Home Sports Here Are Top Starlets Leading Spain’s Charge For Glory At Euro 2024

Here Are Top Starlets Leading Spain’s Charge For Glory At Euro 2024


The Euro 2024 has kicked off in Germany and as usual the Spanish national team are among the contender of teams to make impact given the quality of players at the disposal of as Luis de la Fuente.

De La Fuente’s squad have 10 or fewer international caps, but the international head coach will be keen to blood the youngest of them under the most pressurised of conditions.

Here are the list of Spanish young players that the coach hope use to lift a record fourth European trophy.

Lamine Yamal (Barcelona): Of all of La Roja’s young talents, Yamal is the jewel in the crown. Just as he has rapidly risen through the ranks of Barcelona’s senior team, the 16-year-old has become such an undroppable presence within De La Fuente’s ranks that his club has previously looked to intervene in a bid to keep his star from flaming out.

Barca are believed to have been incensed with the head coach after he made remarks comparing Yamal’s frequent inclusion to that of another prodigious talent – albeit one who failed to flourish at the Camp Nou – Diego Maradona. Don’t be so public in your admiration, the message was. Keep his feet on the ground.

The club themselves have done little to hede their own words of wisdom. Granting the winger his LaLiga debut in April 2023, Yamal’s trip onto the turf as a substitute for ageing wonderkid Gavi made him, at 15 years, nine months and 16 days old, the youngest to set off in club colours for over 101 years. In the season since, Yamal quickly became one of former coach Xavi’s stalwarts.

If Spain do make it to the final four weeks from Sunday, Yamal will start as a 17-year-old – his birthday just one day before the tournament crescendo on July 14. Should the side make it to the final, barring injury or illness the teenager’s inclusion in the starting XI seems de facto. Yamal has picked up seven caps since his international debut – scoring two goals – and is widely believed to be the missing piece in Spain’s puzzle.

Much like his loathed La Liga rival Vinicius Jr, Yamal can streak through the hardiest of defences in the blink of an eye with a flashing grit which belies his years. His ex-manager was keen not to compare him to his own former team-mate Lionel Messi, but couldn’t keep the association entirely out of his mind.

‘He’s a similar player because he has that innate talent in the final third which is difficult to find,’ Xavi admitted on his debut. ‘He can mark an era at this club as part of this team.’

Yamal is by-no-means ready made: after all, he was born four years after the Barca icon made his first-team debut. When he smiles, fans can catch the metallic glint of braces. He has brought his homework with him to Germany.

But if De la Fuente can harness his boldness and Yamal can rise to the occasion, the teenager has the opportunity to genuinely change the game for his country at the highest level.

Pedri (Barcelona): As bizarre as it sounds, there is something of the veteran about 21-year-old Pedri. Perhaps because he has already been annointed ‘Young Player of the Tournament’, three years ago at the last European Championship.
Perhaps too because of the image of the Barcelona academy graduate taken later that summer which showed him competing with Spain at the Olympics, eyes shaded with heavy purple bags. Simply put, the midfielder has already played an awful lot of football.

But after his eye-catching rise three summers ago, Pedri saw his international and club career fall victim to the stop-start fates of persistent muscle injury, which have kept him from making deep runs with La Roja.

Pedri’s first international goal came with his 20th cap, just last week against Northern Ireland, and will provide a vital mood booster to a player that has struggled at various points over the last three seasons, and is keen to hit form at just the right time in Germany.

Having fallen victim to repeated injuries in the latter half of last season, Pedri fell out of Xavi’s starting pack in Barcelona, but still showed flashes of his glittering talent when called upon. But international duty represents a fresh start, and at the height of his fitness and confidence, Pedri will prove a frightening prospect for Spain’s opponents.

‘I always said Pedri needed to find himself again and he has now,’ De la Fuente said after that final warm-up friendly. ‘The player himself has to take that step forward, to return the confidence shown in him and feel secure so he can show how good he is.’

Fermin Lopez (Barcelona): Two 21-year-old Barcelona talents, two entirely different ways of starting out as a young player. While Pedri made his debut for the Blaugrana at the tender age of 16 – and has been duly impacted under the pressure-cooker environment of European football at the highest level – Lopez has just finished his first full senior season at the club, and has been flourishing.

On the heels of his 13 goal contributions in his maiden campaign for the La Liga giants, Lopez has duly been rewarded with national team honours, but is one of the greenest of De la Fuente’s youthful cohort. Lopez has just one cap to his name, garnered against Andorra at the very start of the month – which saw him find the back of the net in the romping 5-0 victory against the Iberican minnows.

Needless to say, his manager has been impressed enough to include him in the squad in Germany, citing his ‘contagious’ vibrancy.

‘Before coming here I was already clear about the tactical structure and who I was going to call-up. Fermín is pure energy. There are no comparisons to make, but there are things that remind me of Gavi,’ De la Fuente said.

‘He has a very dynamic talent, he links up well, he has an energy that is contagious. I didn’t know him and I loved it. We’re going to see a lot of good things in a short period of time from this player.’

Lopez will be joining a midfield stuffed with talent, including his team-mate Pedri and Manchester City metronome Rodri, but could yet be deployed sparingly in the group stages.

Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao): La Masia may have the monopoly on producing Spain’s seemingly endless supply of young talent, but the 21-year-old’s displays for his hometown club Athletic Bilbao have seen him muscle his way into the squad as one of the junior standouts.

So much so, that Barcelona is one of a number of clubs to have noticed – and placed him on their summer shopping list. Premier League rivals Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham might not make it so easy for the cash-strapped Spanish club, however, with all three keeping an eye on the explosive forward.

If Williams does decide to leave Athletic Club ahead of next season, he will do so having completed a major achievement. Alongside his brother Inaki, Williams won the Basque titans their first silverware in 40 years with their Copa del Rey victory against Mallorca.

Williams was a campaign standout, scoring eight goals across all competitions and racking up a further 17 assists, and as such flew to Germany as one of the more experienced heads among the young players.

De la Fuente will also value his temperament away from the pitch. Williams has been acting as a mentor to Yamal in particular, and has sought to advise him on the pressures of international duty – with all of 14 caps to his name.

‘I try to advise him as well as possible, as my brother has always done with me. We have a good friendship and I try to make sure that he stays calm and focuses on the pitch.’ Williams said.

‘At the end of the day he is 16 years old, he is a good person and a great friend.’

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