TEAMtalk, in conjunction with Leeds Trinity University, have identified six players we believe will star for their countries at Euro 2016.
With the Euros just around the corner, everyone is talking about how the likes of Paul Pogba, Thomas Muller and Cristiano Ronaldo could set the tournament alight.
But what about some names who might just slip under the radar when the tabloids turn their attention to the showpiece? We look at six of the best…
Ciprian Tatarusanu (Fiorentina) – Romania
The Fiorentina goalkeeper has been in outstanding form for Romania in their impressive run through the Euro 2016 qualifiers.
The shot-stopper has been a rock in the impressive defensive record the Romanians hold, only conceding two goals in 10 games, the best record in the qualifiers. At 30 years old, Tatarusana has been Romania’s first-choice goalkeeper since making his debut against Italy in 2010. In this time, he has received 34 caps, only conceding 18 goals.
In club form it has been no different, with the Fiorentina number one having an impressive record. With an average of only 1.05 goals conceded per game and 52 saves across the season, he kept 15 clean sheets in 37 appearances. All these accolades meant that he won the Romanian Player of the Year in 2015, the first goalkeeper to do so in 29 years.
With Romania in Group A alongside many bookmakers’ favourites to win the tournament outright and hosts France, Tatarusana could definitely be a vital part of trying to escape this group alongside Switzerland and Albania.
Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich) – France
One man to look out for at this year’s European Championships is Kingsley Coman. The 19-year-old currently plays for Bayern Munich following his loan move from Juventus. The Frenchman impressed in his first few games for the German champions and was able to secure a regular first-team place.
In his short time at the club, the young midfielder helped his side to the Bundesliga title and played a big part in their Champions League run.
His finest moment came when Bayern played against Juventus in the Round of 16 of the Champions League. Coman came off the bench and secured his team’s place in the quarter-final after scoring in extra time to knock out his parent club.
Coman has just three caps for the French national team and many doubt whether he can really make an impact. However, as one of the most promising young footballers on the planet, he is certainly one of the players to watch out for in Euro 2016.
Coman will be joined by a host of top-quality internationals in the French squad which will be looking to challenge for the title. Playing on their home soil should also give them an extra incentive.
Karim Bellarabi (Bayer Leverkusen) – Germany
The 26-year-old is still fairly new to the international scene having made his German debut in November 2014. Bellarabi has gone to make 10 international caps and during qualifying he made seven appearances, scoring just the one goal.
Bellarabi plays out on the right-hand side for his club Bayer Leverkusen but has been known to play in any of the three attacking midfield roles.
This season he has made 47 appearances, scoring 11 goals and making 13 assists. He finished the 2015/16 campaign as the Bundesliga’s second highest assist maker.
It is likely that Bellarabi will either start on the right for Germany or he will be used as an impact substitute, just as Mario Gotze was in the 2014 World Cup.
Arkadiusz Milik (Ajax) – Poland
The young striker will surely cause major problems to any defence in the 2016 Euros. His amazing accuracy means he can be a threat all over the pitch, acting as a poacher inside the box or scoring one of his trademark long shots. With 24 goals and 12 assists to his name this season, he has terrified his opposition this year.
His standout game of the season came in Ajax’s 6-0 demolition of Roda on October 31 2015, when Milik scored two goals and made two assists.
His strength and dribbling abilities allow him to pick the ball up deep and power towards the opposition defence, meaning he can fashion chances for himself, or set up his team-mate. His ability to link up with fellow Polish goal machine Robert Lewandowski means that Poland can promise one thing in the Euros this summer – goals!
Renato Sanches (Bayern Munich) – Portugal
The Benfica startlet has a summer transfer to Bayern Munich to look forward to, but for now his focus is on the Euros. Sanches made his debut for Portugal as a substitute in a 1-0 victory over Bulgaria on March 25. Since then he has gone on to make one further appearance for Portugal, however he is set to play a more prominent role for them in the Euros this summer.
Sanches is equally capable of playing as a defensive midfielder or an attacking midfielder. His technique, strength and movement allows him to contribute to both attack and defence, meaning he can be an effective counter-attacking player for Portugal and gives head coach Fernando Santos more tactical options in the midfield.
He also has good long shot ability, allowing him to be a goal-scoring threat for Portugal from all over the pitch. He has played 29 games for Benfica this season, scoring eight goals and making one assist.
The youngster can, however, be hot headed. In all his 58 games played for the Benfica first team, he has received 15 yellow cards and three red cards. He was sent off in Benfica’s penultimate game of the season against Maritimo for two yellow cards in the space of 10 minutes. However if he can keep his cool in France, then he could prove a very effective asset for Portugal.
Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli) – Italy
The 24-year-old winger who plays for Napoli can also operate in a central role behind the striker and helped his club to a second-placed finish in Serie A. He has been in sensational domestic form, scoring 12 goals and providing 10 assists in what has been arguably his best season to date.
Insigne has the ability to beat opponents with ease, utilising his lightning pace and agility to glide past defenders – and he also has an eye for a pass. He has even been compared to Argentina legend, Diego Maradona, while his former Napoli team-mate Goran Pandev has referred to him as the “Italian Messi”.
He has not always been a preferred player of current Italy boss Antonio Conte, but with his recent form he has made himself impossible to overlook.
In Italy’s last game against Spain he came on as a substitute, grabbing himself a goal against the European champions 16 minutes after coming on, and was a constant threat to Spain goalkeeper David De Gea for the rest of the game.
This piece has been written and researched by Sports Journalism students at Leeds Trinity University.