Friday, July 12, 2024

The New Generation: Five of Europe’s hottest young superstars who could shine at EURO 24

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, European Championships 14 Jun 2024

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Jude Bellingham – England & Real Madrid

Arriving at Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid last summer for a reported fee in the region of £115million, there is no doubt that Jude Bellingham has cemented his spot as one of world football’s hottest commodities.

Crowned as the La Liga Player of the Season in his maiden campaign among Spain’s elite, the England international has continued to receive a string of plaudits from across the globe.

Embarking on what has been an astonishing rise to superstardom, the one-time Birmingham starlet is also pencilled in as a leading Ballon d’Or contender this year.

Quickly becoming one of the modern era poster boys, Bellingham played a leading role as Real Madrid completed a famous double-winning campaign last season.

Spearheading Real Madrid’s charge to a 15th European crown and also notching 29 La Liga goals, Bellingham has the world at his feet and will have plenty of exceptions on his young shoulders this summer.

Phil Foden – England & Manchester City

While Bellingham might be stealing plenty of England’s headlines heading into this summer’s European Championships, the Los Blancos ace is not the only Three Lions youngster who has enjoyed a remarkable year.

Watching Manchester City make real history last season as they secured a fourth consecutive Premier League crown, Phil Foden has been a key factor in Pep Guardiola’s success.

With many billing City’s homegrown superstar as the Premier League’s standout performer last season, the 23-year-old is expected to play a leading role over in Germany this summer.

Notching a career-best tally of 17 Premier League strikes and registering a further eight assists, Foden was named as England’s Player of the Season last month.

Regarded as a generational talent and breaking a string of individual records last season as he former a lethal partnership with Erling Haaland, it will be interesting to see how Foden is delayed by Gareth Southgate this summer.

Florian Wirtz – Germany & Bayer Leverkusen

Making 32 Bundesliga appearances last season as Bayer Leverkusen claimed a maiden domestic crown, academy graduate Florian Wirtz has certainly cemented his spot as one of Europe’s ultimate breakout stars.

Relishing life under the guidance of Xabi Alonso, the 21-year-old has quickly blossomed into one of world football’s hottest young playmakers and is reportedly now valued as much as £100million.

Recording 11 Bundesliga appearances last season and registering a further 11 top-flight assists, Wirtz was named as Germany’s Player of the Season last month and finds his stock at a red-hot high.

With it heavily suggested over the past month that Real Madrid are planning what would be a sensational swoop next summer, Wirtz has come roaring back from a long-term ACL injury 18 months ago.

With Germany looking to mount a real charge as the host nation this summer, the 18-cap international is expected to spearhead Julian Nagelsmann’s attack over the next month.

Xavi Simons – Netherlands & PSG

Enjoying what was a sensation season-long loan switch at RB Leipzig, Xavi Simons has certainly only further established himself as one of Europe’s budding superstars.

Returning to PSG and with continued speculation over what would be on the cards following this summer’s European Championships, the 21-year-old recorded 19 Bundesliga goal contributions last season.

Receiving a host of praise from Ronald Koeman heading into Group D opener against Poland on Sunday afternoon, the one-time Barcelona academy prodigy, is quickly becoming the new poster boy of Dutch football.

Finding the net as Holland signed off their pre-EURO 24 preparations with a routine 4-0 romp against Iceland, Simons has become an integral part of Koeman’s plans over the past 12 months.

With former Manchester United youngster Memphis Depay dealing with a string of injury issues last season, it is expected that Simons will burden plenty of the Netherlands’ attacking threat this summer.

Benjamin Sesko – Slovenia & RB Leipzig

With Slovenia making their first appearance on the European stage since way back in 2000, it is no secret that their attacking talisman will have a tremendous amount of responsibility on his young shoulders.

While Benjamin Sesko might have only arrived at German giants RB Leipzig last summer, the 21-year-old has quickly established himself as one of Europe’s ultimate marksmen.

Notching 14 Bundesliga strikes last season, the former Salzburg striker was reportedly attracting interest from a host of European heavyweights ahead of the summer transfer window.

Remarkably finding the net in all of his final seven consecutive Bundesliga appearances last season, Sesko announced last week that he will be staying put at Leipzig and is set to put pen to paper on a bumper contract extension.

Although Slovenia might have a real uphill battle in their bid to punch a maiden knockout stage ticket, Sesko could steal plenty of the headlines in Germany.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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