Wanner, Zaire-Emery and the wonderkids to watch at the Under-17 European Championship

Paul Wanner Bayern Munich 2021-22
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The tournament gets under way in Israel on Monday, with some of the continent's top teenage talents keen to impress and lead their countries to glory

Usually an annual tournament, the Under-17 European Championship has not taken place since 2019, making this year's edition particularly special.

The finals, which are being held in Israel, get under way on Monday, May 16, with potential stars of the future appearing in pretty much every one of the 16 squads.

The likes of Wayne Rooney, Jadon Sancho, Toni Kroos, Cesc Fabregas and Mario Gotze have previously been named Player of the Tournament, meaning there is plenty of scope for the stars of the 2022 competition to reach the very top.

But who are the players to watch out for? GOAL and NXGN have picked out 17 potential stars of the future who will be on show over the next two weeks...

  1. Isaac Babadi (Netherlands)
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    Isaac Babadi (Netherlands)

    The defending champions from 2019, the Netherlands will again be among the favourites in 2022, with Isaac Babadi likely to be one of their leading lights.

    Not since Memphis Depay was breaking through has there been this much excitement at PSV surrounding one of their academy stars, with Babadi having dominated at U18s level in 2021-22, despite not turning 17 until early April.

    The attacking midfielder who plays either off the left or centrally as a No.10, also made his debut for Jong PSV in the Dutch second tier at the start of 2022, and has already caught new PSV first-team manager Ruud van Nistelrooy's eye in Eindhoven.

  2. Tom Bischof (Germany)
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    Tom Bischof (Germany)

    Only one player scored more than Bischof's six goals in qualifying for the tournament, with the Germany midfielder a player many are tipping for a huge career.

    Already the youngest player to ever debut for Hoffenheim, the 16-year-old recently signed a new contract with his boyhood club to ward off transfer interest from leading teams in both Germany and around Europe.

    Julian Nagelsmann has twice tried to sign Bischof, first at RB Leipzig and most recently for Bayern Munich, but both times he has missed out on the left-footed No.10, who can also play as a box-to-box midfielder.

  3. El Chadaille Bitshiabu (France)
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    El Chadaille Bitshiabu (France)

    Bitshiabu has stood out ever since he arrived at PSG due to his height, but the centre-back certainly has the ability to match his physical traits.

    The youngest player in the history of the Ligue 1 champions after debuting in December, he will turn 17 on the opening day of the tournament in Israel.

    A lack of further first-team exposure could lead Bishiabu to leave Parc des Princes this summer, with Bayern Munich, Manchester City and RB Leipzig having been credited with interest, but first expect him to be the standout defender at these U17 Euros.

  4. Iker Bravo (Spain)
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    Iker Bravo (Spain)

    Regarded as the best striker within La Masia when he left Barcelona in the summer of 2021, Bravo has already made his mark for Bayer Leverkusen in his debut campaign in Germany.

    The 17-year-old broke Florian Wirtz's record as Bayer's youngest-ever debutant in October, and made his Bundesliga bow a month later, highlighting why he chose to further his career in Leverkusen rather than be forced to wait for his opportunities at Camp Nou.

    He will lead the line for Spain at the U17 Euros, and will be expected to combine with his former Barcelona team-mate Dani Rodriguez in attack for La Roja.

  5. Fabio Chiarodia (Italy)
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    Fabio Chiarodia (Italy)

    Italy are, of course, famous for producing defenders, and in Chiarodia they look to have another potential star centre-back on their hands.

    The 16-year-old was part of a defence that only conceded once in six qualifying matches, and that came in the fourth minute of stoppage time in a 3-1 win over Ukraine in their final qualifier.

    Born in Germany to Italian parents, Chiarodia has already become Werder Bremen's youngest-ever player, while Chelsea and Juventus are watching his progress closely.

  6. Luca Di Maggio (Italy)
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    Luca Di Maggio (Italy)

    Inter are relatively well-stocked in central midfield at senior level, but they also have a potential star coming through their youth ranks in the shape of Di Maggio.

    The 17-year-old can play anywhere in the middle of the pitch, and is expected to dictate the tempo for both club and country with his passing and dribbling ability.

    Di Maggio is also dangerous when standing over a dead ball, as he showcased when scoring a free-kick against Ukraine in qualifying.

  7. Dario Essugo (Portugal)
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    Dario Essugo (Portugal)

    Essugo has spent the entire season playing for Portugal's U19s, but has dropped down for this tournament as the young Selecao aim to add to their six previous U17s Euros triumphes in 2022.

    The 17-year-old went viral in March 2021 when he broke down in tears on the pitch after becoming Sporting C.P.'s youngest-ever player, and he has continued to make sporadic first-team appearances for the Lisbon outfit.

    An athletic defensive midfielder who can dictate play with his passing, Essugo has been linked to Borussia Dortmund in recent months, and other elite European clubs are likely to use this competition as a scouting opportunity.

  8. Arijon Ibrahimovic (Germany)
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    Arijon Ibrahimovic (Germany)

    Though no relation to Zlatan, Bayern Munich attacking midfielder Ibrahimovic does not - much like his namesake - lack for self-confidence, and he tends to back that up with performances on the pitch.

    The 16-year-old has been a standout performer at U19s level in Germany this season, and made the first-team bench for the first time in January having impressed Julian Nagelsmann in pre-season training.

    Most comfortable playing off the left-hand side, Ibrahimovic is largely noted for his ability to assist goals, though he did also score three times for Germany in qualifying.

  9. Stanis Idumbo (Belgium)
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    Stanis Idumbo (Belgium)

    Ajax do not sign just any youth players, so when they moved for Stanis Idumbo in April 2021, it confirmed what many believed about the then-Gent playmaker: that he is a truly top talent.

    The 16-year-old impressed for much of his first season in Amsterdam, and now will be expected to pull the strings for Belgium at this summer's Euros.

    He will certainly be familiar with the players he is expected to service with chances, having played alongside strike duo Mika Godts and Malick Fofana while at Gent.

  10. Gabriel Misehouy (Netherlands)
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    Gabriel Misehouy (Netherlands)

    Ajax's conveyor belt of homegrown talent is showing no sign of slowing down, with Misehouy the standout in a clutch of players within the Netherlands squad who play their club football for the Dutch champions.

    A central midfielder who can play as a No.8 or a No.10, the 16-year-old has already played in the Dutch second tier on a number of occasions for Jong Ajax.

    Chelsea and Manchester City have been linked with him in the past, and it seems only a matter of time before he is performing regularly at the Johan Cruyff ArenA.

  11. Dzenan Pejcinovic (Germany)
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    Dzenan Pejcinovic (Germany)

    The top goalscorer in qualifying for the tournament, Pejcinovic netted 11 times in just six games for Germany, including three hat-tricks.

    The 17-year-old, who plays his club football for Mainz, has been likened to Robin van Persie in some quarters, and is a good bet to win the Golden Boot at the Euros.

    He is also out of contract this summer, and with elite clubs from around Europe tracking his progress, the tournament promises to offer Pejcinovic the ideal stage to impress potential suitors.

  12. Rodrigo Ribeiro (Portugal)
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    Rodrigo Ribeiro (Portugal)

    The youngest player to ever appear in the knockout stages of the Champions League, Ribeiro will lead the line for Portugal in Israel after breaking into the Sporting C.P. squad.

    The 17-year-old scored five goals in qualifying, including a hat-trick against Finland in March, and has been linked with Borussia Dortmund through the second half of the season.

  13. Zidan Sertdemir (Denmark)
    Bayer Leverkusen

    Zidan Sertdemir (Denmark)

    Sertdemir is another player who has dropped back down from the U19s for this tournament, and will look to lead Denmark towards the title over the next fortnight.

    Bayer Leverkusen fought off fierce competition from the likes of Arsenal to sign the attacking midfielder in the summer of 2021, and has since become the youngest league debutant in the Bundesliga outfit's history.

    Named after France legend Zinedine Zidane and likened to Kai Havertz, it remains to be seen how much Sertdemir will be able to contribute in Israel, having been out of action since February with a groin problem.

  14. Mathys Tel (France)
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    Mathys Tel (France)

    Following in the footsteps of Ousmane Dembele and Eduardo Camavinga, Tel is the latest revelation to emerge from the Rennes academy, with an increasing number of French football experts tipping him to become a superstar.

    Not too long ago a central defender, the 17-year-old has developed into an all-round striker, and is already the youngest debutant in Rennes history.

    He already has 10 first-team appearances to his name, and is likely to cause problems for opposition defenders with both his pace and physical presence in Israel.

  15. Paul Wanner (Germany)
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    Paul Wanner (Germany)

    The youngest player in Bayern Munich history, Wanner has already had a memorable 2022, and much will be expected of him as Germany head into the U17s Euros as favourites.

    The 16-year-old, who has been likened to Mesut Ozil for his playmaking ability, spent the majority of the second half of the season training with Julian Nagelsmann's squad, and made a total of four appearances in the Bayern first team before the season was out.

    He will join Tom Bischof and Sidney Raebiger in midfield this summer, with all three having made their Bundesliga debuts in 2021-22.

  16. Rory Wilson (Scotland)
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    Rory Wilson (Scotland)

    With new Liverpool signing Ben Doak unavailable due to injury, Scotland's hopes of going deep in the tournament will rest heavily on the shoulders of Rory Wilson.

    The 16-year-old scored six goals in qualifying, and has netted over 40 times for Rangers' youth sides over the course of 2021-22.

    He looks set to leave Ibrox this summer, however, after rejecting the offer of a professional contract, and there are a host of English clubs now battling to secure his signature in the coming weeks.

  17. Warren Zaire-Emery (France)
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    Warren Zaire-Emery (France)

    Despite being up to four years younger than the rest of the players on the pitch, Zaire-Emery was a star for PSG in this season's UEFA Youth League, as he ran matches from central midfield.

    The 16-year-old has, as a result, been marked out as one of the most talented players among those born in 2006 anywhere in the world.

    Bayern Munich have already shown interest in signing him, with the hope they can offer Zaire-Emery a clearer path to first-team action than is available to him at Parc des Princes.