Last Updated: 11/06/17 3:22pm
Ahead of the European Under-21 Championship in Poland this summer, which is live on Sky Sports, we’ve picked out 10 players to keep an eye on during the tournament…
Mahmoud Dahoud (Midfielder)
Country: Germany Club: Borussia Monchengladbach
Born in Syria, Dahoud burst onto the scene with Borussia Monchengladbach in 2015, playing over 60 first-team games before the age of 21.
The all-action Germany international can function as a deep-lying playmaker or box-to-box midfielder, and has been compared to Ilkay Gundogan by the press in his home country.
He was reportedly linked with Chelsea in January, but has agreed a move to Borussia Dortmund this summer, though Sky Sports viewers have an opportunity to see Dahoud for themselves at the U21 Championships. He’ll be a key figure for the Germans as they look to win their second European crown.
Bruno Fernandes (Midfielder)
Country: Portugal Club: Sampdoria
The Portugal captain is among the more experienced in Rui Jorge’s side for the Championships in Poland, but it is in Italy where the 22-year-old has made an impression.
After three impressive years for Udinese between 2013 and 2016, midfielder Fernandes moved to Sampdoria last summer, and shone as they finished 10th in Serie A.
He needs to add some steel to his game before reaching the senior Portugal side, but the nifty middle-man, who plays behind the two strikers at Sampdoria, has a bright future.
Portugal U21 vs Serbia U21
June 17, 2017, 4:50pm
Domenico Berardi (Forward)
Country: Italy Club: Sassuolo
Berardi burst onto the scene with Sassuolo in 2013/14, scoring three hat-tricks in his first Serie A season, including four in a dramatic 4-3 victory over AC Milan.
He has remained loyal to Sassuolo, despite reported interest from elsewhere, and though his goalscoring rate has slowed somewhat, there is still an element of mystery to the 22-year-old.
Capable of playing anywhere across the frontline, Berardi tends to work the wing, and expect to see him in a senior Azzurri shirt before long.
Max Meyer (Forward)
Country: Germany Club: Schalke
Germany will take arguably the strongest squad to the European Championship as they look to win the tournament for the first time since their triumph over England in 2009.
Max Meyer is one of a number of players to have already won a senior cap for the German national side and the Schalke midfielder is expected to be one of the first names on the team sheet in Poland.
Meyer also captained Germany to a silver medal at the Olympic Games in Rio – scoring four goals in the tournament as thet lost on penalties to hosts Brazil in the final.
Liverpool and Tottenham have been reportedly linked with the midfielder, who has admitted there is there is a “50-50” per cent chance he could leave Schalke during the summer window.
Marko Grujic (Midfielder)
Country: Serbia Club: Liverpool
Grujic is the latest name to emerge from Serbia after first breaking into the Red Star Belgrade first team during the 2015-16 campaign.
Grujic scored six goals in 30 appearances as Red Star sauntered to the Serbian SuperLiga title and a £5.1m move to Liverpool followed for the 21-year-old midfielder, dubbed ‘the new Nemanja Matic’.
Grujic’s debut season at Anfield was badly interrupted by a hamstring injury but he has now recovered in time to feature in the European Championship.
Dawid Kownacki (Forward)
Country: Poland Club: Lech Poznan
While host nation Poland may not have the strength in depth that the likes of Spain, Germany and England can call upon, they do have players of genuine quality – most notably Lech Poznan striker Dawid Kownacki.
Kownacki broke into Poznan’s first team at the age of 16 and has since gone on to win the Ekstraklasa, as well as the Polish SuperCup twice, scoring 27 goals in the process. Comparisons have been made between the 20-year-old and Poland’s first-choice striker Robert Lewandowski, who also spent a number of years at Poznan.
Kownacki has already been called up to the senior Poland squad and, although he is yet to win his first cap, many have tipped the youngster to replace Lewandowski once the Bayern Munich striker ends his international career.
Marco Asensio (Midfielder)
Country: Spain Club: Real Madrid
After catching the eye during successive loans at Mallorca and Espanyol, Zinedine Zidane moved quickly to bring Asensio back into the first-team fold at the Bernabeu at the start of the season.
Tasked with ending a five-year wait for the La Liga title, and retaining the Champions League, Zidane’s injury-plagued frontline needed supplementing ahead of a mammoth season competing on all fronts.
Asensio has proven to be an able deputy when his more illustrious team-mates have needed a break, featuring 37 times and scoring nine goals.
Spain U21 vs Macedonia U21
June 17, 2017, 7:40pm
Inaki Williams (Forward)
Country: Spain Club: Athletic Bilbao
Devastatingly quick, spontaneous with a penchant for the spectacular, Inaki Williams forms part of a formidable Spanish attack looking to seal a fifth European Championship.
Like Asensio, Inaki brings valuable senior-squad experience to Albert Celades’ squad, having made his international debut at Euro 2016.
With 24 goals already for his club Athletic Bilbao, the 22-year-old – one of Spain’s older statesman in Poland – will no doubt take the goalscoring mantle up for his nation.
Tammy Abraham (Forward)
Country: England Club: Chelsea
Abraham enjoyed a breakthrough season on loan with Bristol City, netting 26 goals in 48 appearances in all competitions. He finished joint-second in the Championship scoring charts with 23 league goals, a figure made all the more impressive by the fact he was playing for a side that finished 17th in the league.
The 19-year-old made his first U21 appearance in England’s final two qualifying games last year, coming on as a late substitute against Kazakhstan before netting twice in a 5-0 win over Bosnia & Herzegovina.
At 6’4”, he’s able to bring other players into the game with his impressive ability to hold up the ball and link play, while he also has pace to run in behind. A Premier League loan move surely beckons next season, while Antonio Conte has described him as “the future for Chelsea”.
UEFA European Under-21s Championship Football
June 17, 2017, 11:30am
Lewis Baker (Midfielder)
Country: England Club: Chelsea
Another Chelsea loanee, midfielder Baker has spent the last two seasons on loan at Vitesse in Holland, where he’s impressed with 20 goals in 73 appearances.
The 22-year-old was also the top scorer as the Young Lions won last year’s prestigious Toulon Tournament, netting four times in the competition to bring his U21 tally to seven goals in 13 appearances.
Baker is now ready for a return to the Premier League next season, whether that’s with Chelsea or otherwise. An impressive performance in Poland and there’ll be no lack of interest from Britain or abroad.