🏟 Five young players with a point to prove at Euro 2020
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🏟 Five young players with a point to prove at Euro 2020

Excitement is reaching fever pitch with just two more sleeps until Turkey and Italy kick proceedings off in the eternal city of Rome. 

We've picked out five young players who look primed to produce breakout performances on the big stage.

🇲🇰 Elif Elmas

It's been a staggering year for North Macedonian football and it's possible that things might get even better for the World Number 62 ranked nation. National hero Goran Pandev's strike against Georgia sent the minnows to their first-ever major tournament, and we're just five days away from their big debut. Pandev brings vast experience and know-how to the party, but it's 21-year-old Napoli star Elif Elmas who possesses up-and-coming star quality that any underdog team needs.

Elmas recently scored a winner against Germany, another astonishing landmark moment in itself, and the smart attacking midfielder will be a key figure for a team continuing to break new ground. Austria vs North Macedonia is simply a historic match that cannot be missed.

🇳🇱 Donyell Malen

The Netherlands is famed for its conveyor belt of emerging talent and Orange will yet again be sending a young squad to their first major tournament appearance since the 2014 World Cup. PSV attacker Donyell Malen has been around the block a few times already, having spent two years in the youth setup at Arsenal between 2015 and 2017, and he's still just 22. Malen is a prolific finisher but it's his technical quality and linkup play that really sets him apart from the majority of strikers his age. 19 goals & seven assists from 32 Eredivisie appearances last term is a return that gives you a gauge as to how complete his game is. 

🇫🇷 Marcus Thuram

The 23-year-old Borussia Mönchengladbach wide man comes from rich footballing stock. His father Lilian was a World Cup winner in 1998 and a champion of Europe in 2000, collecting 140 France caps along the way. Marcus has been selected in a Les Bleus squad that is bursting at the teams with attacking talent. 

Quite how much playing time Thuram gets is up for debate, but his pace and directness from the left flank could prove to be a useful weapon for Didier Deschamps' world champions. 

🇮🇹 Alessandro Bastoni

Big things are expected of Italy's next defensive prospect, a man who's thought of as the legendary Giorgio Chiellini's natural successor. 22-year-old Bastoni was a key figure for Inter as they romped to the title, with his cultured and composed approach to defending forming the bedrock of their success. If Roberto Mancini opts for a back four, left-footed Bastoni's playing time may be limited, but it's just a matter of time before a young man of his talent forces his way into the Azzurri fold. 

🇪🇸 Eric García

The controversy surrounding Sergio Ramos' exclusion from the Spain squad isn't likely to die down anytime soon, and one of the major beneficiaries of that decision is Barca new boy Eric García. We didn't get to see nearly enough of the 20-year-old at Man City but he's already got eight Spain caps under his belt and will be determined to fight off competition from Pau Torres for a starting berth in the colours of La Furia Roja this summer. Maybe now is the time for the real Eric García to please stand up. 

If you missed it, check out our piece on teenage talents at Euro 2020 to watch out for over the next few weeks. Just three days to go until Euro 2020 kicks off in Rome. 

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