The final group, England’s group. Probably under the guidance of Roy Hodgson by then, the Three Lions will face 2000 champions France, Sweden and hosts Ukraine. But it’s not just England who have young talent flowing through their ranks, the other three sides will all have talent to look out for in June.
Andriy Yarmolenko (Dynamo Kiev & Ukraine)
This 22-year old is making big noises in Ukraine. Andriy Yarmolenko is a tricky left-footed winger and is approaching 100 appearances for his club. In those 84 games he’s managed 30 goals and broke on to the international scene in 2009. With 18 caps and 7 goals Yarmolenko is a dead cert to go to the EURO’s this summer and could be a dangerous customer for right-backs to deal with in Group D.
Emir Bajrami (Twente & Sweden)
There are some talented players coming through the Eredivisie right now, and Emir Bajrami is one of them. The Swedish winger has attracted the interest from some of the top European clubs and will be a big threat in his national side in Ukraine.
After five years at Elfsborg, Bajrami made the move to FC Twente and scored his first goal for Sweden just a week later. He’s made 15 appearances for Sweden scoring 2 goals and could be in the starting XI when they face up to the hosts next month.
John Guidetti (Manchester City & Sweden)
John Guidetti may be on the City payroll, but not everybody will know this young striker is. Guidetti has been out on loan at Feyenoord and has made a big impact in Holland. He’s got 20 goals in 23 games and made his international debut this year, giving him a fighting chance of getting a spot on the plane next month.
He’ll be returning to Manchester soon and may find it difficult to break through with the array of talent ahead of him at the Etihad, but if Guidetti was to go elsewhere he looks like he could be a steal for a team that creates chances, because Guidetti is a goal scorer.
Oliver Giroud (Montpellier & France)
If anyone can stop the drought of goals that France seem to be suffering with at major tournaments recently, it could be this young man. Oliver Giroud has come to the attention of several top clubs and has been scouted extensively by Liverpool.
He began to make a name for himself in France with Tours where he scored 38 goals in 69 games before getting a move to Montpellier. One of the key men in their rise up the Ligue 1 table, his 37 goals there brought him to the attention of Laurent Blanc last year, and he’s already scored for France after just three appearances. He could be an outsider to be a big hit at this years tournament.
Kyle Walker (Tottenham & England)
Because I know much more about my countries national side than I do with the other 15 teams, I could obviously have named any amount of players that we could take to Ukraine this summer, but I’m going to focus on two. Kyle Walker has just won the PFA Young Player of the Year award and could be England’s starting right-back at this summer’s championships.
With Micah Richards struggling with injuries and Glen Johnson out of form, Walker looks almost certain to go to the EURO’s and will most likely be in the first XI. With bags of pace, a good future and apparently a great free-kick, Walker will be one to watch this summer…plus he’ll have to deal with Yarmolenko and Baljrami!
Danny Welbeck (Manchester United & England)
Danny Welbeck has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years. A loan spell at Sunderland last season did wonders for his form and confidence, and he’s become a first choice in Sir Alex Ferguson’s side this season, becoming the main partner for Wayne Rooney.
With Rooney suspended for England’s opening two games, Welbeck seems the likely choice to lead the line against France and Sweden. His goalscoring return isn’t that of a clinical striker, but he’s chipped in and has proved to a great team player for United. Can he be the man to fire England to glory?
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