5 Players we’ll miss at Euro 2012


With all the talent that will be on show at Euro 2012, there still isn’t enough space for everyone, and unfortunately many teams had to miss out on participating in Poland and Ukraine. Here, we’ll have a look at the players who won’t be playing at the tournament who probably would have been good for it.

Granit Xhaka 

Xhaka in action for Switzerland

Switzerland failed to qualify for the Championship finals, therefore the 19 year old midfielder won’t have the platform to showcase his great talents. One summer ago, the youngster lit up the European Under 21 Championships with a style of play with maturity rarely seen in such young players. At the young age that he is, and to have played his way into the Swiss national team, the former FC Basel starlet has a very bright future ahead of him, and will surely help his country to reach European Championships in the future.

Xhaka will be given the chance to prove himself in the Bundesliga next season, after he completed move to Borussia Monchengladbach for a fee believed to be around €8.5 million. He helped knock the might of Manchester United out of last season’s Champions League, and this season he’ll get another bite at Europe’s top club competition, as Monchengladbach finished 4th in the Bundesliga table, earning them a play-off qualification spot.

His teammate in the national side (and teammate in Switzerland’s impressive Under 21 European Championships in 2011) also deserves a mention here, as Bayern Munich player Xherdan Shaqiri is another player who’ll be missed. A very tricky and talented young star, the pair will no doubt help Switzerland in major international tournaments in the future.

Wes Hoolahan

Most Irish fans will agree with me when I say Wes Hoolahan should have been given a chance in Giovanni Trapattoni’s side at some point during the Italian’s reign. The Norwich City attacking midfielder has been in great form for the past number of seasons, performing so well that his inclusion or lack thereof in Trap’s squad is debated every single time the Italian reveals his squad for whatever upcoming games. The former Shels league-winner was also included in the 2010/11 Football League Championship team of the season because of his excellent performances.

In his place, the now club-less ex Derby County midfielder Paul Greene was selected to compete for Ireland. Derby County were mid-table in the Championship last season, while Norwich City finished 12th in the Premier League, largely thanks to the work of Hoolahan. Nevertheless, Giovanni Trapattoni has been a highly successful manager throughout his career and presumably knows what he’s doing as he continues to ignore the highly talented Wes Hoolahan.

Aaron Ramsey

Unfortunately for Ramsey, he was born to a nation with limited footballing ability. Sure there are players such as Craig Bellamy, Gareth Bale, and Ryan Giggs, but rarely have Wales had enough players of such quality available to them at the one time, resulting in them only ever having qualified for one major international tournament in their history; the 1958 World Cup.

The Arsenal youngster has impressed so much with the national team in his 21 caps that he was even given captaincy. Wales finished 4th out of 5 in their qualifying group, behing England, Montenegro and Switzerland, but promisingly ahead of Bulgaria.

Marek Hamsik

We’ve written about the quality of Napoli a few times before on this website, and that quality comes in part from the Slovakian Hamsik. Slovakia had a poor qualification campaign by their standards, finishing 4th out of 6 behind Russia, Ireland, and the group surprises Armenia.

A shaved Hamsik (left) pictured after winning the Copa Italia this year

What will be missed of Hamsik is his creativity. Creative players are usually the most enjoyable to watch, and Hamsik has proved to be a great joy to watch this season with Napoli, where he helped greatly in winning the Coppa Italia. In the final, they beat Juventus, who had gone the 38 game league season unbeaten on their way to claiming their first legitimate Seria A title in nine years.

Hamsik made a promise that he would shave his head if Napoli were to beat Juventus in the Coppa Italia final. Sure enough, they did. Hamsik even scored one of the goals in his side’s 2-0 victory, and the Slovak was forced to lose his mohawk.

Edin Dzeko

Some may say that Dzeko is overrated, not worth the fee Manchester City paid for him and not worth the hype that surrounded him prior to that transfer. But nevertheless, Dzeko has been an integral cog in Man City’s title winning campaign. Without him, their rivals Manchester United could well have been celebrating a 20th crown.

The Bosnian scored the equaliser with precious little time remaining in his club’s last league game of the season, when they needed a victory. His contribution after coming on from the bench was vital. As well as this, he also displayed his great quality other times in the season, such as scoring four goals against Tottenham Hotspur and twice in Old Trafford against United.

Bosnia have a decent national team, one that’s been on the rise in the past number of years. Perhaps not good enough to make any significant impression on major tournaments just yet, but if they keep developing talents such as Dzeko, it can’t be too long before they will be.

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