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One to watch: Albania's Elseid Hysaj

Right-back Elseid Hysaj reportedly has several admirers among Europe's elite clubs and is enhancing his reputation further at UEFA EURO 2016. Fatjon Pandovski introduces the 22-year-old.

Elseid Hysaj in action at UEFA EURO 2016
Elseid Hysaj in action at UEFA EURO 2016 ©AFP/Getty Images

Name: Elseid Hysaj
 Club: Napoli
 Position: Defender
 Nationality: Albanian
 Date of birth: 2 February 1994
 Preferred foot: right
Height: 182cm

They say ...
"He's a fantastic defender who can play on the right or the left. He is very dynamic and has great technical ability."
Albania coach Gianni De Biasi

Background ...
Born in Shkoder, close to the border with Montenegro, Hysaj was brought up by his mother and grandparents before his father, working as a bricklayer in Italy, asked his son to join him across the Adriatic to pursue his football. The 14-year-old soon linked up with Empoli, making his first-team debut aged 17. After two seasons in Serie B and one in Serie A, he signed for Napoli in 2015. He made his Albania debut at 19.

Hysaj on Albania's 'amazing' fans
Hysaj on Albania's 'amazing' fans

Playing style ...
A fearless, attack-minded full-back, the 22-year-old is already a key man for Napoli and Albania. He has good vision to pick out crosses and hit long-range passes, as witnessed against Switzerland on Saturday. But first and foremost he is a defender, blessed with pace and a good reading of the game. "He is very intelligent, very balanced," said De Biasi. Consistent too: Elseid missed just one match this season as Napoli finished runners-up to Juventus.

Shades of ...
Classy and comfortable on the ball while being unremitting without it. Fans of a more mature vintage should think of Germany's Stefan Reuter, the former Nürnberg, Bayern, Juventus and Dortmund player.

Areas of improvement ...
The obvious thing missing from Hysaj's repertoire is goals. He has made over 170 outings for Empoli, Napoli and Albania yet has managed just a solitary goal.

He says ... 
"I take everything I do seriously. I practise hard and work hard. I study my game and work on my mistakes. I want to get better."

Elseid Hysaj and Paul Pogba will meet in international colours on Wednesday
Elseid Hysaj and Paul Pogba will meet in international colours on Wednesday©AFP/Getty Images