Eleven young stars of the 2017/18 #UEL

Some of the continent's finest young players have shone in this season's UEFA Europa League; are these the best of them?

Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma showed his class
Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma showed his class ©Getty Images

This is an edited version of an article that appeared in the official UEFA Europa League final tournament; buy your copy here.

Gianluigi Donnarumma
AC Milan, goalkeeper, 19
An assured presence between the Rossoneri sticks since making his debut at 16 in 2015, Donnarumma impressed in his first European campaign. Still a teenager, the stopper kept three clean sheets prior to a last-16 exit to Arsenal.

Ademola Lookman
Everton, forward, 20
Lookman was one of few bright spots for Everton during a torrid group stage, scoring twice in the club's only win – a 3-0 at Apollon Limassol. Quick and capable of playing anywhere in attacking midfield, the London-born forward scored on his Bundesliga debut after joining Leipzig on loan.

Lyon prospect Houssem Aouar
Lyon prospect Houssem Aouar©AFP/Getty Images

Houssem Aouar
Lyon, midfielder, 19
Good enough to keep Memphis Depay out of the Lyon forward line at times, Aouar was on target against Everton in the group stage. His effortless technique has invited comparisons to Andrés Iniesta.

Highlights: Cutrone scored twice in Milan's group-stage win against Austria Wien.
Highlights: Cutrone scored twice in Milan's group-stage win against Austria Wien.

Patrick Cutrone
AC Milan, forward, 20
An old-fashioned centre-forward in the style of Filippo Inzaghi – his former coach in the Milan youth ranks – Cutrone scored twice in UEFA Europa League qualifying and continued to impress in the competition proper, not least with his group-stage double against Austria Wien.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles
Arsenal, midfielder, 20
Maitland-Niles featured as left-back in the group stages, before moving into central midfield for the 3-0 last-32 victory at Östersunds: "It's his natural position," said Arsène Wenger. "Defensively he's quite strong and he's got good acceleration."

Upamecano impressed in the Bundesliga and in Europe in his second season with Leipzig.
Upamecano impressed in the Bundesliga and in Europe in his second season with Leipzig.©Getty Images

Dayot Upamecano
RB Leipzig, defender, 19
After leaving Valenciennes for Salzburg in 2015, the Frenchman followed the well-trodden path to Leipzig a year and a half later. After a period of adaptation in his first season, the centre-back has excelled for the German club.

Highlights: Haidara inspired Salzburg's famous quarter-final comeback against Lazio.
Highlights: Haidara inspired Salzburg's famous quarter-final comeback against Lazio.

Amadou Haidara
Salzburg, midfielder, 20
A star as Salzburg lifted the UEFA Youth League last season, Haidara made the step up alongside his coach, Marco Rose, this term. Scored the second goal in the memorable 4-1 win against Lazio in the quarter-finals, and then found the net against Marseille in the semis.

Mikel Oyarzabal
Real Sociedad, midfielder, 21
Lining up on the left and boasting a keen eye for goal, the winger made a splash during his maiden European campaign, scoring the first goal in La Real's 6-0 win at Vardar and a late goal at Rosenborg to secure a place in the knockout rounds.

Tsygankov: the new Gareth Bale?
Tsygankov: the new Gareth Bale?©AFP/Getty Images

Viktor Tsygankov
Dynamo Kyiv, midfielder, 20
"Dynamo's future," according to former coach Serhiy Rebrov, the Israel-born winger – likened to Gareth Bale – provided three goals and three assists during Dynamo's UEFA Europa League bid, including the opener in a 2-2 draw at Lazio.

Tanguy Ndombele
Lyon, midfielder, 21
Having played second-tier football last season, midfield general Ndombele has been tipped as "the next Michael Essien". Ran the show in January's memorable Ligue 1 win against Paris and headed the opening goal against Villarreal in the round of 32.

Rodri Hernández
Villarreal, midfielder, 21
Villarreal were eliminated in the last 32
, but the elegant holding midfielder left a lasting impression. Learning alongside Yellow Submarine skipper Bruno Soriano – his childhood idol – Hernández made his full Spain debut in March.

This is an edited version of an article that appeared in the official UEFA Europa League final tournament; buy your copy here.

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