5 best U-23 players from Poland & Croatia
UEFA Euro 2016 demonstrated the degree of competitiveness in the continent and, Croatia and Poland were in the thick of it as both the nations made it past the group stages before being knocked out by tournament winners Portugal in the pre-quarters and quarters respectively.
The Polish and the Croats have shown that they have what it takes to compete with the powerhouses in Europe as they are blessed with some exceptional footballers. Some of their stars ply their trade with the biggest clubs in Europe and names like Robert Lewandowski, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic are more than just familiar for football fans.
Also read: 5 best young talents from Belgium
The people of Croatia and Poland will be hoping that their team’s performances in the previous European championship was just a sign of things to come and they have every reason to hope so. Both the nations doesn’t have a dearth of talent as they have some fine young players coming through the ranks. These youngsters have already found themselves in the top tiers of European football and this piece mentions five of the best among them.
#5 Ante Coric (Dinamo Zagreb, 19)
The lanky youngster is labelled as one of the hot prospects in Europe and he has the eyes of the European elite on him. Coric currently plays for Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb and the 19-year-old is one of the first names on the team sheet of his side making 21 appearances in all competitions for the club this season.
The Croat plays in the number ten role for his club but is versatile enough to play as a typical number eight as well. He is a delight to watch when on the ball as he leaves defenders for dead using his agility and sudden burst of pace.
His passing is majestic and he is calm and composed while in possession of the ball. Coric has drawn comparisons with compatriot Luka Modric as his physique and style of play are similar to the Real Madrid superstar.
The 19-year-old has always ignored offers from the biggest clubs in Europe ever since he was a 12-year-old. Back then, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Chelsea were battling it out to lure him to their respective youth academies but the Croat decided to join the academy of Red Bull Salzburg in Austria. He then moved to Dinamo Zagreb in 2013, saying no to the big boys again, and there were rumours linking him with a move to Liverpool in the previous summer transfer window but Coric decided to stay at his current club.
However, he might be playing his last season in the Croatian top flight as a move to one of the top clubs is beckoning and it will be really interesting to see who wins the race for his signature.