2013 UEFA European U-21 Championship: Future Stars to Watch in Israel

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2013

The lights are shining bright on young Spanish phenom Isco.
The lights are shining bright on young Spanish phenom Isco.David Ramos/Getty Images

The UEFA European Under-21 Championship provides the perfect forum for young talent to showcase their goods and give fans a taste of what could lie ahead.

Eight nations will display the best of their future crop of prospects in the tournament, which commenced on Wednesday. Although the successful countries will leave feeling better about their future World cup chances, this fixture is about the players.

The U-21 Championship offers a great scouting mine to identify future stars, who can set up a nice pay-day down the road with a strong showing in Israel.

These players in particular are worth monitoring. 


Lorenzo Insigne (Italy)

One of the building blocks of Italy's squad, Lorenzo Insigne quickly made his presence felt by notching the game winning goal in its opener.

The converted free kick gave Italy a victory over England and hopefully a sign of things to come. 

Long disregarded for his small size, the 5'4" attacker makes up for his height deficiency with superb quickness and smooth dribbling ability. Mentored by Zdenek Zeman, Insigne is quickly becoming a master of controlling the ball and setting up his teammates.

With Napoli, Insigne notched five goals and seven assists through 16 Serie A matches last season. While small in stature, Insigne's skills are boundless. 


Isco (Spain)

Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez, known to many as Isco, is ready to steal the show.

Winner of the 2012 Golden Boy award, the Spanish sensation has been singled out as a future superstar, and it's easy to see why everyone is so enamored with his game.

The 21-year-goal scored nine goals in 36 La Liga matches and continued to demonstrate his cunning footwork in Spain's first match against Russia. His knack of crossing over unexpected foes made many on the Germany side look foolish.

Potential suitors will line up for Isco, with The Sun reporting Manchester City as a possible landing spot for the Malaga youngster. He'll likely only spike the interest in U-21 play.


Alan Dzagoev (Russia)

Attacking midfielder Alan Dzagoev made a name for himself at Euro 2012, but don't expect him to stop there.

Dzagoev netted two goals against the Czech Republic and also scored three goals in eight goals with CSKA Moscow. Well-versed at functioning between the lines, Dzagoev can also finish with authority.

The 22-year-old is one of Russia's most promising stars with immense playmaking ability. He could easily lure everyone into falling in love with him all over going by again shining on the grand stage.