While Danny Welbeck was the undoubted emerging star to shine in England’s 2-0 victory over Switzerland, the recent round of international fixtures has offered up plenty in the way of players to watch for the future.
Whether you are a fan of France, Finland, Albania, Australia or Russia, here are five of the big names making waves for their respective national sides.
Roman Eremenko – Finland
At 27-years-old, it’s something of surprise to pick Eremenko among any list of up and coming stars from across the continent, but then the Finnish playmaker is facing arguably the biggest two-year period of his career to date.
Once touted as a star of the future, the former Udinese youngster has been in something of a footballing wilderness with spells at Dynamo Kiev and Rubin Kazan. Signed by CSKA Moscow over the summer, Eremenko looks in great form and could be key to Finland’s Euro 2016 hopes, as demonstrated by a fine all-round performance against the Faroe Islands.
Joshua Brilliante – Australia
Brilliante made national headlines after sealing a surprise switch to Italy with Serie A up and comers Fiorentina. Capable of playing out wide on the right or in a more central role, the 21-year-old put in a solid display during La Viola’s 2-0 loss to Roma at the weekend.
Back on duty for the Socceroos in midweek against Saudi Arabia, the midfield dynamo was in imperious form for the national side, setting up Mile Jedinak for Australia’s second in a 3-2 victory for Ange Postecoglou’s men. One to watch!
Remy Cabella – France
Paul Pogba may have won many of the plaudits with Les Bleus’ opening goal in the 1-1 friendly draw with Serbia on Sunday night but the man who laid on the goal for the Juventus midfielder, Cabella, deserves equal credit.
The 24-year-old started for France with Didier Deschamps sending out a clear message that he sees the winger as the natural successor to the recently retired Franck Ribery. Cabella repaid that faith with a fine assist from a corner and there could be more to come.
Bekim Balaj – Albania
The 23-year-old grabbed the global football headlines on Sunday with a sensational volleyed winner for minnows Albania in Portugal. Still young, the forward may have failed to make the grade in Turkey as a teenager with Genclerbirligi but on the basis of this goal could go far.
Signed by Slavia Prague over the summer, Balaj has already racked up two goals in five games and after netting his first goal from just five caps for the national side, he could be the man to spearhead a shock qualification campaign.
Artem Dzyuba – Russia
Russia’s version of Peter Crouch could be set for a season to remember, after netting for the national team in a comfortable 4-0 victory over qualification whipping boys Liechtenstein. Standing tall at 6ft5in, the 26-year-old will be a major asset at the Euros and could well come of age in time for the 2018 World Cup on home soil.
Currently on the books of Spartak Moscow, Dzyuba couldn’t have made a better start to the season, having scored four goals in just two Russian Premier League appearances so far this term – don’t be surprised to see him topping the scoring charts at the end of the campaign.
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