Top 50 young players to watch at Euro 2016: 50-41


Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | May 24, 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 first part looks at names rated from 50 to 41, 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…

50 Aleksandr Golovin (Russia)

Date of Birth: May 30th 1996
Position: Attacking Midfield/Winger
Caps: 3
International goals: 2
Current Club: CSKA Moscow
Transfermarkt Value: £375k

While the Russian national team is largely made up of golden oldies under double duty coach Leonid Slutsky, he is gambling on precocious teenage talent Golovin to provide a creative spark linking midfield and attack off the bench after Alan Dzagoev’s untimely injury.

Breaking into club side CSKA Moscow’s first XI this term, Golovin’s brace in the Russian Cup semis helped his teammates reach the final. With two international goals in friendlies to his name already, he is definitely one to watch.

49 Laszlo Kleinheisler (Hungary)

Date of Birth: April 8th 1994
Position: Attacking Midfield/Winger
Caps: 4
International goals: 1
Current Club: Werder Bremen
Transfermarkt Value: £450k

When you’ve been called the Hungarian Paul Scholes, you’re going to get to mentioned on lists like this. Kleinheisler was only bought by Bremen in the winter window, and has made just a handful of first-team appearances in the Bundesliga, but he’s already made an impact on international duty.

Debuting in their Euro 2016 play-off first leg in Norway, Kleinheisler grabbed the winner, giving the Hungarians a lead to take home. Most useful to date off the front, he is decidedly younger than fellow midfield cohorts such as veteran Zoltan Gera.

48 Norbert Gyomber (Slovakia)

Date of Birth: July 3rd 1992
Position: Centre Back/Right Back/Defensive Midfield
Caps: 12
International goals: 0
Current Club: Roma, on loan from Catania
Transfermarkt Value: £600k

Slovakia are yet another Eastern European side with a generation gap in their ranks, and versatile defender Gyomber would’ve got more game time with Roma had he not fractured a foot. The Giallorossi may well take him from Catania permanently.

There’s all the familiar physicality you’d expect of a player from this background. Gyomber should be plugging gaps either in the back four or in front of them when England play Slovakia in their final Euro 2016 Group B outing.

47 Cyrus Christie (Republic of Ireland)

Date of Birth: September 30th 1992
Position: Right Back/Centre Back
Caps: 4
International goals: 1
Current Club: Derby County
Transfermarkt Value: £750k

Derby are the so-nearly men of the Championship; yet one consistent performer is former Coventry City full back Christie. Although understudy to Seamus Coleman in Martin O’Neill’s set-up, he will be a more than willing deputy.

Christie could easily be poached by a Premier League club, and he would do well with a promoted team or mid-table side, with new boys Middlesbrough looking like a good fit.

46 Victor Lindelof (Sweden)

Date of Birth: July 17th 1994
Position: Centre Back
Caps: 2
International goals: 0
Current Club: Benfica
Transfermarkt Value: £1.9m

Highly-rated Sweden centre back Lindelof followed up his success at the European Under-21 Championship last summer by breaking into the Benfica first team after the winter break. He has not looked back since.

Helping the Portuguese giants to keep 10 clean sheets in all competitions, Lindelof lifted the Primeira Liga crown and is now being linked with Manchester United.

45 Jordan Lukaku (Belgium)

Date of Birth: July 25th 1994
Position: Left Back
Caps: 2
International goals: 0
Current Club: Oostende
Transfermarkt Value: £2.25m

While his older brother is more famous, Jordan Lukaku is one Belgian that might go under the radar. Still playing domestically for Oostende, Euro 2016 and a hotly competitive Group E, which Belgium are evens with Coral to win, may be the perfect platform for him to play himself into the shop window.

Might Lukaku link up with elder sibling Romelu at Everton or even replace him, so the Goodison Park fans haven’t brought their replica shirts with the surname on the back for nothing?

44 Ondrej Duda (Slovakia)

Date of Birth: December 5th 1994
Position: Attacking Midfield
Caps: 7
International goals: 1
Current Club: Legia Warsaw
Transfermarkt Value: £2.6m

Duda is delighting Polish fans, aiding capital club Legia to their 11th Ekstraklasa title. Hailing from Slovakia, he scored on his international debut against fellow Euro 2016 finalists the Czech Republic.

Five goals and nine assists at club level for Warsaw this season make Duda, nicknamed Ondrej Di Maria, a credible threat to England in Group B. He has the typical profile of a talented import that can be seen at Southampton, who need to expand their squad ahead of next term’s Europa League campaign.

43 Paddy McNair (Northern Ireland)

Date of Birth: April 27th 1995
Position: Centre Back/Right Back/Central Midfield
Caps: 5
International goals: 0
Current Club: Manchester United
Transfermarkt Value: £3.4m

Do you dare to McNair? Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill certainly does, playing Paddy in front of the back four in the spring warm-up friendlies for Euro 2016.

Easily his country’s most exciting prospect, McNair’s young legs protect an ageing defence superbly, and an all-action role for the Man Utd prospect will have him in the thick of the Group C battles against pool big guns Germany and Poland.

42 Kevin Wimmer (Austria)

Date of Birth: November 15th 1992
Position: Centre Back/Left Back
Caps: 3
International goals: 0
Current Club: Tottenham
Transfermarkt Value: £4.9m

Although on the periphery of Spurs’ top four finish, Wimmer did ably deputise for Jan Vertonghen when his fellow left-footed defender was injured, helping Mauricio Pochettino’s men to keep four clean sheets in nine Premier League starts.

One of several stars in recent years to come through at cult Bundesliga club Cologne, Wimmer is also set to be kept in reserve for Austria, but his versatility is a real asset to the first-time Euro qualifiers who co-hosted Euro 2008.

41 Oscar Hiljemark (Sweden)

Date of Birth: June 28th 1992
Position: Central Midfield/Defensive Midfield
Caps: 9
International goals: 1
Current Club: Palermo
Transfermarkt Value: £2.25m

Like compatriot Lindelof above, holding player Hiljemark played a vital role in Sweden’s European Under-21 success last summer, captaining his country to glory. That earned him a move to Palermo, but the Sicilian side had a near escape from Serie A relegation.

Hard-hitting Hiljemark isn’t afraid to get stuck in, but scored on his international debut back in January 2012. Four goals and five assists hints that there is more to come from a midfielder that likes a tackle. Promoted Burnley would benefit from Hiljemark’s style, as Joey Barton has left Turf Moor for Rangers.


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

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