Six Players to Watch in the U21 Championships
Jordan Pickford – England
Following his big money move to Everton, the youngster now has a huge £30million to live up to. Though should he be able to replicate his form at Sunderland, for the Blues, he will have no problem at all.
The 23-year-old was an excellent shot-stopper behind a troubled defence and excelled in a sorry Sunderland side. However, he is no longer seen as an upcoming talent and nor should he.
The third most expensive goalkeeper in footballing history, England U21s have a brilliant stopper in their ranks and it won’t be long before he is donning the number one shirt for England’s first team.
Gianluigi Donnarumma – Italy
Another goalkeeper to watch out for. Gianluigi Buffon is undoubtedly one of the best ‘keepers the game has ever seen, so who do you choose to fill his gloves? Well, AC Milan opted for 16-year-old Gianluigi Donnarumma and two years later, the youngster has cemented his place in the first team.
He has delayed his school exams to participate in the tournament is definitely one of the stars of the show. Rumours of a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid have surfaced but unsurprisingly, Milan are desperate to keep the talent.
Already at the tender age of 18, Donnarumma has four senior international caps to his name and looks able to help guide the U21s to a sixth title.
Renato Sanches – Portugal
Like Donnarumma, Renato Sanches is capped for the first-team. The Portuguese star has stole attention around Europe having sealed a €35 million move to Bayern Munich, also becoming the youngest-ever player at a tournament with his national team, including winning Euro 2016 and taking the Young Player of the Tournament award.
That said, following a whirlwind season, Sanches seldom featured during the last campaign and it will be interesting to see how he fares after almost a year of limited game time.
Even more interestingly, despite winning the European Championships with the first team, this is his first time playing with the U21s.
Patrik Schick – Czech Republic
Thw 21-year-old made 32 appearances for Sampdoria this season, scoring 11 goals in 14 starts and 18 substitute appearances.
That impressive record led to a €30 million move to Juventus for the forward. Shoot from range is part of Schick’s game but he also himself beyond the last msn into the area regularly and is great at linking up with the number-ten.
Serge Gnabry – Germany
Serge Gnabry is a winger that has been watched by Europe’s elite for sometime now and this is his chance to show the world why.
West Brom once deemed the player not good enough and the 21-year-old has since secured a move to Bayern Munich. Gnabry boasts a wealth of speed and is also known to score a goal here and there.
The former Arsenal fan has the perfect chance to show he is capable of replacing Frank Ribery at Bayern and could very much become a club legend.
Laszlo Benes – Slovakia
Hailing from Borussia Monchengladbach, the 19-year-old recently made his senior international debut against Lithuania, coming on a substitute.
For his tender age, his passing is truly a joy to behold and his energy is second to none. At 19, the midfielder is already incredibly versatile, though rarely featured last season, thus this is the perfect opportunity to show why he deserves more playing time this time round.
This is the first time Slovakia have qualified for the competition and will be keen not to let the opportunity go to waste.