With Euro 2012 about to get underway, you may be wondering who some of the emerging talents are that you should be looking out for during the tournament. You could be looking for an undervalued bargain for your Dream Team (join ours http://ow.ly/bqxQz pin: 113096 & password: rascal1) or you could be thinking ‘Christ, not another bloody Euro 2012 player preview’. Either way we don’t really care and have decided to bring you our guide on five talents that could shine during Euro 2012. Knowledge is power, so check them out…
1. Kevin Strootman – Holland – Centre Midfield
22-year-old Kevin Strootman is enjoying his first major tournament this summer as he takes his place in the Dutch squad after a whirlwind two seasons. The last time the Netherlands were competing in a major tournament, the 2010 World Cup, Strootman was merely a fan. Now the young midfielder will be living out his dreams as part of a strong Dutch squad.
Strootman’s talent has taken him on a journey that has seen him rise from a young prospect at Sparta Rotterdam, to a first team player for the mighty PSV and his performances there have started to attract the attentions of the worlds biggest clubs. Strootman has developed from an attacking midfielder in to an all-round box-to-box midfielder who will be the future of the Dutch midfield. He has great technique and an excellent passing game, as well as a wand of a left foot. His game time maybe restricted with the equally as impressive Ibrahim Afellay in contention, but you, and the rest of Europe, will know who Kevin Strootman is after the tournament finishes.
2. Marvin Martin – France – Centre Midfield
Marvin Martin may sound like the kid whose mum and dad stitched him up with a dodgy name, but in France when players prénom and nom de famille sound the same it usual signals a very good player (Zinedine Zidane). Over the past two season Martin has established himself as one of Ligue 1 top midfield talents and has made the successful transition to the French senior side.
Martin joined Zidane as a player to score two goals on his French senior debut and many see him as France’s next number 10, but Martin is nicknamed after another midfield great. ‘Little Xavi’, as Martin is known, has an abundance of talent with unbelievable technique, great movement between the lines and the ability to both score and create. Martin’s stats this last campaign may not be as impressive as the season before, but make no mistake about it, his performances were. Martin will want to produce on the bigger stage this summer and show the world what he can do before he gets a big move.
3. Jordi Alba – Spain – Left Back
Before this season, unless you are Championship Manager bof, you probably wouldn’t have known too much about Jordi Alba, but after a season of 50 odd games for Valencia and transfer speculation linking him with both Barcelona and Manchester United, you probably do now. Jordi Alba has had a decent season, cementing his place in a good Valencia side whilst making his senior debut for Spain.
The left-hand side of Spain’s defence has always been their weakest point; Spain struggled to produce a left back with the class of the great José Antonio Camacho until Sergi came along, but since then the talent production line has been barren. Sergi served his time well, but Spain cried out for a player with the pace and tenacity of Camacho and Jordi Alba could be that player. Like many left-backs, Jordi Alba started life as a left-winger and has the defensive frailties you would expect, but his defensive game has improved and he will be a huge asset to Spain with his pace and crossing ability. Seeing Jordi Alba’s fluid runs down the wing will give this Spain side a very Barcelona-like feel, don’t be surprised if the reign supreme again.
4. Rasmus Elm – Sweden – Centre Midfield
If you were to believe everything you read on the Internet, you would think Rasmus Elm has already signed for Spurs and Liverpool at least once this season. It is no surprise really since scouts flock to watch one of the Eredivisie’s top midfield talents on a regular basis. There is a reason why Elm has been attracting so much attention…because he is very very good and Euro 2012 could be his spring board to prove it to the whole of Europe
Rasmus Elm is a classic playmaker who will run and dictate the play for little talked about Sweden. He is a player who is already described as ‘world-class’ without the ball, but most fans will only notice what he does with it…and he does a lot. Elm will be a great early fantasy football pick because he takes all set-pieces whilst having a Rory Delap style throw, but Elm is more than that. His passing range is excellent and he can score goes, but on top of that he gets amongst it and wins ball despite his wiry frame. Elm is a great player who I cannot wait to see more of without all the speculation, just playing with purity and pride.
5. Robert Lewandowski – Poland – Striker
A few blog and media articles have been tipping Lewandowski to star in Euro 2012 and it is no surprise after such a successful domestic season with Borussia Dortmund scoring 30 goals in all competitions. The Polish hitman, more commonly known as one half of the ‘Polish Beckham’s’, is a real handful for any defence to deal with and if he can carry his domestic form in to the tournament, Poland will fly out of their group.
What makes Lewandowski stand out more than some other strikers is his will to win, but more so, his desire to learn – he knows what he wants and he knows what he has to do to get it. Because of this Lewandowski has kept improving, so much so that he has become one of the best up and coming all-round strikers. His tally this season came from playing as a lone striker and the boy can do it all; hold the ball up, dribble, finish with variety as well as being good in the air (something he practiced with his Karate champ wife), with a bit of flair thrown in for good measure. He will be Poland’s main goal threat and you would expect him to get at least two or three goals in a group that Poland will challenge to win.
Let Football Rascal know who you think could prove to be a star in Euro 2012 tournament. We have a Football Rascal mini-league also, so put your money where your mouth is and get involved (Pin: 113096 / Password: rascal1). Don’t forget to follow Football Rascal on Twitter for all the Euro 2012 news and keep an eye on the Facebook page for daily doses of Football goodness.