As Euro 2012 draws closer to it’s end, I’ve decided to take an in-depth look at the U19 European Championships. The U19 Euro’s will be held in Estonia this year and the tournament officially starts on July 3rd. Previous winners, Spain, will be looking to retain their trophy and I believe they have a really good chance of doing so. England go into the tournament as slight favourites due to their outstanding Youth products, whom I’ll discuss later on in this article.
Despite many people not showing interest in this tournament, I for one always look forward to this. My main reason for watching the U19 tournaments is to scout the youth from around the world. As an aspiring Scout I always like to be on the look-out for players from other countries as opposed to just England. There are many players who have caught my eye going into this tournament. England have a host of players who I’ll discuss soon; but for me Spain have the stronger squad.
Here are some of the players who I think will shine for their countries:
Paco Alcácer is an18 year old striker who plays for Spain. He’s quite a prolific goalscorer as you can see by his various records for club and country. Alcacer has been in scintillating form for Valencia B since 2009, netting 43 goals in 60 appearances. He also holds a fantastic international record, too. 15 goals in just 13 appearances for Spain’s U17 squad has seen him become a rising star. In the U17 Euro’s he netted 6 goals in the tournament, making him the Golden Boot winner. The U19 Euro’s last year saw Spain beat Czech Republic in the final to win the tournament; Alcacer scored two goals in the final and Spain won 3-2 in the end. Alcacer is blessed with a fantastic finish and a sublime first-touch. Alcacer will undoubtedly perform fantastically this year, mark my words.
Nathan Redmond is an 18-year-old winger for England. This past season has seen him become quite a revelation in the NPower Championship for Birmingham City. He’s one of Birmingham City’s youth products and has made quite a name for himself. Redmond is what you may call a speed demon, his pace leaves many full-backs chasing an already lost cause most of the time, should they catch up with Redmond he has the skill to turn them inside-out. Redmond has a powerful shot on him too which makes him a very good winger. He’s a fans favourite at Birmingham and I believe he’ll help them gain promotion next season. With only one cap for the U19s Redmond goes into this tournament with a point to prove and to show the footballing world what he is capable of.
Cafú - no, not the Brazilian legend. Cafu is a player whom I haven’t seen much of at club level so I can’t really comment on his club performances. His international performances have been impeccable. Cafu is an Attacking Midfielder, he’s a set-piece specialist and is quite prolific when it comes to free-kicks. In the qualifying stages for the U19 Euro’s, Cafu, scored four goals and also got two assists. He plays for Benfica in a slightly more advanced role where he plays as an out-and-out striker, but for Portugal’s U19s he plays in the Attacking Mid role.
- Jese Rodriguez – Striker (Spain/Real Madrid)
- Dennis Suarez – Attacking Midfielder (Spain/Man City)
- Betinho – Winger/Striker (Portugal/Sporting Lisbon)
- Harry Kane – Striker (England/Tottenham)
- Ross Barkley – Attacking Midfielder-ish (England/Everton)
- Dimitrios Diamantakos – Striker (Greece/Olympiakos)
- Lucas Digne – Left-back (France/Lille)