In each edition of the world’s most illustrious sporting competition, players that are not quite known worldwide stun the world and put their name in lights.
This year as ever, numerous relatively under-the-radar men will be eyeing summer stardom but who are the picks of the European bunch?
Let’s take a look.
5. Gonçalo Guedes – striker (Portugal)
Spending the campaign on loan at high-flying Valencia in La Liga Santander, the former SL Benfica starlet has proved his potential won’t be wasted any time soon. As a versatile forward, there’ll be plenty of opportunities for him to impress his boss – who incorporated youth well to the 2016 European Championship winning squad. Their tricky group will be full of tight encounters so he might just make the difference.
4. Piotr Zieliński – centre midfielder (Poland)
Despite possibly becoming a Calcio A champion with Napoli this season (in which he has been a fairly regular starter for them), the tenacious and technically gifted play-maker has forced his national manager to change formation in order to accommodate him. It’s probable that he will play in an unorthodox advanced role slightly out wide but if his showings in recent friendlies are anything to go by, he’ll be just fine. Rumours of summer move have circulated around him too, so there’s no doubt his name will be on some people’s lips by the time of the tournament.
3. Emil Forsberg – attacking midfielder (Sweden)
When the infamous RB Leipzig pushed rivals Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga title last campaign, people jumped for the stats and noticed this wizard on the left racked up a whopping 19 assists (the highest in Europe’s top five divisions). He has been linked to Manchester United over the last year or so and it’s well deserved as his teammate Victor Lindelöf and possibly Zlatan Ibrahimović will surely have sold their club to their compatriot. In a team built for his creativity, don’t sleep on the next Swedish genius.
2. Sergej Milinković-Savić – box to box midfielder (Serbia)
If you haven’t heard of the name of this man before know, remember it. Touted as one of Europe’s next elite men, the box-to-box Lazio man has impressed in abundance this season with goals, assists, tackles and more being prominent in his game. It’s been a turbulent time for his country in recent years but now he might just step up alongside Nemanja Matić in the middle of the park.
1. Timo Werner – striker (Germany)
As fairly well-recognised name in his nation by now (due to being another player to make his name at the not even 9 year-old Leipzig), the electric forward needs a big break on the world stage sooner rather than later and Russia could be the place. The formation Joachim Löw usually sets up in is very different to the aforementioned Easy German club’s system but the quality surrounding the speedster means that surely his pressing of the last-man by making vigorous runs style will still be extremely effective whenever teams come onto the reigning champions in the latter stages of the competition. He has already commented on speculation of a move to the Premier League by stating he would prefer to play for Manchester United over Liverpool although he may have more clubs lining up bids if he shows his true quality in the summer.
Do you agree or disagree with these picks? Let us know.
featured image credit thesirenssong.com