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Dublin: 11°C Friday 26 February 2021

The Magnificent Seven: The best young players at Euro 2012

Some obvious, some not so obvious… We look at the players looking to make their names in Poland and the Ukraine.

1. Christian Eriksen (Denmark and Ajax)

Alongside Mario Gotze of Germany, arguably the best of a lot of young European talent in Poland and the Ukraine.

The playmaker has been setting the Eredivisie alight for two seasons now and, at the age of 20, could come away from this summer as the man most likely to be playing for Barcelona next season.

YouTube Credit: CIRBfootball

2. Alan Dzagoev (Russia and CSKA Moscow)

The top scorer for Russia in qualifying, he has a playing style similar to compatriot Andriy Arshavin. Like the soon-to-be ex-Arsenal schemer he can drift out of games but when he’s good, he is great. Still only 21 but has been around for a while now.

YouTube Credit: KeCyC

3. Kevin Strootman (Netherlands and PSV)

Linked with Manchester United, and with good cause. The 22-year-old combines excellent tackling ability with stamina and an eye for a pass – a young Patrick Vieira, if we were to do that thing where you have to contextualise up and coming footballers.

YouTube Credit: NLTalents

4. Yann M’Vila (France and Rennes)

Is joining Arsenal. Isn’t joining Arsenal. Should be joining Arsenal. M’Vila is a sturdy defensive midfielder who, at 21, has already made 18 appearances for Les Bleus. He’s a tenacious one with excellent passing ability and is likely to provide a solid base to the French midfield for the next 10 years. Will be important this month too… assuming he recovers fully from the injury he picked up yesterday.

YouTube Credit: LumixGoals

5. Mario Gotze (Germany and Borussia Dortmund)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, so it’s an obvious one, especially in the face of some of his lower profile, yet equally promising German brethren, but he is the player that everyone will be waiting to see this summer. Gotze won’t be playing to a shop window this summer and the tournament could be better for it, with the youngster committing to his hometown club a couple of months ago.

YouTube Credit: Sefo1299

6. Sebastian Giovinco (Italy and Parma)

At 25, he might be a little bit old for this list, but he had to be included. Likely to play with Antonio Cassano in a supporting role behind Mario Balotelli. Expect the skilful Giovinco to steal the limelight from his tempestuous partners.

YouTube Credit: SveDeseMilanese

7. Andriy Yarmolenko (Ukraine and Dinamo Kiev)

‘The hopes of a nation’ etc etc. Yarmolenko has taken over from Andriy Shevchenko as the idol of the Ukrainian fans due to his attacking verve and versatility. An attacking midfielder who can also play wide and up front, he’s a dark horse for young player of the tournament.

YouTube credit: byMaryalenko

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