The Best Players to Watch in the UEFA Youth League

Josh Sim
Aug 17, 2020, 3:00 PM GMT+1
Sontje Hansen is one of the must-watch players in the UEFA Youth League
Sontje Hansen is one of the must-watch players in the UEFA Youth League / Soccrates Images/Getty Images
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With the Champions League and Europa League recently producing some dramatic, jaw-dropping moments, you'll be forgiven for not knowing that the UEFA Youth League has resumed its 2019/20 tournament in Nyon.

After Inter and Real Madrid booked their places in the last eight on Sunday, we've next got the quarter finals to look forward to. They start on Tuesday afternoon, with the first match-up pitting Danish club FC Midtjylland against Ajax.

For those of you in the UK, you can catch all of the games on BT Sport 2, while UEFA.tv are streaming the games live for everyone around the world.

If you need a list of names to keep an eye on during the tournament, we've got you covered, with seven to keep tabs on...

1. Sontje Hansen

Sontje Hansen has already played senior football for Ajax
Sontje Hansen has already played senior football for Ajax / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Having already made his senior debut for Ajax, expectations are high for Sontje Hansen, who's established himself as one of the brightest talents in world football.

Able to play anywhere in attack, he's pacy and loves to take his opponents on using his terrific dribbling ability. The 18-year-old emerged on the radar of many after finishing as the Golden Boot winner at the 2019 Under-17 World Cup, scoring six goals to help the Netherlands make the last four.

With Manchester City rumoured to be interested in signing him and Antoine Griezmann a noted fan of his skills, Hansen will be a must-watch in Nyon.

2. Karim Adeyemi

Karim Adeyemi is a highly sought-after talent
Karim Adeyemi is a highly sought-after talent / David Geieregger/Getty Images

The highest scoring team in the competition, RB Salzburg have plenty of exciting talent in their ranks, and Karim Adeyemi could be the brightest of them all.

Skilful and unpredictable, the forward has been a key contributor for Die Mozartstädter by creating for his teammates and finishing chances himself. His great performances led to first-team manager Jesse Marsch selecting him for ten Bundesliga appearances; the teenager duly showed he belonged by notching up a goal and three assists.

With Barcelona keeping tabs on his progress, Adeyemi is clearly destined for big things and is on track to follow his ex-teammate Erling Haaland's path to the top.

3. Antonio Blanco

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Few midfielders have a more complete skillset than Antonio Blanco, who is fast becoming a favourite among fans of Real Madrid's youth teams.

The Spaniard is an excellent passer who is entrusted by club legend and now Under-18 manager Raúl to set the tempo for his team in possession. He was recently immense in making vital interceptions and snuffing out any attacks launched by Juventus in their round of 16 tie.

Many have already called him the natural successor to Brazilian star Casemiro in the first team, and if he continues to develop physically there's no reason why he can't take over the number six role eventually.

4. Youri Regeer

Youri Regeer is among the top scorers of the Youth League so far
Youri Regeer is among the top scorers of the Youth League so far / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Another starlet to emerge at Ajax, Youri Regeer is fast becoming one of the star players of the Youth League so far, with his five goals being the joint third-highest tally in the competition.

Primarily used as a playmaking midfielder, the youngster has shown he's potent in front of goal as Valencia found out when he netted a hat-trick against them. He's confident in his on-ball skills as well, with his creativity and dribbling being particular strengths of his game.

Only 16 years old, Regeer has already made three appearances for the club's Under-21 side, making him a future star to watch going forward.

5. Gonçalo Ramos

Ramos is among Benfica's brightest young talents
Ramos is among Benfica's brightest young talents / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Benfica's youth academy is quickly becoming recognised as one of the best in the world - and with players like Gonçalo Ramos in their ranks, it's easy to see why.

Calm and ruthless in the box, the striker is a poacher who's always a threat for opposition defenders. He's already made his mark on the international stage too, with his four goals for Portugal in the Under-19 European Championships earning him the tournament's Golden Boot.

Having scored twice on his first-team debut in just five minutes, Ramos is destined for first-team football and will get another chance to impress manager Jorge Jesus in Nyon.

6. Sergio Arribas

Arribas has starred for Real's Juvenil A side this season
Arribas has starred for Real's Juvenil A side this season / TF-Images/Getty Images

Los Blancos have a knack for producing exciting attacking midfielders, and Sergio Arribas is the latest player tipped to break through.

The 18-year-old has the ability to create attacking opportunities out of nothing, as well as scoring them himself with his magical left foot. He's also willing to constantly drive his team forward and use his clever movement to force his opponents out of position.

If Real are to go far in the tournament, you can expect Arribas to be a key contributor, especially in the final third.

7. Joško Gvardiol

Gvardiol is a rock at the back for Dinamo Zagreb
Gvardiol is a rock at the back for Dinamo Zagreb / Emma Simpson/Getty Images

A composed centre back, Joško Gvardiol's impressive displays resulted in him making 12 appearances for Dinamo Zagreb's first team last season.

The Croatian is also able to play at left back and boasts an excellent passing range that helps his side overcome any opposing press in their own half. He's also tenacious in his tackling and has even been compared to Sergio Ramos for the similarities in their respective playing styles.

With three clean sheets in their last five Youth League games, including in a 1-0 win over City, Gvardiol's defending will be key for his team's chances of winning the tournament.

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