hosts of players arrive at the Euros off the back of stellar seasons with their clubs, but nothing boosts a reputation like lighting up an international tournament.

Jack Rosser assesses the prime candidates to steal the show this summer…

Kylian Mbappe (France)

Age: 22; Caps: 44; Goals: 17

The French wonderkid has already made quite the mark on one international tournament, starring as a 19-year-old when France won the World Cup in 2018.

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Since that triumph in Russia, the forward has got even better and has achieved a frankly rather depressing amount for his age when compared to us mere mortals. Mbappe is the first player to really challenge the duopoly of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of football and is never cowed by the grand occasion.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward is the jewel in the crown of an exceedingly talented France squad and will be relishing the chance to shine in another final this summer.

Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)

Age: 29; Caps: 80; Goals: 21

After years of promise, Belgium are looking for something tangible this time, and the Manchester City playmaker is key to that goal.

Manager Roberto Martinez is unsure when De Bruyne will come into the action after suffering facial fractures against Chelsea in last month’s Champions League Final in Porto, but when he does arrive the midfielder will certainly have his say.

De Bruyne is easily one of the most rounded players at the tournament, capable of dictating a game, fighting a physical battle and packing his own punch in front of goal. His fitness will concern Belgium fans, but he is more than capable of controlling the later stages should he make it.

AFP via Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Age: 36; Caps: 175; Goals: 104

Success with his country means more to Ronaldo than any other trophy won across his illustrious career. Portugal arrive as the holders at what will almost certainly be the 36-year-old’s final European Championship and the Juventus forward will feel he has some unfinished business.

Ronaldo spent most of the final in 2016 shouting from the sidelines having been forced off injured after just 25 minutes. Regardless of his age Ronaldo is capable of leading a very talented squad back to the final once more, only this time he will want to leave his own lasting mark.

Robert Lewandowski (Poland)

Age: 32; Caps: 119; Goals: 66

The Bayern Munich talisman seems to be getting better with age and is fresh from breaking Gerd Muller’s near half-century Bundesliga goalscoring record with 41 in a season.

Prior to last Tuesday’s game against Iceland, the Pole had scored at least once in 14 straight games for club and country. If Lewandowski gets the service he needs, Poland could be one of the surprise packages.


Lorenzo Insigne (Italy)

Age: 30; Caps: 41; Goals: 8

Roberto Mancini has the Italians on top form once more, and Insigne will be brimming with confidence.

The Napoli forward is coming off the back of his most productive season in Serie A with 19 goals, more than double the eight he managed in the previous campaign. Insigne has never quite lived up to expectation in an Italy shirt.

However, his performances have picked up under Mancini, and last week he scored his first international goal in 18 months when, on his 30th birthday, he struck in the 4-0 rout of Czech Republic.

Harry Kane (England)

Age: 27; Caps: 54; Goals: 34

The England captain arrives at the tournament in fine fettle and with a new pair of golden boots to celebrate finishing top of the goalscoring charts in the Premier League this season.


Bold footwear must be backed up with substance on the pitch but with Kane completing one of the most fearsome forward lines of all the nations, goals can be expected.

The wantaway Tottenham striker has assured the nation he will park any questions over his future for the duration of the tournament, with his focus solely on walking out at Wembley on July 11 for the final.

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