5 lesser-known players who have impressed at Euro 2016
International tournaments have always been a stage for lesser known players to make a name for themselves. The pride of representing your nation at such a big stage can always get the best out of any player.
With teams having battled to get through to the round of 16, there were a few, like the Umbro supported Republic of Ireland, who made it at the last minute, while others like Spain and Italy had clinched their spots in the first two matches itself.
These matches saw some great performances from players who were expected to shine, but there were also a few who impressed everyone despite not being thought of as standouts.
We take a look at the top 5 lesser-known players who've impressed at Euro 2016 so far -
Republic of Ireland made history on Wednesday night after their 1-0 win over Italy, as they progressed to the knock-out stages of the tournament for the first time ever. Robbie Brady scored the winner for the Irish, but Jeff Hendrick’s endeavour and invention have taken everyone by surprise.
The 24-year-old has played every minute of the tounament so far, and has been a vital player for Martin O’Neill’s team. He has been a leader in the middle of the park, and is always seen demanding the ball. Against Belgium, when they were suffering, Hendrick was often seen fighting for the ball, and urging his teammates not to give up.
The Republic of Ireland fans have been the loudest at the Euros, cheering their team on, sporting the team’s royal green jersey designed by Umbro and they created an intimidating atmosphere that helped their team soldier on and defeat Italy.
Manager O’Neill brought in a new central defensive pairing of Shane Duffy and Richard Keogh for the match against Italy, and they didn’t disappoint. Keogh, who sports the Umbro Medusae, a shoe that helps aid mobility and is yet lightweight, was very good on the night and helped shutout Italy.
Ireland face France in the Round of 16, and the hopes of several Irish fans are once again on the shoulders of the Derby County midfielder. They’ve surpassed all expectations, and anything from now will be icing on the cake.