Three young guns who have looked solid in Euro 2020
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DURBAN - Major tournaments such as the Euros and World Cup always create a few young break-out superstars.
The break-out superstar from Portugal’s Euro 2016 triumph was Renato Sanches. After earning a move to Bayern Munich straight after the Euros that year, Sanches had a challenging three years thereafter, struggling to adapt at Munich and Swansea City.
However, the 23-year-old has since revived his career and most recently helped Lille win the Ligue 1.
The following are three youngsters who have been standout performers in Euro 2020 so far.
The 18-year-old made history in Spain’s Euro 2020 opener against Sweden as he became La Roja’s youngest ever player at the Euros.
Despite his age, Pedri made 52 appearances for Barcelona in all competitions last season and it is hardly surprising that he has earned comparisons to Andres Iniesta.
Spain are not among the favourites to win the Euros and even if they don’t go all the way, the tournament promises to be a good learning curve for youngsters such as Pedri, who will likely be among the core of the team in the future.
Pedri was only introduced to international football this year and already looks comfortable. He was never shy when receiving the ball against Sweden and while La Roja did not score against Sweden, it was Pedri who looked like he was most likely to find the breakthrough.
Swedish football has struggled to produce a world-class attacker since Zlatan Ibrahimovic but it looks like a new star could be born in Isak. The 21-year-old played a key role in helping Real Sociedad finish fifth in La Liga last season as he scored 17 goals from 34 games.
While the Swedes were being attacked by Spain, Isak helped his defence through his good hold-up play and surges up the field.
Isak went close to earning his country a win against La Roja but saw his shot diverted onto the post. He is blessed with quick thinking, pace, and a canny ability to pick out a through ball.
After Sweden manager Janne Andersson substituted Isak against Spain, his side were largely on the back foot and would have been relieved to have ended the game with a point.
The Sampdoria winger was asked to start for Denmark in their 2-1 defeat to Belgium in place of Christian Eriksen who suffered a cardiac arrest against Finland.
Damsgaard played a key role in Denmark’s opening goal after two minutes through his press. He did not show the world’s number one ranked team respect and struck a left-footed shot in the first half which was slightly wide of goal.
Damsgaard coped well under pressure when asked to play in place of Eriksen and showed that he does not fear the best players in the game.
While it is uncertain what the future will hold for Eriksen, players like Damsgaard will be key to the Danish team’s future.