Top 50 young players to watch at Euro 2016: 20-11


Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | May 30, 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 penultimate part looks at names rated from 20 to 11, 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…

20 Arkadiusz Milik (Poland)

Date of Birth: February 28th 1994
Position: Striker
Caps: 24
International goals: 10
Current Club: Ajax
Transfermarkt Value:​ £7.5m

Don’t let that modest valuation fool you. Milik is probably in fact worth a whole lot more, but is in the shadow of fellow prolific Pole and international strike partner Robert Lewandowski.

Breaking the 20-goal barrier for Ajax this past term and the season before, magnificent Milik also struck six times in Euro 2016 qualifying – including against finals pool rivals Germany.

Europe’s top clubs should be chasing Milik, who is somewhat wasted on Ajax, and we fully expect him to leave Amsterdam this summer. If Frank de Boer gets the Everton job, then why not move with him?

19 John Stones (England)

Date of Birth: May 28th 1994
Position: Centre Back/Right Back
Caps: 10
International goals: 0
Current Club: Everton
Transfermarkt Value:​ £22.5m

Sticking with the Toffees, we move on to one of their prized assets in ball-playing centre back Stones. A string of high-profile mistakes have knocked his position down this list, but the Barnsley-born defender retains vast potential.

You can bet your shirt that Stones will be at the centre of a transfer tug-of-war between Manchester United and Manchester City, with Jose Mourinho now to resume his rivalry with Pep Guardiola.

It might just be the lure of playing abroad at Barcelona, where his cultured ability on the ball, may suit Stones best; although Everton have resisted persistent interest in his services last summer.

18 Hakan Calhanoglu (Turkey)

Date of Birth: February 8th 1994
Position: Attacking Midfield/Winger
Caps: 18
International goals: 6
Current Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Transfermarkt Value:​ £13.5m

How’s this for a stat? Calhanoglu is the only Turk in history to score against England in a senior international match at Wembley. Leverkusen’s lauded creator also added eight goals and notched 11 assists on club duty this term.

There have been many overrated forward-thinking players from Turkey since their glorious 2002 vintage; Hasan Sas, Hakan Sukur and all that. Calhanolgu is better than Emre, more dynamic than Tuncay and niftier than Nihat.

He probably even takes on Arda Turan for title of best current Turkish footballer. Versatile and fleet-footed, Calhanoglu is tailor-made for modern 4-2-3-1 systems playing anywhere in the attacking support trio, and for that reason Spurs should sign him.

17 Granit Xhaka (Switzerland)

Date of Birth: September 27th 1992
Position: Defensive Midfield/Central Midfield
Caps: 41
International goals: 6
Current Club: Borussia Monchengladbach, moving to Arsenal after Euros
Transfermarkt Value:​ £18.75m

So Arsene Wenger has paid £30m to sign Xhaka this summer as part of a midfield overhaul at the Gunners for next term. If a manager of such distinction values him so highly, then the player must be doing something right.

Possessing incredible experience for his age, with over 200 senior club games under his belt; Xhaka shows strength and a range of passing that means the Swiss should not worry overmuch about the absence of former captain Gokhan Inler from their Euro 2016 roster.

Arsenal have really pulled off a coup by capturing Xhaka, whose younger legs and industry will mean Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky won’t be missed much by the Emirates crowd. Oh, and one more thing, Ottmar Hitzfeld once compared Xhaka to Bastian Schweinsteiger

16 Ross Barkley (England)

Date of Birth: December 5th 1993
Position: Central Midfield/Attacking Midfield
Caps: 22
International goals: 2
Current Club: Everton
Transfermarkt Value:​ £15.75m

From one salient comparison to another with Merseyside’s answer to Gazza. Barkley has put in his best-ever season at Goodison Park, with a dozen goals and 11 assists in all competitions compelling evidence he is living up to that billing.

Dynamic and blessed with two decent feet, brilliant Barkley is another name Everton must jealously guard, though that will be easier said than done.

Who better than Barkley to sort out the midfield situation at Man Utd? You can equally make the case for him taking over from Yaya Toure across town at the Etihad, though…

15 Ricardo Rodriguez (Switzerland)

Date of Birth: August 25th 1992
Position: Left Back
Caps: 36
International goals: 0
Current Club: Wolfsburg
Transfermarkt Value:​ £21m

Zurich-born Rodriguez has Chilean and Spanish heritage, but is easily one of the top Swiss stars to watch at Euro 2016. He takes a mean penalty, and that fact accounts for most of his 20 goals in just over 150 outings for Die Wolfe.

A typical modern attacking full back, Rodriguez’s raids down the left flank helped Wlfsburg win the 2015 DFB Pokal. He was also voted the Swiss Footballer of the Year for 2014.

Linked with Real Madrid for some time, if he wanted instead to make a home for himself in the Premier League, then Rodriguez should consider following compatriot Xhaka to Arsenal.

14 Leroy Sane (Germany)

Date of Birth: January 11th 1996
Position: Winger/Attacking Midfield
Caps: 2
International goals: 0
Current Club: Schalke
Transfermarkt Value:​ £13.5m

Schalke’s latest starlet Sane has shot to prominence this term with nine goals and seven assists for the Gelsenkirchen club, not to mention making his senior international debut. Germany are 4/1 second-favourites with Coral to follow up at Euro 2016 on their 2014 World Cup crown.

Delighting down the right wing with three strikes in the last half-dozen matches of the Bundesliga campaign, Sane’s sureness of touch and directness means he should be one of the most electric attackers on show at the Euros.

Guardiola may want younger legs on the flanks at Man City as he overhauls the squad. Sane certainly offers more of a goal-threat than Jesus Navas, who is a decade older.

13 Eric Dier (England)

Date of Birth: January 15th 1994
Position: Defensive Midfield/Centre Back/Right Back
Caps: 6
International goals: 1
Current Club: Tottenham
Transfermarkt Value:​ £11.25m

Now we come to the most adept anchorman England have had since Owen Hargreaves, only without the tendonitis troubles with his knee. Dier has proved nothing short of a revelation since Spurs head coach Mauricio Pochettino put him in front of the back four.

Well-timed tackles and putting out fires have been Dier’s trade ever since. He seems to enjoy this less glamorous side of the game and poses a considerable set-piece threat, as shown when scoring the winning goal in the Three Lions’ spring friendly in Germany.

Dier has played in all six England internationals since Euro 2016 qualifying ended, starting half of them. Plying his trade abroad with Sporting Lisbon has certainly added an extra dimension that other youngsters do not possess.

12 Kingsley Coman (France)

Date of Birth: June 13th 1996
Position: Winger
Caps: 3
International goals: 1
Current Club: Bayern Munich, on loan from Juventus
Transfermarkt Value:​ £11.25m

Teenage talent Coman has incredibly been part of league and cup-winning squads in three different countries already. He’s played his most active role yet in all that this term, grabbing six goals and setting up a dozen others for Bayern.

Netting and assisting against parent club Juventus in the Champions League quarter-finals demonstrated what Coman can do nicely. There’s directness and trickery that hint his raw talent is being honed with every passing game.

Munich mentor Franck Ribery may have taught Coman a great deal during his spell at the Allianz, and he will spend another season in Germany. Bayern have a buying option and would be wise to exercise it to keep their French connection going.

11 Raheem Sterling (England)

Date of Birth: December 8th 1994
Position: Winger/Attacking Midfield
Caps: 22
International goals: 2
Current Club: Manchester City
Transfermarkt Value:​ £37.5m

While many pundits feel Sterling has failed to reproduce the form he showed at Liverpool in his maiden campaign with Man City, he’s scored the same number of goals in all competitions.

Striking 11 times in fewer matches than last term, and laying on 10 assists are impressive figures for the Jamaica-born attacker.

Raw pace to burn is his real asset and, while Sterling’s finishing still needs to improve, nobody can accuse him of poor movement. Guardiola brought Pedro Rodrgiuez on at Barcelona, so should do likewise with this England regular at the Etihad.


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

There’s also the 40-31 part of the list to look over.

Don’t forget part three of this series, that looks at those in the 30-21 section of the countdown.

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

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