With Euro 2012 only weeks away, Hanish Bhatt picks his Top 5 Premier League players to watch at this summer’s tournament.
Joe Hart - England
Goalkeeping has historically been one of the biggest problems for the English side. The likes of Rob Green, Scott Carson and David James all failed to fill the void left by David Seaman. However, no one could have expected the meteoric rise the Manchester City stopper has had. The 6’5”, 25-year-old star is attempting to end that run of crummy net minding and lead England back to greatness. Hart’s team has never found success in the Euro's, but things could change now that they finally have a promising young talent in front of the net.
Yohan Cabaye - France
In and around most teams of the season, Yohan Cabaye has proven to be another feather in Newcastle’s scouting cap. If guiding the Toon into a European berth wasn’t enough, the former Lille playmaker will hope to press for a place in France’s midfield engine room alongside the likes of Arsenal target Yann M'Vila . The 26-year-old is one of several fresh faces to take part in Laurent Blanc’s French revolution, so expect him to reacquaint himself with several Premier League stars against Englandi in Donetsk.
Luka Modrić - Croatia
Spurs and Croatia’s midfield lynchpin was named in UEFA’s team of the tournament in 2008 as Slaven Bilić’s side battled to the last eight. Having impressed as Spurs’ driving force since, the 26-year-old is sure to be the subject of much speculation in the next transfer window with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea heavily linked in recent months. Before then, the attacking midfielder will be focused on the fact Croatia’s group features both Spain and Italy which will require Modric to be on top of his game if he wants to make it into the team of the tournament once again
Robin van Persie - Holland
In a season of twists and turns, one thing has been constant: Robin van Persie’s goals. Arsenal’s talismanic captain has fired the Gunners up the table almost single-handedly, and his form has showed no signs of stopping. Thirty premier league goals and the PFA player of the season. can anyone stop RVP as the Dutch march towards Euro 2012 glory?
David Silva - Spain
The Manchester City playmaker has had a fantastic season, culminating in Premier League glory, although Spain’s midfield, with the likes of Xavi, Iniesta, and Fabregas is one of the best in the world. Silva surely needs a look in as he has performed phenomenally this season. Will he be given his chance?
Mario Balotelli- Italy
Mario Balotelli! Where to start with him, one his day he is a fantastic footballer, gifted and a sure goal scorer. When it isn’t his day he is reckless, arrogant and a hindrance. He has been named in Italy's preliminary 32-man squad, and we hope he makes the final cut. The question is which Mario will turn up to the tournament? If it’s the latter Italy’s hopes of progressing will surely go up like Mario’s house, in fireworks. Either way, it should be hugely entertaining.
Lukas Podolski - Germany
The Premier League's newest star, who will make his debut for Arsenal next season. Gunners fans will be watching closely to see what sort of impact he can make with Germany and what he can bring to the team. He will hope for a starting spot, and has a terrific record at major tournaments for his national side. He helped his country qualify, by scoring in a 6-2 thrashing of Austria along the way.
image: © lukask