The U19 European Championships start this week with Netherlands heading to Greece with a squad packed full of talent. Michael Bell picks his five players from the squad who you should look out for.

  • By Michael Bell
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ould chikh ffBilal Ould-Chikh 

Benfica have already wrapped up the wingers signing from FC Twente for around €700,000, and that may prove to be one of the buys of the summer with the 17-year-old tipped to be one of the stars at the U19 Euros. Last summer Ould-Chikh was helping Netherlands U17’s to the final of the European Championships, and that was followed by 16 eye catching Eredivisie appearances, in which he scored his first and only goal for Twente.

Dubbed the “New Arjen Robben” by some, Ould-Chikh is a quick winger with exceptional dribbling skills, and a low centre of gravity which makes it very difficult for defenders to knock him out his stride. Ould-Chikh can play on both wings, but loves to cut in from the right and shoot with his stronger left foot.

The attacker could switch his allegiances to Morocco, but Ould-Chikh’s exceptional talent will hopefully ensure he is a key member of Netherlands squad for years to come.

paal celKenneth Paal

Georginio Wijnaldum may be leaving PSV this summer, but in Kenneth Paal, PSV Eindhoven already his long term replacement at the club. The 18-year-old has been the gem of the PSV academy over the past few years, making his first team debut last summer and recently committed his future to the club until 2020.

Paal loves to play as an attacking midfielder just behind a striker, but can also sit deeper in midfield and has also been tried out as a winger. The strongest part of his game is his passing and link up play with Paal, just like Wijnaldum, always keen to make darting runs into the box to get on the end of a striker’s knock down. Paal is also a talented free kick and penalty taker.

nouriu19Abdelhak Nouri

Ajax have prevented midfielders Donny van de Beek and Riechedly Bazoer joining up with the U19 squad, but coach Aron Winter will have the hugely talented Abdelhak Nouri at his disposal. The 18-year-old is the latest big talent to come from the Ajax academy, impressing during the UEFA Youth league for the past two seasons, while he was named player of the tournament during the prestigious AEGON future Cup in 2014.

Often compared to Wesley Sneijder and even Andres Iniesta, Nouri is now on the fringes of the Ajax first team, and is tipped to become the next superstar Dutch play-maker in the Amsterdam Arena. Nouri can be deployed as a controlling midfielder or as a number ten, with his superb technique, passing ability and dribbling skills making him an eye catching prospect all over the pitch, while he also excels at set piece situations. For a midfielder Nouri also has a keen eye for goal, scoring five goals in his last six matches for Netherlands U19’s.

van amersfoort enPelle van Amersfoort

The tall forward netted three times during the qualifying stage for the Euros, and with Richairo Zivkovic out of the tournament it will be up to Van Amersfoort to lead the line for Netherlands in Greece.  Heerenveen coach Dwight Lodeweges already sees Van Amersfoort as a key member of their first team squad, with the striker making eleven appearances last season, while also scoring 12 goals for the reserves in 15 games.

At 6ft 3 Van Amersfoort is a commanding presence in and around the box, but the striker isn’t only a battering ram as he also possesses decent pace, and is a good finisher with his right foot, and not only his head. During the qualifiers Van Amersfoort combined well with Nouri and the two wingers on the pitch, and if he can do the same in Greece then it should result in a number of goals.

Netherlands currently has a lack of strikers coming through the academies, but in Van Amersfoort the country has an interesting prospect, who is already being compared to former Heerenveen striker Bas Dost, and former international Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink.

van osch pYanick van Osch

Netherlands have always been able to produce World Class goalkeepers over the years, from Edwin van der Sar to Hans van Breukelen, while recently Jasper Cillessen, Tim Krul and Jeroen Zoet have all emerged. The next big Dutch goalkeeper to come onto the scene is PSV Eindhoven’s Yanick van Osch, who is one of the best young shot stoppers in his age group.

A star at last summer’s U17 European Championships, Van Osch went onto make his PSV Eindhoven debut during pre-season before impressing for the club’s U19 side. Quick, commanding and with great reflexes, Van Osch has another opportunity in Greece to show he is one of Europe’s brightest young keepers, and the next Netherlands great number one.

Other potential stars

Frenkie De Jong: The Willem II midfielder is currently in a transfer tussle between Ajax and PSV after making his first team debut last season. A great defensive midfielder in the making.

Issa Kallon: A pacey Utrecht winger who has been a regular for the U19’s recently. Quick, plenty of tricks, and an eye for goal

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