The UEFA Euro 2020 has already witnessed some enthralling performances by young football players who are expected to become household names in the years to come.
As the European Football Championship heads into the knockout phase, here are five exciting young talents who you should keep an eye on in the upcoming matches.
The 18-year-old Spanish international has already shown glimpses as to why he is touted as the next big thing. Pedri has started all three games for La Roja in the group stage of Euro 2020 and he is expected to play an important role in Spain’s round of 16 encounter against Croatia. The Canary Island-born footballer was one of the architects in Spain’s 5-0 hammering of Slovakia in the final group match. Interestingly, Pedri has impressed his FC Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman, so much so that he became the second-youngest player to make 50 appearances for the Catalan giants.
Manuel Locatelli (Italy)
Italy’s Manuel Locatelli has been one of the standout performers in the ongoing edition of the European Football Championship. The 23-year-old had made headlines after he scored twice in Azzurri's 3-0 win against Switzerland in their second group fixture at Euro 2020. The Sassuolo midfielder has been linked with many European giants including Juventus and Arsenal in the summer transfer window. Locatelli will look to put in another strong performance in Italy’s round of 16 clash against Austria.
The 25-year-old wing-back scored the winner in Netherlands’ 3-2 victory against Ukraine in their opening group fixture at Euro 2020. The PSV Eindhoven captain bagged his second goal of the Euros against Austria to help the Dutch secure a 2-0 win and add another three points to their tally. Not just his goals, but Denzel Dumfries has been exceptional in the right back position in the three group games so far. Dumfries will be one of the players to watch out for in the Euro 2020 round of 16.
Alexander Isak (Sweden)
The Swedish footballer has impressed everyone with his skills and footballing brain at Euro 2020. Alexander Isak was adjudged the player of the match after a majestic display that helped Sweden beat Slovakia 1-0 in their second group clash. "Don't think there's much doubt that Alexander Isak will attract a lot of attention from clubs across Europe. Exceptional talent," former England striker Gary Lineker wrote on Twitter. Meanwhile, several big clubs including Real Madrid, Arsenal and Liverpool have already queued up to sign the Real Sociedad forward.
Patrik Schick (Czech Republic)
The Czech Republic forward took social media by storm after he scored one of the all-time great Euro goals against Scotland in a Group D encounter. Patrik Schick scored an outrageous goal from the halfway line mark as the Czech Republic secured a 2–0 victory. According to UEFA, the wonder strike was the longest-recorded goal at the European Championship since 1980 at 49.7 yards (45 meters).
The 25-year-old added another goal to his tally after he converted a penalty against Croatia in their second group fixture. The Czech Republic team will hope that Patrik Schick can put in another brilliant performance against a strong Netherlands outfit in the pre-quarter-finals on Sunday.
Featured photo: Riccardo Antimiani /JOHN THYS /Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / POOL /LEE SMITH / AFP