Sports fans using new online casinos USA will be aware that the European Championship has been delayed by 12 months until the summer of 2021, but that could be good news for Portugal. Manager Fernando Santos is blessed with several young and talented players that appear ready to break through and make an impact at the tournament.

No Seleção fan will forget the crucial roles played by Renato Sanches, João Mário and Raphaël Guerreiro in the Euro 2016 triumph, who were 18, 23 and 22 years old respectively at the time. Here are six players who will be aiming to make a similar impact when Portugal defend the trophy in one year’s time. 

 

Diogo Jota

Diogo Jota is the most likely to become a regular starter after another highly productive season with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League. The 23-year-old is a little different from other forwards in and around the national set-up, swapping flair and agility with a determination, balance, and strength that enables him to hold off defenders and make things happen in the final third.

Jota has only made two appearances for Portugal, but he could be a perfect foil for Cristian Ronaldo at Euro 2021 next summer. The former Porto player is also a threat in front of goal having netted 32 times in 107 appearances for Wolves during the last three seasons. Another solid campaign should be enough to secure Jota a place in the squad, but with the likes of João Félix and André Silva in advanced positions, he might need a stellar season to persuade Santos he is deserving of a starting role.

 

Daniel Podence

Another Wolves player, Daniel Podence, will also hope to break into the Portuguese set-up during the next 12 months. Still, he faces a more difficult task than Jota after a challenging start to life in the Premier League. The 24-year-old has made just five appearances since moving from Olympiakos in a £16.9m deal in January.

Podence is a gifted winger, as evidenced by his excellent displays with the Greek side earlier in the season. He scored against Spurs in the Champions League and was a regular provider of assists. He has received an international call-up but has yet to make his debut for the senior Portugal team, having made nine appearances for the U21s. Podence will need a great 2020/21 season to earn a place in the squad ahead of other attacking talents.

 

Rafael Leão

Dubbed the ‘Portuguese Mbappe,’ Rafael Leão is pushing for an international call up after a solid debut season with AC Milan in Serie A. Leão can play anywhere across the front three but arguably excels as a centre-forward where his strong six-foot two-inch physique and incredible pace allows him to pull off the shoulder of central defenders.

The 21-year-old does need to improve his return in front of goal, having scored only five times in 25 appearances for Milan in 2019/20, albeit most of those matches were from the substitutes’ bench. However, another eye-catching campaign in Italy’s top division could be enough for him to break into Portugal’s main squad after three years in the U21 side.

 

Rúben Vinagre

Left-back is one of the positions where Portugal is a bit lighter on quality, beyond the talented Raphael Guerreiro. Guerreiro’s injury record is patchy at best, and the forward-thinking Dortmund player is often deployed in midfield. One youngster who could deputise for him is Rúben Vinagre, who also plies his trade for Wolves.

The 21-year-old is not yet a regular starter at Molineux, but he has shown flashes of quality during his appearances in the Premier and Europa League. Vinagre only has one U21 cap, so he may need more time to improve his game with a view to a call-up for the World Cup 2022 squad. A Euro 2021 appearance could be possible if he kicks on quickly.

 

Francisco Trincão

Barcelona surprised many by paying €31 million to sign the exciting attacking midfielder in the January transfer window, immediately loaning him back to Braga. He had just turned 20 years old, but Trincão’s scintillating form and goalscoring exploits since suggests it is money well spent.

Blessed with fabulous dribbling skills, an ability to progress the ball up the pitch, unusually well-tuned decision making for such a young player, and an eye for goal – often of the spectacular nature – should Trincão break into the Barcelona team he will surely be a strong contender for a squad place at minimum at Euro 2021.

 

Diogo Leite

There is a great deal of excitement about the potential of young Porto centre-back Diogo Leite, although he has only played a handful of games for his club side thus far. Rúben Dias and Pepe are likely to be the two main central defenders for the Seleção at Euro 2021, but there is not a great deal of competition in this area.

Leite, 21, has represented Portugal at every youth level and could potentially step up if he delivers on his early promise in the coming months. Veteran defender Pepe recently described Leite as the “best central defender” in the country.

 

Comments (10)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

There is an overwhelming feeling of pride and happiness when I read an article like this! Love to see such good form across the world, hope it continues!

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The youth competitions I saw with Rafael Leao he was on another level with his athleticism. Definitely needs to improve end product, but that can come with playing time and coaching. Hope AC Milan provides that to him. Having Zlatan as a mentor...

The youth competitions I saw with Rafael Leao he was on another level with his athleticism. Definitely needs to improve end product, but that can come with playing time and coaching. Hope AC Milan provides that to him. Having Zlatan as a mentor doesn’t hurt.

Diogo Liete looked a great prospect. Central defender is always a tough position to develop. Takes a high football IQ, instinct and experience to read the game. If he goes somewhere on loan, I hope it’s with his development in mind and not someone’s wallet/pockets.

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players are with minimal playing time. They good for backup bench. Portuguese players need to start playing more physical game. Not dribbling and trying to score skills.

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Diego Jota IMO is not national team material, not even a back up. I watch him play at Wolves, poor decision making, with lack of composure around the goal, no consistent final product, and not athletic usually makes a mess of things. If he is...

Diego Jota IMO is not national team material, not even a back up. I watch him play at Wolves, poor decision making, with lack of composure around the goal, no consistent final product, and not athletic usually makes a mess of things. If he is in the discussion that means we have lack of quality not because of his merits.

Daniel Podence should not be in any discussion for the national team, again shows lack of options.

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Leite, Trincão and Vinagre.
Jota will get some games at some point but no idea if he'll take his chance or not.
Leão is really raw but hopefully Rangnick will develop him.

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@Tony

I’m a little confused about your analysis of Jota, it’s funny because I feel the exact opposite as you do about him. I can see some of what you’re saying but when you call him not athletic that’s ridiculous. He’s extremely quick, I rarely...

@Tony

I’m a little confused about your analysis of Jota, it’s funny because I feel the exact opposite as you do about him. I can see some of what you’re saying but when you call him not athletic that’s ridiculous. He’s extremely quick, I rarely if ever see defenders catch up to him so I guess that leads to this point. What’s athletic to you? Certainly Andre Silva isn’t nearly as fast as Jota is, he’s bigger sure but he’s not nearly as skilled on the ball or as quick off the ball making runs behind defenders. Jota is 23 years old too, most of what your criticism is based on will be fixed with experience and playing in the EPL on a top 6 team is the best experience possible. In my opinion the epl is head abs shoulders above any other league in terms of competitiveness every week. Anyways, I’d really like to see Leao become more selfish and take over games but as it stands today, in my opinion, Diogo Jota is definitely the best Portuguese forward we have and with Ronaldo being a statue these days, we need guys like Jota to run around him and draw defenders away.

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All good banter and with respect, you are a knowledgeable and long time contributor. IMO being quick does not make you a good athlete, it certainly is an attribute of a good athlete. I know guys who are fast but never were good athletes. Jota...

All good banter and with respect, you are a knowledgeable and long time contributor. IMO being quick does not make you a good athlete, it certainly is an attribute of a good athlete. I know guys who are fast but never were good athletes. Jota can't jump, can't use his right foot, seen him in front of goal get all twisted up, does not have any agility or ability to adjust, he is just a sprinter. He has no great technical skills.

He is 23 years old, has played in England for 3 years he is no longer a teenager I don't buy he needs more experience. I have seen no growth in his game. Can we agree he is inconsistent and streaky? If the Wolves start to upgrade he will be an odd man out on the front line. I think at best a mid-tier club EPL player, I hope I am wrong, I don't see upside. Let's compare notes in 5 years. Cheers!

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mourinho described Jota as an unstoppable train and he outclassed tottenham...he has made alot of teams including liverpool look silly with runs from his half with ball all the way into their box with multiple defenders around and either creating...

mourinho described Jota as an unstoppable train and he outclassed tottenham...he has made alot of teams including liverpool look silly with runs from his half with ball all the way into their box with multiple defenders around and either creating or taking a chance consistently....he just needs to work on composure in front of goal and some decision making....super athletic and like a brick...defenders in epl bounce off this guy.

Rafael leao can do things very few players can do technically and his size...wow and he is 20...if he can show more initiative and keep developing into a 9 then the sky is the limit...remember he started as a mid then a winger and only really this season as a 9...in italy which is not easy....you can see his most effective games are coming off the wing to central positions....he is suited to rangnicks style similiar to klopp where the front 3 are fluid.

Trincao is outstanding....trickery, technical, production, arrogance...reminds me more of a young figo/giggs-left footed than anything else...hopefully he can hit ground running at barcelona....

Leite, Carmo, Djalo are 3 young centerbacks with potential...tricky position...time will tell if they hit the heights

Good news is that portugal is producing lots of talented players.

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@tony

I agree with a lot of what you’re saying and I don’t believe that Jota is the best striker on the planet over here. I think of this situation more in terms of who else do we have? I’ve never been an André Silva fan, I’m not even sure if...

@tony

I agree with a lot of what you’re saying and I don’t believe that Jota is the best striker on the planet over here. I think of this situation more in terms of who else do we have? I’ve never been an André Silva fan, I’m not even sure if it’s because I don’t think he’s good, I think it’s more because with Ronaldo being an automatic starter, I think André Silva even being 10 years younger isn’t as dynamic as Ronaldo today. So I look for players around Ronaldo since he’ll always be the focal point and I think we need speed around him and that is something Jota has. When you watch the big clubs in Europe that are successful, they have target players and speed and movement players around them. Munich has Lewandowski accompanied by coman, Liverpool has firmino with Salah and mane, city has aguero with sterling and mahrez, Barca had/has Suarez with Messi and Neymar, etc. if you watch Barca now you can really tell that Neymar was a huge piece because of his movement and ability to unsettle defenses and now Barca is a shell of themselves. Even Juventus today isn’t very good because they play Higuain and Ronaldo simultaneously. Higuain and Ronaldo is basically André Silva and Ronaldo and that tandem wouldn’t win champions leagues. Before this gets too long, I just think we need speed around Ronaldo if for nothing else to draw fouls around the box. Defenders hate speedy wingers and they have a tendency to foul them, Jota actually gets fouled often in key positions. Historically Portugal seems to struggle to score goals from open play and we need all of the opportunities we can get.

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Trincao and Leao both have high potential. Leao has everything to be a top striker as long as he remains focused and does not focus on partying and chasing Italianas.

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“The key was the togetherness of the squad. The way we believed in ourselves at a difficult time – after the game against Braga we were a considerable distance behind – but it was essential we kept the belief in what we were doing.”

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