The best players of EURO 2020
After a year's delay, international tournaments were back. And so was world-class talent. But performed best in Euro 2020? And how can you develop similar skilful players?
Pedri, 18 | central midfielder: Spain
Over the last few months, Pedri has been the name on everybody's lips.
After making 52 appearances in the 2020/21 season for Barcelona, the teenager was a key player for Spain. In fact, he only missed one minute of their Euro 2020 campaign.
During the competition, the young midfielder:
made the most solo runs into the attacking third (27)
made the most key passes (11)
covered the most distance in possession (38.23 km)
achieved a pass completion average of 91%
had 30 touches per 90 minutes in the attacking third (fifth-highest for a central midfielder)
created 11 goalscoring opportunities for his teammates.
These impressive stats saw him voted the best young player in Euro 2020. Plus, he was also the only Spanish player to be named in the team of the tournament.
Pedri is a great technician in the middle of the pitch. To develop players like this, we need to work on dribbling and moving with the ball. Our teams must also be able to drive into space, stay on the ball and change direction. These skills help players find solutions to their in-game problems.
Jannik Vestergaard, 29 | central defender: Denmark
Jannik Vestergaard may be a surprise name on this list.
To many, a tall central defender isn't an obvious 'skilful' player. But we believe everyone can be skilful, regardless of their position on the pitch. Vestergaard demonstrated this throughout the tournament. As an essential part of the Danish defence, he played in every game and helped his team reach the semi-final. This was their best finish since 1992.
The defender, who has recently joined Leicester City, displayed excellent ability in the air. He competed for 27 aerial duels and won 17.
Vestergaard also showed confidence in possession. He looked for progressive passes and was happy to get on the ball and step into midfield. This made him vital to Denmark's build-up play. A great example is his role in Denmark's second goal against the Czech Republic.
On average, Vestergaard attempted 49 passes per 90 minutes, with 38% of them going forward. This ranks him 20th out of 75 centre-back with at least two appearances.
Vestergaard demonstrates the importance of all players being comfortable on the ball and having good perception skills. For future defenders, it's essential to be able to step out of the defensive line and into midfield. In today's game, centre-backs use this technique to apply pressure on an opponent or to drive forward with the ball.