The 21 players who will light up Euro 2024

Phil Foden
Phil Foden is the Premier League's player of the year - Getty Images/Boris Streubel

The European Championship is just around the corner and, as ever, the tournament will provide a number of players a platform to earn worldwide recognition, secure legacies and even a summer move.

Telegraph Sport selects the players to keep an eye on in Germany...

Florian Wirtz (Midfielder, Germany)

Florian Wirtz
Florian Wirtz - Getty Images/Boris Streubel

The 21-year-old has had a wonderful season in Bayer Leverkusen’s all-conquering side in the Bundesliga and was voted player of the year in Germany. Big things are expected of him in the Euros.

Nico Williams (Winger, Spain)

Nico Williams
Nico Williams - Getty Images/Alexander Scheuber

Another 21-year-old, the Athletic Bilbao wide player is one of the most coveted in Europe. A very direct and dangerous wide player, Newcastle United and Chelsea are just two of the Premier League clubs who have scouted him regularly.

Luka Modric (Midfielder, Croatia)

Luka Modric
Luka Modric - Getty Images/Vera Loitzsch

The grand old master is still making things tick in the middle of the pitch. Has just won his 26th major trophy in the Champions League final with Real Madrid, but this will surely be his last appearance at a major tournament. Enjoy him while we still can.

Harry Kane (Striker, England)

Harry Kane
Harry Kane - Getty Images/Boris Streubel

Having moved to Bayern Munich to win some silverware, the England captain ended up trophyless in his first season in Germany. But he had a phenomenal goalscoring campaign in the Bundesliga and England are among the favourites to win the Euros. Could this be the moment he ends his long wait for a winner’s medal to go with all the individual awards?

Benjamin Sesko (Striker, Slovenia)

Benjamin Sesko
Benjamin Sesko - Getty Images/Karl Bridgeman

A former wonderkid on the computer game Football Manager, countless bedroom experts have been following his career with interest ever since. He is staying at RB Leipzig this summer despite interest from Arsenal and Chelsea, but this will be a chance for a global audience to see what all the fuss is about.

Gianluca Scamacca (Striker, Italy)

Gianluca Scamacca
Gianluca Scamacca - Getty Images/Tullio Puglia

The type of lethal striker Italy have been crying out for, the Atalanta striker will go into the tournament having just picked up a Europa League winners medal after leaving West Ham. Premier League clubs will be watching the 25-year-old closely this summer and so should you.

Lawrence Shankland (Striker, Scotland)

Lawrence Shankland
Lawrence Shankland - Getty Images/Alex Pantling

At every tournament, someone who might be loosely termed as a journeyman footballer rises to prominence and the 28-year-old, former Queen’s Park, Aberdeen, Ayr United and Dundee United striker might just be that guy. Scotland are not blessed with attacking talents, but he has been prolific for Hearts in the SPL and has been tipped to join one of the big two in Scotland this summer.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Forward, Portugal)

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo - Getty Images/Aitor Alcalde

Continues to be on a one-man mission to delay the ageing process and is now playing his football in a very lucrative but far more low-key league in Saudi Arabia. He will want to make a big impression on another major tournament to cement his legacy. It would be foolish to write off the 39-year-old.

Rasmus Hojlund (Striker, Denmark)

Rasmus Hojlund
Rasmus Hojlund - AFP/Thomas Traasdahl

There were some flashes of real promise in his first season at Manchester United, but also enough insipid performances for people to question the 21-year-old’s £72 million price tag. This is another important building block for him as he looks to prove he can be United’s main striker over the next few years.

Toni Kroos (Midfielder, Germany)

Toni Kroos
Toni Kroos - Getty Images/Boris Streubel

A World Cup winner with Germany who has written the perfect end to his own script at club level with a La Liga and Champions League double with Real Madrid. Still a superb player, can he head into retirement as a European champion too?

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Winger, Georgia)

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia - Getty Images/Pat Elmont

The Napoli winger has impressed a host of top European clubs and was key to their league-winning campaign last season. Whether he remains in Italy after a disappointing defence of their title remains to be seen. This is an ideal shop-window moment.

Xavi Simons (Forward, Netherlands)

Xavi Simons
Xavi Simons - Getty Images/Lukas Schulze

The 21-year-old is coming off the back of a remarkably productive first season in the Bundesliga with RB Leipzig. The former Barcelona player can play out wide or through the middle and his precocious talent will be integral to the Netherlands’ chances of reaching the latter stages of the tournament.

Warren Zaire-Emery (Midfielder, France)

Warren Zaire-Emery
Warren Zaire-Emery - AFP/Franck Fife

The production line in France continues to produce a steady supply of phenomenal players and the 18-year-old, who came through the system at Paris St-Germain, looks like another superstar in the making. Shone domestically and in Europe for his club and this will be a chance to prove himself on the international stage.

Joao Neves (Midfielder, Portugal)

Joao Neves
Joao Neves - Getty Images/Aitor Alcalde

Benfica are one of the best selling clubs in Europe and they have another precious jewel on their hands in the form of this majestic 19-year-old. Manchester United have been heavily linked with making a bid this summer. Widely considered to be the future of Portuguese football.

Alejandro Grimaldo (Full-back, Spain)

Alejandro Grimaldo
Alejandro Grimaldo - Getty Images/Alexander Scheuber

Another key player in the magnificent Bayer Leverkusen side, having arrived from Benfica, the 28-year-old has been thrust into the international spotlight and will be expected to have the same impact on his national side as he has at his club. Creative going forward and strong in defence.

Phil Foden (Forward, England)

Phil Foden
Phil Foden - Getty Images/Boris Streubel

The Premier League’s player of the year at the end of what many felt was a coming-of-age campaign for the 24-year-old at club level. Has not yet transferred his league form on to the international stage and questions will be asked of manager Gareth Southgate if this generational talent does not deliver this summer.

Romelu Lukaku (Striker, Belgium)

Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku - Getty Images/Vera Loitzsch

The Belgians have struggled with the golden generation tag as badly as the England team of the 2000s before them. And it is their centre-forward who seems to be a lightning rod for much of the tournament-failure criticism. This is perhaps the final chance for the 31-year-old to score the goals to win his country a trophy.

Mykhailo Mudryk (Forward, Ukraine)

Mykhailo Mudryk
Mykhailo Mudryk - Reuters/Kacper Pempel

The golden boy in a national team that is playing for a nation fighting for its survival in the brutal war with Russia. As we saw with Oleksandr Usyk against Tyson Fury, that is a powerful motivation in the sporting arena. There were signs he was finding his feet at Chelsea towards the end of the season and this feels like a big moment for the 23-year-old.

Hakan Calhanoglu (Midfielder, Turkey)

Hakan Calhanoglu
Hakan Calhanoglu - Getty Images/Guido De Bortoli

Has been a key player for Inter Milan for the past few years, was voted the best midfield player in Serie A last season, and is the star player for Turkey. Good on the ball, the 30-year-old makes things happen in the middle of the pitch and is a potent goal threat.

Giorgi Mamardashvili (Goalkeeper, Georgia)

Giorgi Mamardashvili
Giorgi Mamardashvili - Getty Images/Pat Elmont

The only goalkeeper on this list, and the fact Georgia have two players on it shows why they are playing in their first major tournament. Valencia are likely to sell the giant 23-year-old this summer but the £40 million fee has put people off so far. Should he star at the Euros, that reluctance will change quickly.

Kylian Mbappe (Forward, France)

Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe - AFP/Jean-Christophe Verhaegen

At the age of 25, there are no surprises left when it comes to the superstar of French and probably European football. But to achieve greatness he needs to back up an impressive World Cup with Euros glory before he heads to Real Madrid next season.