With the Champions League proper returning this week, Europe’s premier club competition will once again offer a stage for some of the continent’s brightest young talents, some already established, some looking to make a name for themselves, and some looking to rejuvenate their careers.
Marcus Rashford belongs firmly in the first group despite being only 19. His remarkable rise to stardom began in Europe, when he scored a brace on debut for Manchester United against Midtjylland in the Europa League, but he has yet to play in the Champions League.
Likewise, Ousmane Dembele is no new face, and indeed starred for Borussia Dortmund in last year’s Champions League, but the 20-year-old has a different level of attention on him after becoming Barcelona’s record signing last month, and his form will go far in determining the Spanish club’s fortunes this season.Anderlecht’s Leander Dendoncker and his former club team-mate Youri Tielemans, now at Monaco, will be looking for performances on the big stage that justify the hype that has surrounded both players. With Monaco having reached the semi-finals last year, Tielemans will be among the players relied upon as the team look to hit the same heights in this campaign.