Keep your eyes on these hotshots

Pione Sisto (Denmark)
Pione Sisto (Denmark)PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ACTION IMAGES, REUTERS
Johannes Geis (Germany)
Johannes Geis (Germany) PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ACTION IMAGES, REUTERS
Raphael Guerreiro (Portugal)
Raphael Guerreiro (Portugal) PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ACTION IMAGES, REUTERS
Alessio Romagnoli (Italy)
Alessio Romagnoli (Italy)PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ACTION IMAGES, REUTERS
Vaclav Kadlec (Czech Republic)
Vaclav Kadlec (Czech Republic)PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ACTION IMAGES, REUTERS

AS THE European Under-21 Championship kicked off yesterday morning (Singapore time) with Denmark defeating the Czech Republic 2-1 and Germany and Serbia playing out a 1-1 draw, we point out five players to watch out for over the next fortnight.

Pione Sisto (Denmark)

The left-sided midfielder scored the winner in Prague yesterday and you could be tired of hearing his name by the end of the summer. His probable departure from FC Midtjylland will likely be a recurring item in gossip columns until the window slams shut after he helped his side win their first Danish Superliga title this season.

The league's player of the year in 2014 has been linked to Barcelona, Juventus, Milan, Manchester City, Arsenal and Porto.

He was among a half-dozen Under-21 players to join the senior squad for their Euro 2016 qualifier against Serbia.

Johannes Geis (Germany)

Germany's squad contain a World Cup winner in the shape of Matthias Ginter but the outstanding player might well be the Mainz man who models his game on Bastian Schweinsteiger's.

Blessed with exceptional positional sense and a creative ability that few holding midfielders can match, his form has had scouts beating a regular path to mid-table Mainz, where he was ever-present in the Bundesliga.

A summer move to Lazio or Borussia Dortmund has been mooted and he seems certain to be a Champions League player before too much longer.

Raphael Guerreiro (Portugal)

Portugal's strength is in midfield and at the back, with the left-back Guerreiro perhaps the pick of the defensive unit.

The Lorient player, who has two caps with the senior side, has been linked with moves to Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain this summer.

Alessio Romagnoli (Italy)

Since the retirements of Alessandro Nesta and Fabio Cannavaro, the Azzurri have struggled to develop defenders who are worthy heirs to the throne once inhabited by the likes of Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini. Hopes are high, though, that in Romagnoli, they have uncovered someone who can live up to that fine tradition.

The 20-year-old, who can operate in the centre or on the left, spent the season on loan at Sampdoria from Roma, but could well return to the Italian capital next season to play a key role in the side.

Vaclav Kadlec (Czech Republic)

"We see huge potential in the player," said Eintracht Frankfurt sporting director Bruno Huebner on signing Kadlec from Sparta Prague in the summer of 2013.

But the transition from the Czech league to the Bundesliga has not been easy for the striker, who was the youngest player to score for the Czech national side when he netted on his debut against Liechtenstein in 2010.

He went back to Prague on loan in January and finished the season in fine form, scoring 10 times in just 14 appearances. He also netted against Denmark in November.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2015, with the headline 'Keep your eyes on these hotshots'. Print Edition | Subscribe