We don’t know why the Europa League gets so much flack.
Football starting at five in the afternoon in places we’ve never heard of, with none of the glitz and glamour of the Champions League.
- Man United set to be the first team ever to prioritise the Europa League
- Six of the Best… Europa League strikers in Dream Team Europe
- Man United, Spurs and Liverpool despair as Sevilla qualify for Europa League
Real football for real fans! Okay, who are we kidding, it’s a bit of a waste of time.
But here’s 17 youngsters playing in this year’s competition that will make it worth tuning in for.
Youri Tielemans (Anderlecht)
You know what Belgium don’t need? Another ridiculously talented young midfielder. But they’ve got one in Tielemans, who made his Champions League debut aged just 16.
Pione Sisto (Midtjylland)
Ugandan-born Denmark international Sisto will be looking to tear Man United’s full-backs, or lack of, apart and give LVG another headache.
Breel Embolo (Basel)
If Mario Balotelli actually tried he would be something like Basel’s Embolo. Strong, quick and (probably) Premier League bound.
Julian Weigl (Borussia Dortmund)
Rumoured to be Pep Guardiola’s main target when he moves to Man City, and it’s not hard to see why when you watch the ruthlessly efficient German midfielder.
Ruben Neves (Porto)
Neves became the youngest Porto player to score in the Champions League back in August 2014, so the Europa League should be a doddle for the midfielder.
Federico Bernardeschi (Fiorentina)
The Italian playmaker reportedly idolised Francesco Totti (don’t we all). He’ll be looking to put Spurs to the sword when the two sides meet.
Denis Suarez (Villarreal)
Still only 22-years-old, Suarez has played for Man City, Barcelona, Sevilla and Villarreal. Expect Barcelona to exercise their buy-back clause in the future.
Zakaria Bakkali (Valencia)
Gary Neville hasn’t had a lot of success in Spain, but he has been responsible for Bakkali’s improved form. Built like a bull with frightening speed, when he’s good, he’s very good.
Jason Denayer (Galatasaray)
Man City fans currently s******* it at the state of their defence needn’t worry. In Denayer, currently on loan in Turkey, they’ve got Vincent Kompany mkII, who’ll surely get a look in under Guardiola next season.
Felipe Anderson (Lazio)
His stock might have taken a bit of a beating this season, but Neymar’s best mate is still a match winner on his day. Man United fans should pay particularly close attention.
Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk)
The 23-year-old Brazilian stepped in for Neymar when Germany pumped them 7-1. Not a great start, but the little winger is good enough to be a star man for a strong Shakhtar side.
Leroy Sane (Schalke)
Every man and his dog want to sign Sane after his performances in the Bundesliga for Schalke. Remember the name.
The big Egyptian striker has scored ten goals in twenty appearances for Braga this season, as well as netting five in six on international duty.
Georges-Kevin N’Koudou (Marseille)
The 21-year-old is making a late run for France’s Euro 2016 side, and it’s not difficult to see why when you watch his electric dribbling.
Inaki Williams (Athletic Bilbao)
Has the astounding feat of being the first black player to score for Bilbao. The tall, rangy striker is another on the radar of several Premier League sides.
William Carvalho (Sporting)
There’s more than a little similarity between Carvalho’s powerful style and a certain Yaya Toure, minus the lazy defence.
Hakan Calhanoglu (Bayer Leverkusen)
The 22-year-old treats free-kicks like penalties, dispatching them from all over the park. Let him shoot at your peril.