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Five players to watch at the European Under-21 Championship
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Danny Ryan
Gabri Veiga had an outstanding 2022-23 season at Celta Vigo
Gabri Veiga had an outstanding 2022-23 season at Celta Vigo

The 2023 European Under-21 Championship in Romania and Georgia kicks off on Wednesday afternoon.

There will be a number of the continent's most exciting youngsters on show — and we have cherry-picked five who look primed to shine over the next three weeks.

Morgan Gibbs-White (England)

Nottingham Forest ace Morgan Gibbs-White comes into the tournament on the back of a superb debut campaign with the Tricky Trees.

The 23-year-old scored five goals and notched eight assists, while ranking 11th in the Premier League for chances created (67) and 15th for take-ons completed (50).

Gibbs-White is a serious talent and already has 13 caps for England's U-21s side under his belt, scoring two goals in that time.

If the Young Lions are to triumph at this level for only the third time in their history, the Stafford-born attacker will need to replicate his impressive domestic form.

Morgan Gibbs-White will be a key man for England Under-21s
Morgan Gibbs-White will be a key man for England Under-21s

Gabri Veiga (Spain)

Celta Vigo midfielder Gabri Veiga enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2022-23.

The 21-year-old showed off his lethal nature in the final third by bagging 11 goals — 10 of them from open play — and contributing four assists.

Veiga is not a young Spanish midfielder in the mould of Pedri or Gavi, though. He finished outside LaLiga's top 200 for both passes completed and passing accuracy.

But while he might not dictate matches, the youngster is a quality operator which is why a number of Premier League clubs are keen on him — and his rumoured £34million release clause.

Enzo Le Fee (France)

Enzo Le Fee is the latest French sensation
Enzo Le Fee is the latest French sensation

Lorient star Enzo Le Fee is one of the standout players in an immensely talented France squad.

The 23-year-old, who has scored three goals in seven appearances for the French U-21s side, took Ligue 1 by storm as Les Merlus finished a respectable 10th.

Le Fee scored five goals and assisted five more, while ranking third in the division for tackles (108) — and seventh for both chances created (67) and take-ons completed (68).

A midfield containing the Lorient lynchpin, Nice prospect Khephren Thuram and captain Maxence Caqueret is going to be incredibly tough to stop.

Wilfried Gnonto (Italy)

Wilfried Gnonto is already a regular for Italy's senior side
Wilfried Gnonto is already a regular for Italy's senior side

Italian winger Wilfried Gnonto made quite a name for himself in the Premier League last season.

Despite playing in a Leeds team that were relegated to the Championship, the 19-year-old impressed with two goals and four assists from 24 appearances.

And the teenage sensation is already established on the international stage, having played 11 times for the Azzurri's senior side.

The ex-FC Zurich flyer has made a habit of terrorising full-backs in his short career so far — and expect him to do the same this summer.

Zeno Debast (Belgium)

Zeno Debast is one to watch
Zeno Debast is one to watch

Anderlecht centre-back Zeno Debast is one of the hottest defensive prospects on the continent.

The young Belgian is a regular at club level, featuring in 34 games for the Brussels outfit last season.

Debast has already played three times for Belgium's senior team and looks set to be a permanent fixture in that squad for the foreseeable future.

He will keep things tight at the back, while Lens striker Lois Openda will try to wreak havoc at the other end.


Gabriel VeigaCelta VigoMorgan Gibbs-WhiteNottingham ForestDegnand Wilfried GnontoLeeds UnitedEnzo Le FeeLorientZeno DebastAnderlechtSpainEnglandItalyFranceBelgium
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