Jump directly to the content

News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services.

DREAM TEAM

Your Sun

A News UK Company
TOP
NEXT GEN

We’ve compiled an XI of the best players on show at the U21 Euros

Luka Jovic, James Maddison and Hassem Aouar will all be looking to further their development

You thought the football dried up this summer, didn’t you?

I suppose you’ve probably been daydreaming about the dizzy heights of the World Cup 12 months ago, haven’t you?

Well we’ve got some good news.

Italian joy on the opening night

Getty - Contributor
7
Italian joy on the opening night

Just as the Women’s World Cup is hotting up with the knockout stages approaching, the European Under-21 Championships are getting underway in Italy and San Marino.

And there’s plenty to sink your teeth into.

Italy came from a goal down to beat Spain in a thrilling curtain raiser on Sunday night, with Federico Chiesa their two-goal hero.

Like father like son

Getty Images - Getty
7
Like father like son

The Italians are undoubtedly one of the favourites but there’s rich talent across the board which makes the tournament a real frenzy.

So who would make a best XI of the players on show? This was tough but thoroughly enjoyable at the same time.

Goalkeeper: Alexander Nubel (Germany)

What do they feed German goalkeepers?

Getty - Contributor
7
What do they feed German goalkeepers?

Earmarked as the ‘next Manuel Neuer’, Nubel is unfortunate that Marc-Andre Ter Stegen exists.

But that hasn’t stopped him making a real statement this season by nailing down the position as Schalke’s first-choice goalkeeper.

He has exceptional reflexes and is a maverick with his feet. Remind you of anyone?

Defence (4): Aaron Wan-Bissaka (England), Jonathan Tah (Germany), Dayot Upamecano (France), Benjamin Henrichs (Germany)

Your wingers don’t like him

Reuters
7
Your wingers don’t like him

AWB is likely to become a £50m right back this summer if Man United get their way and his stats from last season suggest he’s worth every penny.

Tah is a man mountain and Leverkusen will do well to keep hold of him, while Upamecano has been a regular for Leipzig for two seasons already.

Henrichs might be the weak link but he was one of Monaco’s more consistent players last term.

Midfield (3): Fabian Ruiz (Spain), James Maddison (England), Houssem Aouar (France)

Admirer

Reuters
7
Admirer

Now it really starts to get tasty.

Napoli star Ruiz is the tempo maker who has received massive praise from another midfield metronome, Xavi, in the past.

No player created more chances than Maddison in the Premier League last season and he and Phil Foden could really enjoy themselves over the next few weeks in England’s midfield.

Alongside Maddison is Aouar who is wanted by just about everyone, including Pep Guardiola who called him ‘incredible’ after Man City played Lyon in the Champions League last season.

Attack (3): Luka Jovic (Serbia) Moise Kean (Italy), Federico Chiesa (Italy)

Galactico

AFP or licensors
7
Galactico

Yum. Yum. Yum.

Jovic has just signed for Real Madrid and has all the credentials to be their next great number nine.

Kean is a live wire and finished the season brilliantly with Juventus before scoring on his first start for the Italian senior team in March.

Chiesa? Well he has genius in his blood and did this in that 3-1 win over Spain on Sunday night. The touch, my word.

Lovely jubbly

7
Lovely jubbly

The likes of Foden, Reiss Nelson, Dani Ceballos, Mahmoud Dahoud and Nicolo Zaniolo are all very notable omissions and highlight the calibre of player on show.

Early predictions?

Jovic, who has the look of someone who could easily steal your girlfriend and there’s nothing you can do about it, carries on where he left off for Eintracht Frankfurt and takes Serbia through to the knockout rounds.

England shine in the group stages before faltering, inevitably, during a penalty shootout… and Italy triumph on home soil.

Most of all; just sit back and enjoy what is all set to be a real footballing feast.