Europe’s most valuable XI of under-21 players in 2015 – and where they are now

There is perhaps nothing more exciting in football than a newly-emerging talent strutting their stuff on the pitch.

As such, there is a tendency for fans to get a little carried away and overhype youngsters who still are yet to prove themselves consistently at a high level. A fascinating example is German football website Transfermarkt's 'most valuable XI' of the finest players at the U21 European Championships, which was released back in 2015.

Daily Star Sport brings you the full XI of players that made the list, some of whom have gradually faded into obscurity and others that went on to exceed all expectations.

READ MORE: Harry Kane told he can now 'walk away from Spurs for medals' after breaking record

GK – Bernd Leno (£14m)

Which player has had the most disappointing career? Let us know in the comments section.

The German goalkeeper at the time was an established star for Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen. Leno secured a big move to Arsenal three years later in 2018, where he remained for four seasons.

Despite putting in some stellar performances for the Gunners during a tumultuous period, Leno eventually lost his place in the squad to current No.1 Aaron Ramsdale. The 30-year-old joined Fulham in the summer for £8m and has since enjoyed a resurgence.

RB – Calum Chambers (£11m)

Chambers was coming off the back of an impressive first season at Arsenal in 2014/15 when he was deemed the most ‘valuable’ u21 right-back in Europe. It even earned him three caps for England – but it would also end up being by far his most successful campaign for the Gunners.

The defender played little football for Arsenal in his last four seasons, instead being sent out on loan to Middlesbrough and Fulham where he impressed. He signed for Aston Villa on a free transfer in January 2022 but has made just a handful of appearances for the Villans this season.

CB – Robin Knoche (£11m)

Knoche came through the Wolfsburg academy to become a first team star in the early 2010s. The German remained there for a whopping nine seasons, racking up 226 appearances.

He signed for Union Berlin ahead of the 2020/21 season and has featured 18 times this campaign as Union challenge Bayern Munich for the title.

CB – Matthias Ginter (£9m)

The rangy German had spent one year at Borussia Dortmund before he was named one of the most valuable young centre-halves. He won two cups with the club and was part of Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning squad.

Ginter controversially signed for Dortmund’s rivals Borussia Monchengladbach in 2017 for £16m. He spent five seasons west of the Rhine before moving to Bundesliga side SC Freiburg last summer.

LB – Raphael Guerreiro (£7m)

French-born full-back Guerreiro broke onto the scene with Ligue 1 side Lorient. A year after earning his place on the list, he secured a move to Dortmund for £9.5m.

Guerreiro has gone on to feature over 200 times for the German giants, contributing to 79 goals from left-back and midfield. Now 29, his most notable achievement came when he won Euro 2016 with Portugal, and he continued to play a key role in Qatar 2022.

CM – Emre Can (£11m)

The German midfielder was dubbed an ‘inspirational young talent’ by then-Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers when he arrived from Bayer Leverkusen. Can played regularly for the Reds, but fell out of favour during Jurgen Klopp’s revolution at Anfield, despite scoring one of the Premier League's greatest goals.

He left the side for Juventus in 2018, meaning he missed Liverpool’s Champions League-winning season but picked up two Scudettos as consolation. The energetic midfielder now acts as a senior member of Dortmund’s squad, where he has racked up more than 100 appearances.

CM – William Carvalho (£19m)

Carvalho was one of those players that seemed set for a big move every summer since catching the attention of Europe’s biggest clubs at Sporting Lisbon. The metronomic defensive midfielder became a staple in both Sporting and Portugal’s midfield for several years after earning his place on the list.

Despite interest from the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United over the years, Carvalho finally left Lisbon for Real Betis in 2018 for a fee of around £20m. He won the Copa del Rey with Betis in 2022.

CAM – Max Meyer (£13m)

Meyer was tipped to become the next Mario Gotze when he broke onto the scene at Schalke. The German maestro impressed with his playmaking abilities until the 2015/16 season, before gradually suffering a decline.

A spat with the Schalke hierarchy saw him join Crystal Palace in 2018, but he fared no better in the Premier League. A move to Koln and Fenerbahce later and 27-year-old Meyer finds himself on loan at Danish club Midtjylland.

RW – Kevin Volland (£18m)

Volland was another Bundesliga prospect who many expected to become a future star. He first made an impact at Hoffenheim where he netted 36 goals in his four-year spell.

In 2016 he secured a transfer to Bayer Leverkusen and enjoyed another four seasons there, scoring 50 goals in 148 appearances. The 30-year-old left Germany for Monaco in 2020 and has featured eight times this season.

ST – Harry Kane (£13m)

Kane was dubbed a ‘one season wonder’ when he netted 31 goals in 51 appearances for Tottenham in his breakthrough 2014/15 season. It earned him a respectable £13m valuation at the time, but any club in the world would bite your hand off at the opportunity to sign the England captain for such a meagre fee now.

Comfortably the most successful star on the list, Kane has developed into one of the greatest, most consistent and versatile strikers in modern football. The 29-year-old on Sunday became Spurs’ all-time leading goal-scorer, adding to his long list of personal accomplishments, which includes a World Cup golden boot.

LW – Domenico Berardi (£13m)

Berardi is a player that cannot be categorised as a flop nor a superstar. He helped Sassuolo win Serie B in his first season as a professional before securing a dream move to Juventus.

But he was quickly loaned back to Sassuolo without making a single appearance for the Bianconeri. The winger enjoyed two successful seasons on loan with his former club before returning on a permanent deal in the summer of 2015.

He has made more than 300 appearances for Sassuolo, scoring 125 but never quite taking his game to the elite level many had expected. Nevertheless, he played a key part in Italy’s Euro 2020 triumph.


  • Jamie Carragher fears Erling Haaland 'chose wrong club' as he struggles again
  • Mercurial Dimitar Berbatov used to sit in the changing room 'drawing pictures of farms'
  • I dared to give Tottenham's giant golden cock a pat and recommend Beyoncé does the same

Source: Read Full Article