Ahead of the European Championships set to kick off this Friday, we take a look at five underrated players to watch at the tournament.
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After a phenomenal season with West Ham United, Declan Rice should be set to start every single game at this summer’s tournament for Gareth Southgate’s England. With Jordan Henderson’s fitness still a major concern, the emphasis on Rice to lead and organize England’s midfield unit will be imperative. At just 22 years of age, his leadership in the team will be instrumental to their success and he could play at the base of their 4-3-3 or part of a double pivot in the 3-4-3.
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Gerard Moreno had a fantastic season with Villarreal, scoring 23 goals in La Liga and 7 in the Europa League as his team lifted the trophy. The Spanish forward should be set to start most games for Luis Enrique’s team at the tournament if not all, and can play either right wing or as the number nine. Ferran Torres alongside him could also be an interesting player to watch this summer as well, and the two forwards could easily swap in and out of the number nine role as they play together.
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Nicolo Barella achieved wonders this season with Inter Milan, establishing himself as part of a growing list of world class Italian midfielders. The Italian midfield is already stacked with Jorginho, Manuel Locatelli, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Marco Verratti, but Nico Barella should be a nailed on starter after his performances for Inter. Mancini will likely play a 4-3-3 to accommodate such class options in midfield, but the 24-year-old could also play as a right midfielder if tactics were to be changed.
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Like Gerard Moreno, Pau Torres had an excellent campaign as part of Villarreal’s Europa League winning season. The Spanish centre-back is set to start alongside Aymeric Laporte, which should prove to be one of the best partnerships at the tournament. Being only 24 years old, Euro 2020 could be the competition that earns Torres the reputation he deserves at this stage in his career, as a potential long-term replacement to Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique.
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After a fantastic Ligue 1 title winning season with LOSC Lile, Zeki Celik is set to play an imperative role for Turkey at this summer’s competition. Turkey’s form heading into the Euros is immaculate and they are seen by many to be darkhorses in the competition. The Turkish back-line is looking incredibly solid with Soyuncu and Demiral, but Celik will need to be on top of his game if Turkey are to progress further than expected.
So there it is! Five underrated players to watch at this summer’s Euros! Who do you think is set to shine? Comment below or on social media @mastermindsite. Thanks for reading and see you soon!