Stocks Rising: 3 Players who have Impressed at the Euro's
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Stocks Rising: 3 Players who have Impressed at the Euro's

29/06/24 14:38

The Euro’s is a chance for every player to announce themselves, especially if they are relatively obscure to the tournament's wider audience. This year’s edition has been no different, and here are three players who well and truly grasped their opportunity, and have seen their stock rise as a result of their performances in the group stages.

Georges Mikautadze - FC Metz (loan from Ajax) - Age: 23

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Scoring 13 times and assisting on 4 more occasions despite playing just 20 league games, he single handedly provided Metz with a second chance of staying up after finishing 16th, in the Ligue 1/Ligue 2 playoff spot. Although they did end up losing 4-3 over the course of two legs, Mikautadze scored yet again, and after averaging a goal every 135 minutes for a struggling team in France’s top division, he has surely given parent club Ajax a serious decision to make over their striking options next season.

After such an outstanding season, his performances for Georgia should come as no surprise to those who followed him at Metz. His tenacious pressing, positive approach, clinical finishing and excellent decision making have been on show for all to see, and valued at just £15 million on website transfermarkt, that figure is sure to go close to doubling after such an impressive performance on the international stage. Still only 23, and with three goals at the tournament, this guy has the potential to be playing alongside some star names as soon as next season.

Bradley Barcola - Paris St Germain - Age: 21

Untitled design (1).jpg Barcola has been on the fast track to stardom since the January of 2023, when Laurent Blanc arrived at Olympique Lyon as their new coach. He started introducing the then 20-year-old to the starting lineup regularly, and Barcola quickly flexed his muscles and showed frequent flashes of seemingly limitless potential, peaking when he scored the only goal of the game against French juggernauts PSG in April. That performance and moment convinced the defeated giants to take him off of Lyon’s hands for the not insignificant price of 45 million euros.

Barcola has gone from strength to strength since the move, playing 42 games in his first season with PSG, scoring five goals and setting up nine more. Considered a surprise inclusion in the French Euros squad, he is lower in the pecking order than he would like, though not entirely without merit. Players like Mbappe, Griezmann, Coman and Dembele will all naturally start ahead of him in knockout games, and even players like Kolo-Muani and Thuram occasionally start on the left wing, Barcola’s natural position. However, he did get a start against already eliminated Poland in a rotated France squad, and capitalized brilliantly. His superb close control and rapid acceleration and change of direction gave the Polish backline nightmares, and despite not contributing to a goal, it was a standout performance alongside the typically brilliant Mbappe.

This showing deserves at least a cameo in the knockout stages, and although it is unlikely to happen given the incredibly tough draw France find themselves in the middle of, those who watched the game against Poland all made a mental note to themselves: “Remember the name - Bradley Barcola.”

Anatoliy Trubin - Benfica - Age: 22

Untitled design.jpg Brought into the Ukraine starting 11 after Real Madrid keeper Andriy Lunin had a shocker in their opening 3-0 defeat against Romania, Trubin well and truly steadied the ship, conceding just one goal in his nation’s comeback victory over Slovakia, and gave them the best possible chance to qualify for the knockout stages, which they missed out on by the barest of margins. Having been brought in by Benfica at the start of last season to provide competition for Odysseas Vlachodimos, who had been the starting goalkeeper since the 2018/19 season, Trubin quickly brushed him aside and asserted himself as the new number one, and did so with with ease, recording a save percentage across the Liga Nos season of 79.6%, 2% higher than anyone else in the league.

Displacing a fan favorite at club level is hard enough, but to displace the international number one, a regular starter for Real Madrid throughout last season through the absence of Courtois, would have seemed impossible prior to the tournament. But Trubin has done both within a year of each other, the latter being on Europe’s biggest stage. Aged 22, he is exceptionally young for such a top class keeper, and his calm and collected persona in the high pressure environment of international competition will have watching clubs purring. Ukraine may have gone home, but Trubin’s name will be better remembered for it.

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Harry Pascoe

Football Writer

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