Top 5 Emerging Football Players to Watch at Euro 2012
Action Images / Peter Cziborra
Mats Hummels - Germany
Mats Hummels (Germany)
Bayern Munich's decision to allow Mats Hummels to leave for Borussia Dortmund in 2008 has well and truly backfired. Despite being only 23, the tall centre-back has been the most reliable member of the Dortmund defence.
Heading into the tournament, Hummels now has double-figure caps to his name after being welcomed in to the senior team following a successful 2009 Under-21 European Championships, where Germany hammered England 4-0 in the final.
He could start at Euro 2012 due to doubts over Per Mertesacker's fitness.
Alan Dzagoev (Russia)
Having grown up in Beslan, little fazes Dzagoev, the man who many Russians see as the country's next big star.
Dzagoev was little more than a skinny 17-year-old when he was taken from second division side Krylia Sovetov to join CSKA Moscow in 2008.
The versatile midfielder has not looked back since, however, winning three Russian Cups and collecting the young player of the year award.
He became Russia's youngest outfield player when he made his international debut at 18 years and 116 days old and was one of the leading figures for Dick Advocaat's team in qualifying, where he scored four goals.
Christian Eriksen (Denmark)
It is a reflection of the talents of Eriksen that Denmark are pinning their hopes of another shot at European Championship glory on the shoulders of this 20-year-old.
Eriksen has become a key cog in Ajax's team since moving to the Netherlands in 2010. A talented playmaker, he has been compared to Luka Modric.
He scored once in qualifying but provided countless assists, leading to some flattering comments from Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who hinted at making a bid for Eriksen when he said: "He's a good player, a typical Ajax player who's good on the ball... We have many young players, but we are always looking for talent."
Yann M'Vila (France)
The stage is set for M'Vila to showcase his talents as he looks to attract the interest of one of Europe's biggest clubs at Euro 2012.
A tireless midfielder who also has an eye for a good pass, it is not surprising that M'Vila is already being called "the next Patrick Vieira" despite being only 21 years old at the start of the tournament.
M'Vila's father is Congolese, but the youngster has firmly sworn his allegiance to France, representing Les Bleus from under-16 to senior level.
Arsenal and Real Madrid are interested in M'Vila and are primed to try and tempt Rennes to part with the midfielder.
Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
As Blackburn were being relegated from the English Premier League this season, they must have looked across to Germany and wished that they had snapped up Lewandowski when they had the chance.
The striker caught Rovers' eye in 2010 after scoring 41 goals in his last two seasons for Lech Poznan, but he eventually chose Borussia Dortmund over the Premier League club.
From then on, he has prospered, following up his first-season tally of nine by passing the 20-goal mark in the Bundesliga this term. An old-fashioned goal poacher, the 23-year-old will lead Poland's attack as they try to impress on home turf.