Top 3 U-23 Players Who Shined At The Euro 2020 Tournament
Usually tournaments like the Euro or Copa América serve for football fans around the world to enjoy the thrills and absolute talent of some of the most important and relevant stars of the sport. And while soccer odds experts usually tend to side with teams who are led by bonafide stars like Kane’s England, Ronaldo’s Portugal and Neuer’s Germany, there are always a few up and coming youngsters who come into these tournaments as novelty acts and leave as future stars in the making.
The Euro 2020 tournament gave us plenty of excitement to go around and with it, as well as a slew of players under the age of 23 that will most certainly be some of the most talked about football stars in years to come for their national teams and professional squads. Here are our top three favorite U-23 players who shined brightly in the Euro 2020 tournament.
Pedri, Midfielder, Spain
To start off right, of course we have to go with a player who should definitely be considered the answer to Spain’s continuous search for Andres Iniesta’s heir to his throne as the best creative midfielder in Spanish football, Barcelona’s 18-year old star, Pedro Gonzalez Lopes, Pedri. His style of play shows a level of skill and maturity that automatically put him as the best up and coming Spanish football style in the horizon. He holds a level of IQ both defensively and offensively that make him out to be as a perfect mix of the likes of Xavi Hernandez and Andrés Iniesta, two of the absolute best midfielders to ever play for Barcelona and the Spanish national squad.
Pedri went from being a ghost to becoming Spain’s creative driving force down the middle of the field having started in all of the Euro games playing almost every minute of each game as Spain made their way to the finals. If there’s any need for proof of his talent, his performance against Italy in the semifinals should help as a clear guide as to why Pedri is the future of Spain’s midfield.
Jeremy Doku, Midfielder, Belgium
It’s ok to acknowledge and agree upon the fact that Belgium’s best generation of players is coming to the end of its road. Yes, that might sound a bit harsh, especially taking into account that players like Lukaku, De Bruyne, Courtois and company still have a lot of fight in themselves, but true football fans cannot deny the fact that the time for this Belgium squad to find true success is running out faster and faster. But not all is ill for Belgium, if the Euro 2020 left a positive note for Belgium is the appearance of Rennes midfielder Jeremy Doku.
Belgian manager Roberto “Bob” Martinez was hesitant at first to use him, especially with the likes of Dries Mertens, Eden Hazard and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco all looking like better fit players for his plans. But it was in the quarter-finals match against Italy where Doku truly made his mark. His presence was clearly felt by Italian defenders who had the toughest of times trying to stop his weaving ways. While there is uncertainty in the air about what’s to come for the Belgium national team towards the future, they can at least rest assured that in Doku they have a star for the future.
Mikkel Damsgaard, Forward, Denmark
If there’s one team that left the Euro 2020 tournament with more positives than negatives, it’s Denmark. While in their opening game they went through the horrific experience of having to see their main star Christian Eriksen, Sampdoria youngster Mikkel Damsgaard stepped up to the challenge of subbing Eriksen and became the creative genius for his national team. While Denmark literally had to pick themselves from the ground up in order to try and qualify for the knockout stages, Damsgaard’s talents became more and more apparent as time went on.
It was in the knockout stages though where Damsgaard truly came to his best form and became one of the absolute best players in the whole of the tournament, leaving a beautiful free-kick goal against England in Wembley that made all of the English fans shake in fear as his final mark. The future is brighter than ever for the Danish superstar both with his club and future suitors as well as his national team.