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Top 50 young players to watch at Euro 2016: 40-31

| 29.05.2016

Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | May 26, 2016

To celebrate Euro 2016, Coral are looking at the top 50 young players aged 23 and under before the tournament finals in France begin.

This extended look at talents to watch out for comes in five parts with our countdown starting at 50 and eventually reaching who our football experts consider to be the best youngster in Europe. All players have been valued by respected football stats site Transfermarkt.

Our second part looks at names rated from 40 to 31, and there wasn’t room for everyone in the age bracket because of the expanded format. Who features? Read on below to see who we’ve selected…

40 Elseid Hysaj (Albania)

France Soccer Albania

Date of Birth: February 2nd 1994
Position: Right Back
Caps: 17
International goals: 0
Current Club: Napoli
Transfermarkt Value: £6.75m

Our only Albanian international in the countdown, Hysaj followed former Empoli coach Maurizio Sarri to Napoli last summer and was almost an ever-present for his new side this season, missing just one Serie A outing.

Linked with Bayern Munich during Pep Guardiola’s time at the Allianz, it is perfectly possible that Manchester City may be interested in signing Hysaj to relieve Bacary Sagna’s ageing legs now the Catalan coach is on his way to the Etihad.

39 Piotr Zielinski (Poland)


Date of Birth: May 20th 1994
Position: Central Midfield/Attacking Midfield
Caps: 13
International goals: 3
Current Club: Empoli, on loan from Udinese
Transfermarkt Value: £5.25m

Having just completed a two-year loan spell with Empoli, where he was a teammate of Hysaj’s the season before last, Polish playmaker Zielinski is hot property. Five goals and half a dozen assists show there is more than guile to his game.

The British tabloids have been linking Jurgen Klopp with taking Zielinski to Liverpool for some time, but parent club Udinese also belong to Watford owners the Pozzo family. One way or another, then, Zielinski ought to be turning out in the Premier League next season.

38 Ben Davies (Wales)

Wales v Netherlands - International Friendly - Cardiff City Stadium

Date of Birth: April 24th 1993
Position: Left Back/Centre Back
Caps: 19
International goals: 0
Current Club: Tottenham
Transfermarkt Value: £6m

A regular for Chris Coleman when fit, completing 90 minutes on all seven occasions when selected in Euro 2016 qualifying, Wales defender Davies has seen his club prospects limited by the emergence of Tottenham teammate Danny Rose.

Davies still has over 100 Premier League appearances for Swansea City (where he won the Capital One Cup in 2013) and Spurs to his credit, and could well regain his first-team place at White Hart Lane should Man City’s rumoured interest in Rose become concrete. Either way, Davies is one of the first names on the Wales teamsheet.

37 Tin Jedvaj (Croatia)

Bayer Leverkusen vs Hamburger SV

Date of Birth: November 28th 1995
Position: Right Back/Centre Back
Caps: 3
International goals: 0
Current Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Transfermarkt Value: £6m

Jedvaj is heir apparent to Croatia captain Darijo Srna’s spot in the side and, as the national skipper gets older, the Blazers must blood younger legs down the right flank of defence.

Although he missed the first half of the season through injury, Jedvaj has been a regular for Leverkusen since January and is one of his country’s top prospects. Compatriot coach Slaven Bilic may be in the market for another right back, so Jedvaj could well be winging his way to the Olympic Stadium and signing for West Ham United.

36 Lucas Digne (France)

England v France - International Friendly - Wembley Stadium

Date of Birth: July 20th 1993
Position: Left Back
Caps: 12
International goals: 0
Current Club: Roma, on loan from PSG
Transfermarkt Value: £7.5m

Loaned out by PSG because of their purchase of Layvin Kurzawa last summer, Digne has won the battle to be Patrice Evra’s understudy. Three goals and five assists for Roma in Serie A helped Digne to get the nod from Didier Deschamps.

What does Kurzawa’s presence at the Parc des Princes say about his future prospects though? The Giallorossi have an option to buy Digne, and he is understood to want to make the move to Rome permanent.

35 Oguzhan Ozyakup (Turkey)

Czech Republic vs Turkey 0-2

Date of Birth: September 23rd 1992
Position: Central Midfield/Attacking Midfield
Caps: 18
International goals: 1
Current Club: Besiktas
Transfermarkt Value: £7.1m

This ex-Arsenal man who wears Ozzy on the back of his shirt has certainly been putting in some rock’n’roll performances in midfield for Besitkas this season, striking 10 times and making eight assists as he captured a Turkish Super Lig winner’s medal.

Ozzy’s box-to-box abilities first shot to prominence at international level when he grabbed the opener in qualifying as Turkey romped to a 3-0 win over the Netherlands. Perhaps the Gunners and Arsene Wenger were hasty to let him go?

34 Joshua Kimmich (Germany)

Bayern Munich v Juventus - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - Second Leg - Allianz Arena

Date of Birth: February 8th 1995
Position: Defensive Midfield/Centre Back
Caps: 0
International goals: 0
Current Club: Bayern Munich
Transfermarkt Value: £7.5m

Guardiola, perhaps out of necessity more than design, gave Kimmich plenty of first-team football in his maiden Bundesliga campaign, ably deputising in the heart of defence instead of his preferred anchorman role.

His reward for that versatility has been a league and cup double, plus a first senior call-up to the Germany squad by Joachim Low. How will Kimmich fare under Carlo Ancelotti, or could his former manager take him to Man City, who are in need of a midfield overhaul?

33 Alen Halilovic (Croatia)

Croatia Israel Soccer Friendly

Date of Birth: June 18th 1996
Position: Attacking Midfield/Winger
Caps: 8
International goals: 0
Current Club: Sporting Gijon, on loan from Barcelona
Transfermarkt Value: £7.5m

We’re talking about the youngest Croatia international debutant ever here. Barcelona-owned Halilovic has spent the season gaining valuable La Liga experience with Sporting Gijon, narrowly avoiding relegation.

Five goals and five assists across all competitions are evidence of the massive potential this teenage talent (until midway through Euro 2016) possesses. Halilovic should stay on Barca’s books for a while longer yet.

32 Mattia De Sciglio (Italy)

Italy Soccer Italian Cup

Date of Birth: October 20th 1992
Position: Full Back
Caps: 22
International goals: 0
Current Club: AC Milan
Transfermarkt Value: £3.75m

Azzurri full back De Sciglio is amazingly still only 23, but it seems like he’s been around for ages. Although AC Milan have fallen on hard times, he remains a regular in the Rossoneri XI and has already been to the 2013 Confederations Cup and the last World Cup with Italy, who are 18/1 chances with Coral to win Euro 2016.

Because Antonio Conte has selected him for international duty for the Euros, might that mean Chelsea where the boss is heading next be a destination for De Sciglio too?

31 Joao Mario (Portugal)

Sweden vs Portugal

Date of Birth: January 19th 1993
Position: Midfielder/Winger
Caps: 8
International goals: 0
Current Club: Sporting Lisbon
Transfermarkt Value: £9m

Sporting Lisbon’s versatile midfielder Mario has made some waves in the Primeira Liga this term, helping the capital club to runners-up spot behind bitter rivals Benfica. Scoring seven and assisting a dozen other goals has helped raise his profile considerably.

Comfortable on the wing and also deployed in a variety of midfield roles in Lisbon, Mario is among a plethora of Portuguese talent linked with Manchester United this summer.


Discover who was ranked 50-41 by our experts in the first part of this Euros youngsters to watch countdown.

You’ll find more Euro 2016 content on Coral’s dedicated page.

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Jamie Clark

Athletics aficionado, die-hard snooker fan and Crystal Palace supporter Jamie has written for Coral since February 2014 after spells with Soccerlens and the Press Association as a digital journalist and copywriter. A former East Midlands sports correspondent and Bwin tipster, he is a graduate of both the University of York and University of Sheffield, with a Masters in web journalism from the latter.