The u19 European Championships begins this week in Georgia with Netherlands facing Germany, England and Bulgaria in a tough looking group. Michael Bell picks five of the young Oranje stars to watch during the tournament.

Ferdi Kadioglu

One of only two players in the squad to have broken into their club’s first team, the supremely talented Ferdi Kadioglu will look to put the disappointment of being relegated with NEC behind him to be the creative force for Netherlands. The 17-year-old was one of the only shining lights in Nijmegen last season, scoring four goals in the Eredivisie including a stunner against Utrecht. The midfielder is an excellent dribbler on the ball with excellent vision and a fierce strike from distance. Ajax are reportedly courting his signing this summer, and a good performance in Georgia will only accelerate his departure from NEC.

Javairo Dilrosun

The left winger was regarded as one of the special talents coming through at Ajax before he decided to leave for Manchester City in 2014. Now 19, Dilrosun is a regular in the Premier League giants reserve side and was a star for their U19’s in the UEFA Youth League last season, providing four assists and one goal during the tournament. Dilrosun is an extremely quick and direct winger, who will be one of Netherlands biggest threats during the tournament. Dilrosun will be looking to impress clubs this summer with a loan move away from Manchester City set to be on the cards so he can finally get some first team action.

Che Nunnely

Ajax’s academy provides five players to the squad, with exciting right winger Che Nunnely possibly the pick of the bunch. The 18-year-old has a big reputation in Amsterdam and is considered to be in line for his first team debut next season if he can impress for Jong Ajax in the Eerste Divisie. Nunnely provided 11 assists and nine goals for Ajax’s U19’s last season and showcased his supreme talent in the UEFA Youth League. He may not be as explosive as Dilrosun, but Nunnely is an excellent dribbler with bags of tricks and a low centre of gravity.

Joel Piroe

Piroe’s breakthrough has been years in the making with the striker linked with several of Europe’s biggest sides since he turned a teenager. Now 17, Piroe is on the cusp of breaking into the PSV first team and is already a regular at Jong PSV, scoring twice in eleven Eerste Divisie appearances last season. A strong and powerful striker, Piroe has a lethal left-foot and a real goalscoring instinct in the box. Coach Maarten Stekelenburg is set to pick Piroe to lead the line over Jay-Roy Grot, who was a regular in the NEC first team last season.

Teun Koopmeiners

The first team at AZ may have had a poor season but below that there is real excitement in Alkmaar about a group of youngsters coming through at U21 and U19 level. Jong AZ eased to the second division title with a side packed with talent, but only one of those makes it into the final Netherlands U19 squad. At 19, Koopmeiners is one of the experienced members of the squad and he will be a leader on the pitch, acting as vice-captain to goalkeeper Justin Bijlow. A battling defensive midfielder, Koopmeiners is a sharp tackler but also technically excellent on the ball.

Others to watch

Noa Lang: A technically exciting central midfielder who recently signed a long-term deal with Ajax. Excelled in the UEFA Youth League last season, scoring a stunning goal against Real Madrid.

Justin Bijlow: The talented Feyenoord goalkeeper will captain the Netherlands at the tournament.

Jay-Roy Grot: Was a regular for NEC in the Eredivisie last season, scoring five times. He is a big and powerful forward, who is reportedly close to joining Fiorentina.

Rodney Kongolo: The brother of Feyenoord defender Terence, Kongolo left Feyenoord at a young age to join Manchester City. A talented defensive midfielder, who will be back up to Koopmeiners.




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