Euro 2024: Top Young Players to Watch in Germany, Including Bellingham, Wirtz, and Palmer

Euro 2024: Top Young Players to Watch in Germany, Including Bellingham, Wirtz, and Palmer

Elijah Odetokun
updated at June 9, 2024 at 9:51 AM
In this article:
Cole Palmer logo
C. Palmer
Chelsea logoMEngland logo
Jude Bellingham logo
Real Madrid logoMEngland logo
Florian Wirtz logo
F. Wirtz
Bayer Leverkusen logoMGermany logo
Jamal Musiala logo
Bayern Munich logoFGermany logo
Bukayo Saka logo
Arsenal logoFEngland logo
Lamine Yamal logo
FC Barcelona logoFSpain logo
Pau Cubarsí logo
Barcelona U19 logoDSpain logo
Kobbie Mainoo logo
Manchester United logoMEngland logo
Xavi Simons logo
Xavier Simons
RB Leipzig logoMNetherlands logo
Harvey Elliott logo
H. Elliott
Liverpool logoMEngland logo
Warren Zaire Emery logo
W.Zaire Emery
Paris Saint Germain U19 logoMFrance logo
Karim Adeyemi logo
K. Adeyemi
Borussia Dortmund logoFGermany logo
Arda Güler logo
Real Madrid logoMTurkey logo
UEFA European Championship logo
Germany logo
  • The 2024 European Championship is just days away from kicking off in Germany
  • The race to succeed Italy begins as 24 countries battle for the crown of Europe
  • Jude Bellingham and other youngsters at the tournament are in the spotlight

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The 2024 European Championship, shortly referred to as Euro 2024, kicks off in Germany on June 14 as 24 countries battle for the right to succeed Italy as champions.

Gli Azzurri won the title at Wembley Stadium in 2021, beating England in the final on penalties thanks to the Three Lions players missing three of their spot kicks.

Jamal Musiala, Jude Bellingham, Germany, England, UEFA Nations League.
Jamal Musiala and Jude Bellingham during the UEFA Nations League League A Group 3 match between Germany and England at Allianz Arena on June 7, 2022. Photo by Hasan Bratic.
Source: Getty Images

Every major international tournament produces a breakout for some youngsters, but this year looks set to be different. Most of the U23 players to look out for are already stars for most of their clubs.

Sports Brief looks at 13 youngsters to look out for.

Euro 2024 U23 players to look out for

1. Jude Bellingham

Bellingham’s stock has risen since he completed his £88.5 million move from Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid. In his first season, he helped the club win the Spanish Super Cup, reclaim the La Liga title, and win the UEFA Champions League.

He is one of the favourite for the 2024 Ballon d'Or, and his performance at the international championship will greatly affect his chances of succeeding his idol, Lionel Messi, as the winner of football’s most coveted individual award.

2. Cole Palmer

Manchester City’s boy is now Chelsea’s man. Palmer enjoyed a brilliant breakthrough season in professional football when he decided to ditch his boyhood club for a switch to London, and he never looked back.

He was the standout player for the Blues and was rightfully rewarded with the Supporters’ and Players’ Player of the Year. He made his England debut in November, but his performances at Stamford Bridge made him a strong choice to have an impact under Gareth Southgate.

3. Jamal Musiala

At 21, Musiala has 27 caps for the German national team and has featured at two international tournaments after pledging his international allegiance to the country of his birth, having also represented England at the youth levels.

He is expected to line up in Julian Nagelsmann’s attack and has a job to repair his reputation after Bayern Munich suffered their first trophyless season since 2012. He has a contract dispute with the club and could leave this summer.

4. Florian Wirtz

Wirtz’s comeback since recovering from a severe ACL injury in 2023 has been insane. The 21-year-old, under the tutelage of Xabi Alonso, helped Bayer Leverkusen to their first-ever Bundesliga title, displacing Bayern Munich. He was named the Bundesliga Player of the Season.

He is expected to remain in Leverkusen for one more season. However, that could change if his stocks rise further at the European Championship on home soil, with Real Madrid and Manchester City interested in signing him.

5. Kobbie Mainoo

Mainoo was introduced to Manchester United's first team by Erik ten Hag. After a string of great midfield performances for the Red Devils, he earned a senior call-up to the Three Lions even though Ghana tried to lure him across.

He debuted in March as a substitute in the 1-0 loss to Brazil. Three days later, he earned his first start against Belgium and was named the 'Man of the Match', which made fans push for him to be on the plane to Germany.

6. Bukayo Saka

Saka has a point to prove, and now is the time to do so. In the previous edition, he missed the decisive spot kick that handed Italy the title, for which he received racial insults. From that teenager in 2021, he has matured into Arsenal’s main man and one of the best wingers in the world.

He is the recipient of the last two England national team players of the year. According to Transfermarkt, since missing that kick at Wembley, he has taken 12, scored 11, and missed one for the Gunners against West Ham United.

7. Lamine Yamal

Spain national team managers are attracted to Barcelona youngsters because La Masia produces them in abundance. Lamine Yamal made his international debut at 16 and scored in the 7-1 win over Georgia during the qualifiers.

He has become a mainstay of Xavi Hernandez’s team and will undoubtedly be one to watch out for as Luis de la Fuente’s Spain aim to return to the pinnacle of European football for the first time since winning the tournament in 2012.

8. Xavi Simons

Simons is one of the best U23 players in European football this season and has been a shining light for RB Leipzig on loan from Paris Saint-Germain. He helped the German side to fourth position on the table and they are on course for a Champions League spot.

He has been a regular for the Dutch national team since 2022, when he debuted under Louis van Gaal. He featured eight times during the qualifiers but made no attacking contributions. He will be the spotlight in Germany.

9. Arda Guler

When he was about to leave Fenerbahce, the 'Turkish Messi' had the option of Real Madrid or Barcelona, but he chose the Spanish capital. He may have struggled with injuries and not had many minutes, but his decision is certainly not one he regrets.

He has been with the Turkey first team since 2022 and has six caps. His only goal came in the qualifier against Wales. He needs a big performance in Germany to prove himself and secure his spot in Carlo Ancelotti’s team next season, with the addition of Kylian Mbappe.

10. Warren Zaïre-Emery

The French teenager has been a part of Paris Saint-Germain's first team since his debut in 2022 and has proved to be a valuable asset for the Ligue 1 champions with his versatility.

He made his senior national team debut in September 2023 and scored in the 14-0 win over Gibraltar. He will be a part of Didier Deschamps’ squad to Euro and is expected to get minutes, even if it's off the bench, but he will be key.

11. Pedri

The Barcelona star played at Euro 2021, where Spain reached the semi-final before losing 4-2 on penalties to the eventual champions, Italy. He was the only Spanish player named in the official team of the tournament.

The former Las Palmas star also featured at the 2022 FIFA World, playing all four games before Luis Enrique’s side were eliminated by Morocco in the Round of 16. He has struggled with injuries this season but will be a key player for Spain in Germany.

Key players for England at Euro 2024

Sports Brief previously analysed six key players for England at Euro 2024 after Joey Barton named Bellingham as the most important player for the Three Lions.

The Real Madrid midfielder made his major competition debut at the 2022 FIFA World Cup and scored his first goal for the national team in the 6-2 win over Iran.

Euro 2024: Top 5 Favourites to Win the Tournament

Sports Brief highlighted the top five favourites to win the UEFA European Championship in Germany, excluding Italy and Belgium.

The tournament will feature 24 teams competing for the Henri Delaunay Cup from June 14 to July 14.

Germany, France, Spain, England, and Portugal are the frontrunners, with each team having its unique strengths and history in major competitions.

Elijah Odetokun photo
Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.