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An Eye on the Stars - The Best 3 Young Players Across Europe.

Updated: Feb 27

There’s no doubt that the existing youth football and grassroots structures in place across the globe have improved markedly in the 21st century, with the leading nations investing heavily in better quality coaching and improved pitches.

This was borne out during Euro 2020, where several talented starlets took centre stage and the tournament saw its two youngest-ever players take the field in Poland’s Kacper Kozlowski (17 years and 246 days) and English prodigy Jude Bellingham (17 years and 349 days).

But who are the three top young players across the length and breadth of Europe? Here are our top picks!

Florian Wirtz [Getty]
Florian Wirtz [Getty]

Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen)

Bayer Leverkusen have a genuine habit of producing precocious young midfielders, with Kai Havertz one of the latest to make a big-money move across Europe.

They seem to have unearthed another gem in the mould of 18-year-old Florian Wirtz, who boasts a similarly dynamic style to Havertz and can operate both as a number 10 and an inverted winger.

Wirtz came to the fore as a 17-year-old, when he scored his first goal for the team during a 4-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in June 2020. This made him the youngest-ever goalscorer in Bundesliga history at the time, although this record was surpassed just two days later by Borussia Dortmund’s 16-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko.

Overall, Wirtz delivered 16 goal involvements last term, while also earning his first national team call-up during the March World Cup qualifiers. He’s one to watch for the future, and has truly earned his nomination for the title of 2021’s ‘Golden Boy’.

Jamal Musiała (Bayern Munich)

Bayern Munich ace Jamal Musiala [Getty]
Bayern Munich ace Jamal Musiala [Getty]

Musiala may prove to be the one who got away from England, having been born in Germany to a British-Nigerian father.

Despite having been largely raised on these shores and represented England at youth level (along with Germany), Musiala pledged his allegiance to Germany and represented the national team at Euro 2020.

Musiala was also developed at Chelsea’s academy, before he took the bold decision to leave and join Bayern Munich in July 2019.

Now 18, Musiala is developing into a highly talented and coveted star, with his quick feet and smooth running style making him the ideal modern-day forward. His decision-making is also exceptional for a young player, making him one of the most effective starlets in the world game.

Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham Of BvB [Getty]
Jude Bellingham Of BvB [Getty]

As we’ve already touched on, Bellingham became the second-youngest player to appear at the European Championships, while he was also the youngest to feature in the tournament’s knockout stages. This betrays both his maturity and physicality, while Bellingham’s all-round midfield skills made him one of the most sought-after players in Europe when he signed for Borussia Dortmund from Birmingham City as a 17-year-old.

Bellingham was also outstanding when he played for Dortmund against Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals last season, more than holding his own against performers such as İlkay Gündoğan and Bernardo Silva.

The sky is the limit for Bellingham, who continues to be linked with the world’s leading clubs and continues to perform at a level far beyond his years.

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