In every major tournament, there is a batch of young players who burst onto the scene and emerge as stars of the show. Here are eight youngsters who could be breakthrough stars of Euro 2020…


The Northern Echo: Phil Foden scored twice

Phil Foden’s rise to the very top of the world game has been anticipated for some time, and the Manchester City forward has enjoyed a fine season for club and country that culminated in an appearance in the Champions League final.

Still only 20 years of age, he collected a third Premier League winner’s medal last month, scoring 16 goals across all competitions for Pep Guardiola’s side.

He also broke into the senior England squad for the first time, scoring twice in a 4-0 Nations League win over Iceland in November and he could prove to be Gareth Southgate’s joker in the pack if the Three Lions are to progress deep into the tournament.


The Northern Echo:

Joao Felix may not be the most shocking name to make this list, but the tournament could provide a coming-of-age moment for the 21-year-old, who is already reasonably well established as one of Europe’s most exciting young forwards.

He can now add a La Liga title with Atletico Madrid to his Portuguese Primeira Liga winner’s medal and the Nations League crown of 2019, although in a squad as talented as Portugal’s, he can sometimes get lost in the shuffle.

He has three goals from his 16 caps to date, and will have to add to that when given the opportunity if he is to begin to emerge from the shadow cast by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes.


Juventus may have endured a frustrating season as they ceded their Serie A title, but there is no doubt that Dejan Kulusevski emerged as a positive force during the campaign.

The 21-year-old winger scored and assisted in the 2-1 Coppa Italia final win over his former side Atalanta before his place in Sweden’s squad was confirmed.

He has 11 caps to his name and, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic sidelined, Kulusevski is likely to be among those players who the Swedish supporters will gravitate towards – especially if he has a strong showing over the course of the next month.


The Northern Echo:

Another fine product of the fabled Ajax academy, 19-year-old midfielder Ryan Gravenberch will be hoping to make his mark at the Euros.

With two Dutch titles and a 2018 Under-17s World Cup winner’s medal to his name already, the defence-minded teenager made his senior Holland debut in March.

While he may not be in the team for the first game against Ukraine on Sunday evening, he will be there or thereabouts for as long as Holland can go into the tournament and will no doubt benefit from the experience.


Unlike the majority of young talent that breaks into the Barcelona first team, Pedri is not a product of the club’s famed La Masia academy.

The 18-year-old joined from Las Palmas and played in 37 La Liga games in his first season at the Nou Camp.

The midfielder became the second youngest player in Barca history to reach 50 appearances and made the cut for Luis Enrique’s 24-man squad with the hope of getting a chance to impress for his country.


Tournament debutants North Macedonia will be looking to provide some memorable upsets in their first appearance at a major finals.

Elmas will undoubtedly play a big role for the newcomers, much as he did when scoring in a shock 2-1 World Cup qualifying win away to Germany earlier this year.

The 21-year-old midfielder has amassed 80 appearances for Italian side Napoli and was named Macedonian footballer of the year in 2019 – with a strong tournament, his stock will only continue to rise.


The Northern Echo: Billy Gilmour

This has already been a breakthrough season for Billy Gilmour, with the 19-year-old establishing himself in Chelsea’s first team under Thomas Tuchel.

Having been named as the ‘Revelation of the Tournament’ at the 2018 Toulon Tournament with Scotland Under-21s, Gilmour, an all-action central midfielder, earned his first call-up to Steve Clarke’s senior squad in May.

He made his full international debut in a friendly against the Netherlands at the start of this month, and while he might find himself on the bench when Scotland kick off their Euro 2020 campaign against the Czech Republic at Hampden on Monday, it would be no surprise if he was playing a much more prominent role in the team by the time their involvement in the tournament ends.


You don’t get many teenage goalkeepers making an impression at international level, but in 19-year-old Anatloii Trubin, Ukraine boast a youngster who could go on to become one of Europe’s top shot-stoppers.

He heads into the tournament on the back of a hugely-successful season with Shakhtar Donetsk, which saw him replace long-term number one Andriy Pyatov to become his club’s established first-choice keeper.

Ukraine boss Andriy Shevchenko has selected both Trubin and Pyatov for his side’s warm-up matches, and while he might err on the side of caution by selecting the more experienced option for Sunday’s group opener with the Netherlands, the bolder call would be to put his faith in the emerging Trubin.