a hat-trick against AC Milan in two consecutive campaigns.
Berardi is definitely one for the future in Turin, with the Italian forward having notched up a sensational 15 goals and provided 10 assists during his time at Sassuolo this term.
William Carvalho – Portugal
Regarded as one of the most promising midfielders in Europe, Sporting Lisbon anchor Carvalho has attracted interest from the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal, with the 23-year-old recently helping guide his club to a domestic cup triumph.
Filip Duricic – Serbia
Having featured several times for the senior Serbia outfit, Duricic will bring a relative deal of experience to his country’s Under-21 squad. Making his Benfica debut in 2013, the potent playmaker netted his first goal for the club in the Champions League.
Although, this season, the former Heerenveen attacker endured two loan stints with Mainz, before joining up with Southampton for the rest of the campaign.
Arber Zeneli – Sweden
The 20-year-old Swede has featured for country at Under-17, Under-19 and now the Under-21s, but is the only player in the squad to have not featured in qualifying for this tournament.
IF Elfsborg’s wing wizard slotted home four goals in 11 Allsvenskan outings this term will bring a great attacking threat with his exceptional turn of pace, with Sweden the big outsiders at 14/1 to secure glory this summer.