Five youngsters who could set Euro 2016 alight

Alex McMahon
2016-06-10
Who'll announce themselves to the world?

RENATO SANCHES (18)

The Portugal international was phenomenal for Benfica last season and his performances were enough to land him a big money move to Bayern Munich last month. According to reports, Manchester United were interested in signing the 18-year-old but he opted for the defending Bundesliga champions and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Sanches feature prominently for Carlo Ancelotti’s men next season.

But before then, Sanches will attempt to lead Portugal to the latter stages of Euro 2016. And while they have failed to make a major impact on the big stage in recent times, Fernando Santos’ new-look side could prosper with the likes of Nani and red-hot Quaresma supporting Sanches and the talismanic Cristiano Ronaldo in attacking areas.

BREEL EMBOLO (19)

Embolo is widely regarded as one of Europe’s hottest young prospects and a number of Premier League sides have been linked with a move for the Swiss star this summer. He is yet to make a positive impact on the international stage but the 19-year-old has showcased his talent on multiple occasions for Basel, scoring 10 goals in 27 league games in the 2015/16 campaign. If anyone is capable of catching the eye, it’s the dangerous Breel Embolo.

The Switzerland man has won three domestic titles in as many years with Basel and his sheer presence alone will be enough to boost morale across Vladimir Petkovic’s squad throughout the competition. Who knows, Embolo could lead Switzerland to the closing stages of the tournament with a bit of luck...

LEROY SANE (20)

Sane may not be the first name on Joachim Loew’s team sheet but he is certainly blessed with immense talent. After scoring eight goals and assisting six more in 33 Bundesliga fixtures last season, the 20-year-old was called up to the national side – and rightly so. On his day, Sane is capable of brilliant things and his flair and trickery on the flanks could give Germany a real threat in wide areas.

The Schalke star is being watched closely by the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Loew use him astutely throughout the tournament. Sane is a top prospect and while he’s incredibly raw, his hunger and desire to win stands him in good stead for the future – both at club and international level.

ALEKSANDR GOLOVIN (20)

Golovin has slipped under the radar in recent times but Europe’s top clubs will all be watching his progress this summer. While Russia may struggle to go far in France, the CSKA Moscow prospect could attract plenty of attention. He has scored two goals in three international appearances for his nation and could be the man tasked with guiding Leonid Slutsky’s men through the group stages.

At just 20 years old, he isn’t the complete article just yet but he does have plenty of potential... and Slutsky knows it. Golovin is a game changer and England will have to be very wary of his talent when they face Russia in their Group B opener on June 11th. After all, he certainly boasts the skillset to cause plenty of problems for Roy Hodgson’s men.

HAKAN CALHANOGLU (22)

Last but not least, Turkey’s free-kick expert Hakan Calhanoglu deserves plenty of respect and all eyes will be on him this summer. While they face a tough ask against Spain and Croatia in Group D, Calhanoglu is part of a much-improved Turkish side that gave an excellent account of themselves in their 2-1 defeat to England last month. And with the 22-year-old in fine form, Turkey could go far this summer.

The Bayer Leverkusen man has been simply sublime this season, netting an impressive 10 goals in 49 games for club and country. Calhanoglu has attracted plenty of attention across Europe and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is a huge fan of the Turkey star. And Calhanoglu knows that a positive tournament could see him se