There is an age old belief within football circles that you cannot win anything with a side dependant on youngsters, yet me being the firm believer in youth development that I am, I cannot help but hope that the young stars of the future on display at the 2016 UEFA European Championships take this opportunity that fate has afforded them to make the world of football sit up and truly appreciate the magnificence that these wunderkinds have been created to grace us with. A plethora of talented players will be keen to showcase their talent in the 15th edition of the UEFA European Championship; we at GSV would like to hone our binoculars in on the u/23 players that will be looking to etch their mark on the global game, without further ado, we present to you the UEFA EURO 2016 Young Guns To Watch. Prendre plaisir!
Full Name: Oleksandr Volodymyrovych Zinchenko
DoB: December 15th, 1996 (19)
PoB: Radomyshl, Zhytomyr Oblast; Ukraine
Position/s: Winger, Advanced Playmaker, Inside Forward, Attacking Midfielder, Trequartista (L/R/C)
Height: 1, 75m
Club: FC Ufa, Russian Premier League
Club Career Record: 33 Games, 2 Goals, 4 Assists
National Team Record: 5 Caps, 1 Goal
The Grand Stand View
There are many gifted young footballers that have tons of articles written about them before they even begin to showcase their true potential, yet very few have had to face the criticism that Oleksandr Zinchenko has had to deal with in his relatively young career. The gifted wunderkind overcame adversity and bad press to become the youngest ever goalscorer for Ukraine in 2016, at 19 years & 165 days, Zinchenko beat the record previously set by the legendry forward Andriy Shevchenko. Despite the calls of interference in squad selection regarding his call-up to the senior national team, Oleksandr made his debut as an 18 year old in October of 2015, becoming the 3rd youngest Ukraine debutant behind the legendary duo of Shevchenko and Serhiy Rebrov.
A naturally gifted left-footer who showed great promise in the youth ranks, before he left development nest Shakhtar Donetsk under acrimonious circumstances in July of 2014; Zinchenko spent months in the football wilderness, before signing for Russian side FC Ufa on a free transfer in February of 2015. Blessed with great passing range, accuracy and vision; Oleksandr Zinchenko combines Velcro-like ball control with impressive crossing ability and accurate deliveries from free-kicks, to make for one intelligent playmaker, capable of turning a game on its head in an instant. Well versed in the art of holding onto the ball and running at opposition players, Zinchenko uses his great knack for creating space to get his teammates more involved in proceedings.
Having made the meteoric rise from U/16 international at 14 in 2011, to senior international squad member at 18 in 2015; Zinchenko’s star as continually risen, despite some of the negative press and rumoured court cases, he has also attracted the attention of many powerhouse clubs in Europe, including Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City. The wunderkind is known to have been taking English lessons from former Gooner Emmanuel Frimpong, as he prepares for his next big move in Europe. Oleksandr Zinchenko was rumoured to have been fast-tracked into a full Ukrainian international after Russia were known to be angling for a move to grant him citizenship, and make him a Russian international; such is the great promise laden within the young man, who has firmly established himself as the best young footballer in the Russian Premier League.