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10 young players who could make an impact in the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League

Erling Haaland is one of the most sought-after players in world football
Erling Haaland is one of the most sought-after players in world football
ANALYST
Modified 06 Nov 2020, 15:32 IST
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The UEFA Champions League is the blue riband event of European club football which is contested by the top 32 clubs in the continent.

Over the years, many fine players have made their mark in the Champions League. A certain Wayne Rooney marked his debut in the competition with a hat-trick almost one-and-a-half decades ago.

More recently, Norwegian teen Erling Braut Haaland introduced himself by scoring a hat-trick on his Champions League debut last season to become only the ninth player in competition history to do so.

Ten young players to look forward to in the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League

Despite a belated start to the 2020-21 Champions League season owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, the latest edition of the competition has not ceased to produce enthralling games and sizzling player performances galore.

On that note, let's have a look at ten young players who could make an impact in the 2020-21 edition of the UEFA Champions League.

#10 Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax)

Ryan Gravenberch
Ryan Gravenberch

Ryan Gravenberch is the latest prospect to emerge from Ajax's famed De Toekomst academy.

The versatile central midfielder, who can also operate as a defensive midfielder, became the youngest debutant in the history of Ajax when he appeared in the truncated 2019-20 Eredivisie season.

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Although he doesn't contribute a lot in the attacking third, he provides stability to the team in the middle of the pitch, where his composure belies his 16 years of age.

Gravenberch has made three appearances in the Champions League this season. He is yet to make a goal contribution but given his positional awareness and versatility, he could be one of the players to watch out for in the latest edition of the annual club competition.

Former Netherlands international Ronald de Boer has opined that Gravenberch is a more promising prospect than Matthijs de Ligt when he said:

"Matthijs might have been exceptional at that age, but Gravenberch has unrivalled qualities."

#9 Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund)

Giovanni Reyna
Giovanni Reyna
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Giovanni Reyna is one of the most promising American football players to have emerged in recent years.

After arriving at Borussia Dortmund last summer, Reyna has often been compared with his more illustrious compatriot Christian Pulisic for their similarity in playing styles and for taking the route from the MLS to the Bundesliga.

Reyna has already scored three goals and provided seven assists in 29 games in all competitions for the Bundesliga club. The 17-year-old attacking midfielder is yet to open his account in five games in the Champions League but has already provided an assist in the competition.

Dortmund managing director Carsten Cramer believes that the club won the lottery when they landed the precocious Reyna:

"His potential is huge. Just like Christian (Pulisic), he is not only an outstanding footballer, but also a really good guy. For us, it is a six in the lottery in terms of sport and marketing. But the latter component was not decisive for us in bringing in the boy. We do not commit to deals according to nationality or marketing value, but according to sporting criteria."
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After making 17 appearances in his debut season last campaign, Reyna has had more game-time at Dortmund this season, and it may not be long before he makes an impact in the Champions League.


#8 Eduardo Camavinga (Rennes)

Eduardo Camavinga
Eduardo Camavinga

Eduardo Camavinga, who is touted as a generational talent, plies his trade for Ligue 1 club Rennes.

In his first season as a professional, the Angola-born French midfielder played a key role in the Ligue 1 side, who finished third in a truncated season to qualify for the Champions League.

The 17-year-old has impressed with his versatility, which allows him to be deployed across a bevvy of positions in the middle third of the pitch. However, goal-scoring is one area where he could improve - Camavinga has scored just twice in 52 appearances in all competitions for the club.

Nevertheless, the teenager, who became France's second-youngest goalscorer ever, could come of age in the ongoing edition of the Champions League.

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#7 Eric Garcia (Manchester City)

Eric Garcia
Eric Garcia

Eric Garcia was reportedly one of Barcelona's most sought-after targets in the summer transfer window before Manchester City pulled the plug on the move.

There was good reason why the Cityzens did not want to let Garcia go. Under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola. Garcia exhibited defensive maturity that was beyond his years compared to that of the John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi, while forging a formidable central defensive partnership with Aymeric Laporte.

With the player opting to stay back at the club for at least another season, he could well be the defensive bulwark for a team looking to be the newest Champions League winners this season.

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Published 06 Nov 2020, 15:15 IST
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