The European Championship always throws up surprises, and we have been blessed once again to see a plethora of household names strut their stuff on the big stage. Yet at the same time, there are plenty of breakout players who have already made a big impact.
Evidently, the breakout stars of Euro 2020 emanated from predictable places like Italy and the Netherlands. But who could earn a big-money move this summer, and which breakout players made us sit up and take notice? We will run through four of the breakout stars who came to the fore during the Euros group stage.
Denzel Dumfries (Netherlands)
While his rise to the top was far from meteoric, Denzel Dumfries was terrific during the group stages for the Netherlands, and he has seized his chance with both hands. In his first Euros, Dumfries took to things like a duck to water.
The 25-year-old marauding right-back slotted into Frank de Boer’s 5-3-2 system seamlessly, providing energy and dynamism. He loves to get forward at every opportunity, and he was been mesmerising at Euro 2020.
During the group stages, he contributed two goals, and he also weighed in with two assists against the Ukraine. Dumfries was on the pitch for 225 minutes of the group campaign, and he completed 76% of his passes. He also boasts an incredible work rate too, covering just shy of 27km.
Manuel Locatelli (Italy)
Italy were relatively unfancied in the Euro 2020 betting outright winner market before the tournament began, but they were faultless during the group stage. Roberto Mancini’s troops picked up a maximum of nine points in Group A, scoring seven goals in the process.
Manuel Locatelli, in particular, was intelligent with his movement. The midfielder isn’t renowned for his scoring prowess, but he netted twice in the 3-0 victory over Switzerland, and he combined well with Ciro Immobile.
Locatelli is the kind of player that likes to keep things simple, and with a 92% passing accuracy during the group stage, he certainly impressed. Juventus have been keeping tabs on the Sassuolo man, and he could earn a dream move once the Euros are over.
Robin Gosens (Germany)
While he may appear to be something of a journeyman footballer, Robin Gosens has been an unlikely hero for Germany. Against Portugal on Matchday 2, Gosens produced a vibrant display. The Germans were slick and ruthless in attack, and they had Gosens to thank for that.
The left wing-back closed the space well next to Antonio Rüdiger, and he produced a man-of-the-match display which was crowned with a thundering header past Rui Patricio. Although Gosens has taken a rather circuitous route to reach the Euros, he certainly belongs on the big stage.
Jeremy Doku (Belgium)
There was a time when many would fear Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation’ would fizzle out. That perhaps seemed apt after Euro 2016, but at Euro 2020, Jeremy Doku has made a name for himself.
Fans caught a serious glimpse of what Doku can produce during Belgium’s 2-0 Group B win over Finland. He was a constant threat, turning defenders inside and out, and he’s not afraid to get a shot off. He may only be 19 years old, but he has the world at his feet.