Youth rules at Euro 2004

8th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

8 June 2004 , FRANKFURT - Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Wesley Snijder are just three teenage names out to shake up the old order at Euro 2004 which kicks off on Saturday. Youth could rule at the tournament in Portugal as several teams have nominated youngsters into their squads. Apart from the three players listed above, Germany has teenagers Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski. Swiss coach Jacob "Koebi" Kuhn also selected two youngsters in the form of Johan Vanlanthan and Tranquillo Barnetto.

8 June 2004

FRANKFURT - Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Wesley Snijder are just three teenage names out to shake up the old order at Euro 2004 which kicks off on Saturday.

Youth could rule at the tournament in Portugal as several teams have nominated youngsters into their squads.

Apart from the three players listed above, Germany has teenagers Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski.

Swiss coach Jacob "Koebi" Kuhn also selected two youngsters in the form of Johan Vanlanthan and Tranquillo Barnetto.

The Netherlands boast Rafael van der Vaart and Arjen Robben apart from Snijder.

Ronaldo, 19, will be the first man out when the Portuguese hosts open the three-week tournament against Greece.

"I believe that Cristiano Ronaldo will be the biggest discovery at Euro 2004," said Nuno Gomes of his team-mate.

A splendid showing at the continental championships will cap an extraordinary season for the 19-year-old forward.

Ronaldo debuted two years ago at Sporting Lisbon. He then moved to Manchester United last year for EUR 17.5 million, a world record fee for a teenager, where he is being groomed as David Beckham's replacement.

That appeared a daunting task for a teenager, but coach Alex Ferguson revealed at his signing that the entire United team was impressed by him at a friendly match with Sporting.

"After we played Sporting the lads in the dressing room talked about him constantly, and on the plane back from the game they urged me to sign him. That's how highly they rated him," said Ferguson at his signing press conference.

Carefully guided by Ferguson, Ronaldo met the sky-high expectations as he enjoyed a spectacular season at the Reds, capped by the FA Cup title.

The now 18-year-old Rooney has been a regular in the Premier League since making his first team debut at the age of 16 for Everton. It took the striker just 22 league matches to earn a first national team cap.

"I have very rarely had the chance to work with such a wonderful talent as Rooney," said England coach Sven Goran Eriksson.

Rooney can hardly wait for the start of the tournament even though he and his team-mates face a tough opener on Sunday against title holders France.

"This is the biggest event so far in my career that I will take part in. I am not only in the squad, but can score a few goals to help us win," said Rooney.

Snijder, 19, meanwhile, has established himself as a dangerous winger in another stunning Ajax Amsterdam and Dutch generation of youngsters.

But believed to be even more talented is van der Vaart, who is Ajax captain at the age of 21 and has taken the playmaking position from Clarence Seedorf in the national team.

Hailed as a natural talent, the playmaker van der Vaart has everything it takes to become a superstar: immense skill with the ball, dangerous in front of goal with a good eye for picking out team-mates.

In Portugal, van der Vaart, Snijder and Robben will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and Frank Rjikaard, who led the Dutch to the 1988 Euro title.

DPA

Subject: German news

 

 

 

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