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Ten Under-17 stars to watch

Published: Saturday 18 May 2013, 17.00CET
With Europe's premier talent on display in Slovakia at the UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals, UEFA.com picks ten potential stars to watch out for in the future.
by Ian Holyman & Richard Binks
from Slovakia

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Published: Saturday 18 May 2013, 17.00CET

Ten Under-17 stars to watch

With Europe's premier talent on display in Slovakia at the UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals, UEFA.com picks ten potential stars to watch out for in the future.

Fabian Fellmann (goalkeeper, Switzerland)
Already a star performer en route to the finals, his country's opening-game defeat to Sweden would have been heavier but for the FC Zürich goalkeeper. He produced a stunning save from Valmir Berisha's point-blank header before denying Gustav Engvall what would have been a contender for goal of the tournament. Fellmann capped his tournament by brilliantly turning aside an Adrian Grbic free-kick against Austria.

Anton Mitryushkin (goalkeeper, Russia)
When UEFA President Michel Platini handed over the trophy to the Russia captain, the precious piece of silverware was in safe hands. The 17-year-old conceded just a single goal in 400 minutes of tournament football, and produced a fine save allied with a clinically converted penalty in the nerve-fraying shoot-out win in the semi-final with Sweden. Crucially, he turned aside three Italy penalties in the final to earn his country a second U17 continental title.

Elio Capradossi (defender, Italy)
Looked unruffled throughout, whether dealing with an aerial bombardment, or with the slick passing interplay displayed by the likes of Croatia. The AS Roma man glides over the turf gracefully, and was always in the right place at the right time. Often stepping out of defence to start attacks from the back, the No5 also displayed a nose for goal, hitting crucial strikes in the final group game against Russia and in the semi-final to end the tournament as equal top scorer.

Dzhamaldin Khodzhaniyazov (defender, Russia)
Looking far more comfortable on the ball than a towering centre-back has any right to, the FC Zenit St Petersburg man was ever present for his country. Getting their campaign under way with a delicate free-kick against Ukraine, the defender displayed a calm head and expert positioning throughout as he formed a powerful partnership with Aleksandr Likhachev, which saw Russia concede just one goal in the final tournament.

Atila Varga (defender, Slovakia)
Given the illustrious list of centre-backs to have already worn the black-and-white shirt of Juventus, the Italian team clearly know a thing or two about picking out defenders, and the hosts' 17-year-old suggested the Serie A champions have not lost their touch. Assured on the ball and firm in the tackle, Varga inspired his team, even sparking the comeback from 2-0 down to draw with Switzerland with a crucial goal just before the break.

Sascha Horvath (midfielder, Austria)
The pint-sized FK Austria Wien schemer was industry and inspiration itself throughout his country's three Group A encounters. Tipped as a potential star of the tournament, Horvath did not perhaps have quite the impact expected. However, the fact he played every single minute of Austria's campaign from the qualifying round to their fine 2-1 defeat of Switzerland in their final group game is indicative of his importance in coach Hermann Stadler's set-up.

Mario Pugliese (midfielder, Italy)
The heartbeat of the Azzurrini side, the diminutive midfielder never stopped in the centre, scrapping in defence and joining attacks with lethal results. A leader on the pitch, constantly delivering instructions and constructing the play around him, the No4's added-time goal against Ukraine started the Italian momentum in the competition, and his opener in the semi-final set his team on the way to the showpiece. He proved an all-action presence, who balanced energy expertly with technique.

Olexandr Zinchenko (midfielder, Ukraine)
They may have lost all three group games, but for long spells in the matches against Russia and Italy, Olexandr Holovko's men were the better side. In fact they went ahead against the Azzurrini and Croatia, and looked particularly dangerous going forward, with Zinchenko at the heart of everything good. With deft feet, the FC Shakhtar Donetsk man was able to get up to top speed in the blink of an eye, tearing away from his marker with the ball glued to his boot time and again.

Alen Halilović (forward, Croatia)
Unable to guide his side to the semi-finals, the GNK Dinamo Zagreb forward nonetheless impressed in all three group games with electric runs and incisive vision. A scorer from the penalty spot in the win against Ukraine, the No10 went close numerous times, creating chances for himself with slaloming runs from the halfway line which left a string of confused defenders in his wake.

Gustav Engvall (forward, Sweden)
The IFK Göteborg striker's finesse, allied with his battering-ram physique, made him a formidable spearhead for the final tournament first-timers. His tireless harrying of opposition back fours often proved an effective first line of defence, while his winner against Switzerland – a deft toe-poked finish – betrayed a keen nose for goal. His audacious half-volley from just inside the Swiss half, which was brilliantly saved, and a carefully crafted semi-final header that struck a post enhanced the already positive impression he had made.

This list has been determined by UEFA.com reporters working at the tournament. The UEFA Technical Team will produce an official squad of the tournament as part of their technical report on the finals.

Last updated: 17/05/14 15.42CET

http://www.uefa.com/under17/news/newsid=1952183.html#ten+under+stars+watch

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