Euro Football

European Under-21 Championship potential stars: Moise Kean, Phil Foden, Pablo Fornals, Luka Jovic

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Clockwise, from top left: Phil Foden, Pablo Fornals, Dodi Lukebakio and Luka Jovic are among the players who could light up Euro 2019

Italy have a striker who claims to “steal secrets” from Cristiano Ronaldo. Serbia have a forward who has just joined Real Madrid for £50m. Romania have the son of one of their greatest-ever players.

The European Under-21 Championship, which begins on Sunday and runs until 30 June, is brimming with big names – and that is before we even get to mentioning England talents such as Phil Foden, James Maddison and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Hosts Italy, defending champions Germany, England, France and Spain among the teams in action – and there are plenty of players to look out for, from the big names to the emerging talents ready to make a mark.

Moise Kean (Italy)

Kean is the youngest forward to start a match for Italy’s senior team since 1912

Juventus forward Moise Kean, 19, comes into the tournament on the back of his major breakthrough season. The quick teenager had a glorious run of scoring in six consecutive games for club and country – as he netted in his first two senior caps for Italy in March.

His goal against Finland in a Euro 2020 qualifier made him the youngest player to score a competitive goal for the Azzurri.

Kean is not short on confidence – taking inspiration from Juve team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, of whom he said in March: “I learn from Cristiano Ronaldo, in training, I steal his secrets.”

He is one of eight senior internationals in Italy’s Under-21 squad, including Roma midfielders Lorenzo Pellegrini and Nicolo Zaniolo, Cagliari’s Nicolo Barella, AC Milan striker Patrick Cutrone and Fiorentina forward Federico Chiesa.

Phil Foden (England)

Phil Foden scored in each of the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup this season

You have to be special to make 26 first-team appearances for Manchester City in a domestic treble-winning season. And 19-year-old Phil Foden is just that.

He scored seven goals this season – including the only strike in an important Premier League win over Tottenham in April.

Boss Pep Guardiola says attacking midfielder Foden “will be an important player for the next decade” for City – and has been compared to Xavi and Andres Iniesta by BBC pundit Pat Nevin.

Foden – named the best player at the Fifa Under-17 World Cup in 2017 – is again likely to be crucial to England’s hopes.

Premier League names in Aidy Boothroyd’s England squad include Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Leicester midfielder James Maddison, as well as Arsenal’s Reiss Nelson – who scored seven Bundesliga goals on loan at Hoffenheim last season.

Pablo Fornals (Spain)

Pablo Fornals took a break from Euro 2019 preparations to join West Ham

One of the oldest players in the tournament at 23, Spain attacking midfielder Pablo Fornals completed a £24m move to West Ham on the eve of the competition.

Fornals – who has won two senior caps for Spain – scored five goals and assisted another six for Villarreal last season. He already has plenty of top-level experience, having made 129 La Liga appearances for Malaga and the Yellow Submarine.

He has been described by Spanish journalist Guillem Balague