Not many were aware of the age-grade European Championships, which also doubles as the continent qualifiers for the FIFA U-20 World Cup next year. The tournament ended on Sunday with the host, France putting 4 unreplied goals past their Italian counterparts in the finals. As usual, a lot of talented youngsters came to the fore during the 2-week competition, and here are 5 of them who impressed most and are set for a great campaign at club level when the new season resumes.
The German youngster who currently is on Schalke 04 books was a solid rock for his side in France. The full-back was a regular threat to the opposition as he constantly made his runs down the right flank to contribute to the attack. But that wasn’t enough as they couldn’t progress to the semis, but his performances no doubt stood out and a couple of suitors will come knocking 04’s door to price away one of their best young legs.
The Toulouse defender proved why he has attracted the likes of Manchester United to himself by putting up a great showing at the tournament. Since breaking into the Ligue 1 club’s first team last season, the France youth international has shown significant improvement and is being monitored by FC Porto regarding a summer switch.
The 19-year-old Tottenham attacking midfielder was a core part of the young Three Lions team that made it to the semifinals of the competition before bowing out to Italy. He registered his name on the scoresheet and did put up an impressive performance Maurice Pochettino must have been proud of. He has linked up with the Totties on their pre-season campaign after been included in the squad for the International Champions Cup. With 18 appearances to his name last season, Onomah is definitely getting more playing time next term and will be hoping to make a statement at the end of the season.
With 5 goals in 3 games at the Championship, the PSG starlet emerged highest goal scorer and had a great game overall. JK already impressed Laurent Blanc after an impressive pre-season tour last summer, and will be hoping to convince Unai Emery that he deserves a chance to play more regularly when the season kicks off. A loan term was being planned for him last season in order for him to gain more experience and exposure to regular football, however, those plans will likely be rebuffed after his improvement in the past months. Although he won’t be linking up with his teammates on the pre-season tour, but his clinical finishes in the tournament would have convinced the new coach of his abilities.
The Monaco striker also finished the tournament with 5 goals and is no doubt following in the footsteps of Anthony Martial who left the French side last summer. Mbappe, who is the club’s youngest ever goalscorer has already caught the attention of Real Madrid, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City and Manchester United at just 17 years of age, and his top notch performance at the Under-19 Euros has sure made his worth go through the roof.