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Youngest Players To Have Played at the Euros

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The Youngest Players to feature at the European Championships

The European Championships take place in Germany this summer with the whole world eager to see which players will impress and which teams will make their mark on the tournament in general. International tournaments are usually the time for youngsters and prodigal talent to make their mark on the world stage.

In Euro 2004, Wayne Rooney was undoubtedly the star of the tournament as the 18-year-old introduced himself to the world and then in future Manchester United made the decision to sign the Englishman after a stellar campaign.

Young players of any promise will be hoping for a surprise call-up as a trust of faith by the manager. Sometimes those players won’t get minutes and are used just for tournament experience, but some make an impact for their national team straight away.

Here are some of the youngest players to feature at the European Championships:

Youngest Player to appear in the tournament – Kacper Kozlowski

Kacper Kozlowski is the youngest player to ever feature at the European Championships. The Polish midfielder, who currently plays for Brighton and Hove Albion, broke the record which had just been set by England’s Jude Bellingham six days prior.

Kozlowski was a second-half substitute for Mateusz Klich in their group-stage game at Euro 2020 and when he made his debut, he was 17 years and 246 days old. Kozlowski could be on the plane to Germany in the summer, having contributed seven goals in 29 appearances whilst on loan at Vitesse Arnhem.

The midfielder has made six appearances for his national side since 2021 and has yet to score an international goal.

Youngest Goalkeeper to Appear – Jose Angel Iribar

Young goalkeepers are a common theme when it comes to international squads for international tournaments. In the last European Championships, we saw 21-year-old Gianluigi Donnarumma win the player of the tournament and was vital in Italy’s triumph as they secured their second European Championship.

Donnarumma isn’t the youngest goalkeeper to appear however, that accolade falls to former Athletic Bilbao player Jose Angel Iribar. In 1964, the tournament was only competed by four teams and the goalkeeper made his tournament debut against Hungary in the semi-final. His debut was the youngest for a goalkeeper to appear at 21 years and 108 days.

Four days later, Iribar became the youngest winning goalkeeper as Spain beat the Soviet Union 2-1 to win their first European Championship.

Youngest Player to Score – Johan Volanthen

Euro 2004 was the tournament for Wayne Rooney as mentioned but one player who achieved a notable record ahead of Rooney in that tournament was Switzerland midfielder Johan Volanthen.

Rooney broke the record for youngest goal scorer with a brace against Switzerland in the second group game for England. With the headlines all about Wayne Rooney, Johan Volanthen stole the record from Rooney four days later against the pre-tournament favourites France in the final group game.

Volanthen scored the only goal for Switzerland in a 3-1 loss but ultimately the Swiss midfielder’s record is yet to be broken. Volanthen’s goal was scored when the midfielder was 18 years and 141 days.

Youngest Player to appear in the knockout stage – Jude Bellingham

Wayne Rooney held this record from Euro 2004 after his appearance in the quarter-finals against Portugal. This record changed hands three times at Euro 2020 as a host of young talent introduced themselves to the world stage.

Pedri was the first player to hold the record in that tournament with his appearance in the round of 16 against Croatia. Jamal Musiala then gained the record only a day later for Germany in their round of 16 clash against bitter rivals.

However, the record falls to Jude Bellingham.

Bellingham was making his international tournament debut that summer and the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder has a record of 18 years and four days for when he appeared during England’s 4-0 win over Ukraine in the quarter-finals.

Youngest Player to appear in a final – Renato Sanches

Renato Sanches may have not lived up to the reputation that his early career may have suggested. The Portuguese midfielder is currently on loan at A.S. Roma from Paris Saint Germain but in 2016 he announced himself on the world stage.

Sanches was called up as a prospect that could feature heavily for Portugal in that tournament. The midfielder made his competitive debut against Iceland in the opening game and would play his part later in the tournament.

Sanches contributed to the only goal of the game against Croatia in the round of 16 and in the quarter-final he broke Cristiano Ronaldo’s record as the youngest Portuguese player to feature in a knockout game. Sanches scored the equaliser in the quarter-final against Poland and through his performances he was awarded the Young Player of the Tournament. He made his final appearance at 18 years and 328 days.


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Can Lamine Yamal break records this summer?

The one player who is likely to break many appearances records this summer is Spain forward Lamine Yamal. The current Barcelona forward is the current recipient of the inaugural Tuttosport Youngest Award, which is awarded to the youngest nominee of the Golden Boy award.

Yamal is highly likely to feature in the 26-man squad for Spain this summer following his performances in his debut season for Barcelona. The Barcelona forward has nine goal contributions in 35 matches this season and at 16 years of age, he is already one of the brightest talents in world football.

When the tournament begins, Yamal will still be 16 years of age and will remain so until one day before the final on the 14th of July. If Yamal makes an appearance in the opening game of Spain’s campaign, he will shatter the record currently held by Kacper Kozlowski.

Yamal has featured in the most recent Spain squads and the youngster scored twice in four qualifying games for the European Championships.