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Euro 2020 Qualification: 5 youngsters who could impress in this international break

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Top 5 / Top 10
1.03K   //    21 Mar 2019, 16:42 IST

Declan Rice could start ahead of Eric Dier for England
Declan Rice could start ahead of Eric Dier for England

First things first, let's get the hatred for the International break out of the way. Yes, most of football fandom would much rather see the big European leagues and the Champions League head to an exciting finish at this stage of the season, than have to watch International Football.

But, this International Break, we could well see some of Europe's brightest young stars stamp their authority on the international stage, as well. In the previous two international breaks - in October and November - the story was about the brilliant Dutch youngsters.

In a tough UEFA Nations League group that also had France and Germany in it, the Netherlands topped the group, and there were rave reviews for the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt, who had truly arrived on the international stage.

With the qualifiers for Euro 2020 starting during this international break, there are some bright youngsters across the continent looking to make their mark.

We take a look at five of the best


#5 Declan Rice

Fan of the Republic of Ireland? Look away. With good reason, Ireland fans won't take too kindly to Rice's decision to pursue his international future with England, despite winning three caps in friendlies for the Republic in 2018.

But it is also with good reason that Gareth Southgate has gone to great lengths to ensure that the 20-year-old West Ham man committed his international future to England.

When all else seemed lost with his midfield combinations at the start of the season, Manuel Pellegrini decided that, alongside Mark Noble, Rice would be a fixture at the base of the midfield.

The young man hasn't looked back ever since. With Jordan Henderson recovering from an injury, and Eric Dier not having played much recently due to fitness concerns of his own, you'd think the time is ripe for Southgate to blood the youngster in.

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It's not a preposterous suggestion, either. In his tenure as England boss, Southgate has shown that his selections have depended more on form and fitness than reputation. With that in mind, it should not be a surprise if Rice starts at Wembley, when England take on Czech Republic on Friday night.

Rice's simplicity of play - positional ability, the perfect tackles and his strength in the air - will definitely come to use, as Southgate seeks the freedom to move forward from midfield, for the likes of Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard.

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