Masters of the late charge – six unlikely Euro 2012 heroes
After dashing onto the plane at last boarding, could these six star?
Rather than sculpt a Tim Lovejoy-approved “players to look out for” list featuring Cristiano Ronaldo and Robin van Persie, or a “players to watch” list assembled by looking at who has the best potential ability ratings on Football Manager, The Spoiler instead decided to cobble together six relative randomers without the nauseatingly overstated build-up who could be called upon at Euro 2012…
Jetro Willems (Holland)
Erik Pieters’ injury created a vacancy at left back for the world champions. With former favourites to fill it Urby Emanuelson and Vurnon Anita ditched by Bert van Marwijk, PSV’s 18-year-old sensation appears destined to do battle with creaking club colleague Wilfried Bouma for the position.
Hugo Viana (Portugal)
Lauded as “the best young player in the world” when Newcastle invested a scary sum a decade ago, but struggled then endured another career-eating stint at Valencia, finally finding a home at Braga. He was ignored by Paulo Bento despite a fine season, yet Carlos Martins’ injury forced his inclusion.
Andre Schurrle (Germany)
The Bayer Leverkusen youngster is one of Germany’s millions supreme at linking attack and midfield and would be a fitting recipient of the groan-inducingly common “he scores when he wants” chants. Schurrle has scored six in the last 12 months for his nation, three times more than Miroslav Klose.
Spain’s squad is rammed with 12 players classifiable as midfielders; Juanfran is one. The previously uncapped winger must want to kiss Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone for switching him to right back just in time for him to profit from Gerard Pique’s injury and Andoni Iraola’s lack of fitness.
Fabio Borini (Italy)
The Chelsea youngster becomes a huge success narrative is fairly unexplored, but Borini threatens to change that, eight goals in 2012 securing him a spot in the Italy squad. He starts as a reserve, though Antonio Cassano’s fitness and Mario Balotelli’s Mario Balotelliness promise opportunities.
Mathieu Debuchy (France)
Bacary Sagna’s misfortune has at least presented the right back at everyone’s recently-demoted-to-second favourite French club Lille with a chance to outshine flagging fellow full back Patrice Evra for Les Bleus. Debuchy is 9/5 with Paddy Power to help France keep a clean sheet against England.