Eight unexpected Euro 2024 stars include England’s best player and Jordan Henderson humiliator

Lewis Oldham
Euro 2024 unexpected stars
Marc Guehi, Marc Cucurella and N'Golo Kante impress at Euro 2024.

Jamal Musiala and Lamine Yamal are unsurprising candidates for the star of Euro 2024, but here are eight players unexpectedly making waves in Germany…


Marc Cucurella (Spain and Chelsea)
Our ranking of post-Todd Boehly takeover signings at Stamford Bridge makes for a pretty bleak read
from Chelsea’s perspective.

Overpriced full-back Cucurella is rightly near the bottom of the list following his £62m move from Premier League rivals Brighton, who have benefited financially from Chelsea descending into a circus.

But a run of 12 consecutive Premier League starts during the run-in boosted Cucurella ahead of Euro 2024 as he has re-integrated himself into Spain’s squad. As Luis de la Fuente’s first-choice left-back, the Chelsea man earned positive reports in clean sheet wins over Croatia and Italy, fuelling his manager’s certainty that La Roja is the ‘best in the world’.


Remo Freuler (Switzerland and Bologna)
One of over 30 players to sign for Nottingham Forest during their Premier League return season, Freuler ditched Nuno Espirito Santo’s side last summer to join Serie A outfit Bologna on loan.

The 32-year-old hardly set the world alight at Forest, but Thiago Motta-ball got the best out of him and he’s a vital cog in Switzerland’s midfield alongside Granit Xhaka.

Up to now, Switzerland have justified their tag as F365’s official Euro 2024 dark horse and Freuler – who has two assists in three games – is showing more range to his game than we had the right to expect to ensure his side will be tough adversaries for most opponents in the knockout stages.


Niclas Fullkrug (Germany and Borussia Dortmund)
The 31-year-old has burst onto the scene later in his career than players typically do, but his stellar form for Werder Bremen and then this season with Dortmund saw him break into the Germany squad.

His superb scoring form has carried over into international duty as he’s scored 13 goals in his 19 caps for Germany. Despite this, he’s not quite done enough to nudge himself ahead of Arsenal’s Kai Havertz in the pecking order.

Havertz’s development into a fully-fledged No.9 remains on track, but Fullkrug is hot on his heels pushing for a start after scoring twice off the bench in the group stages.


Marc Guehi (England and Crystal Palace)
Much of the pre-tournament talk about England surrounded Guehi being the main weakness in Gareth Southgate’s side in the absence of Harry Maguire. And how wrong we all were…

The Crystal Palace centre-back – who is one of six England stars we’ve predicted to seal a post-Euro 2024 transfer – has been pretty much faultless in his first two appearances at the tournament and he’s arguably the only Three Lions star who can hold his head high so far as he’s comfortably been Southgate’s best player.

Guehi the problem? Not a chance. Southgate has far more pressing concerns to deal with if England are to go far at Euro 2024 and the under-fire manager’s chosen solution for the failed Trent Alexander-Arnold experiments should infuriate his critics even more.

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N’Golo Kante (France and Al-Ittihad)
As is usually the case, France have made a stuttering start to a major tournament but have done enough to reach the knockout stages.

This is largely thanks to the phenomenal performance of Al-Ittihad’s Kante in the 1-0 win against Austria, who humiliated fellow Saudi Pro League defector Jordan Henderson in the process of proving he continues to be one of the most widely loved footballers in the world.

There is no player whose career has been more bombed by a move to the Saudi Pro League than Henderson, but Kante is bucking the trend to ensure he can still cut it at the elite level.

📣TO THE COMMENTS! How far will England progress at Euro 2024? Join the debate here


Dennis Man (Romania and Parma)
With the help of Tottenham Hotspur’s Radu Dragusin (in spite of his batsh*t agent), Romania have been one of the surprise packages so far at Euro 2024 and arguably earned the standout result as they deservedly beat Ukraine 3-0 in their tournament opener.

The Tricolours were unable to follow this up with another positive result, as non-VAR Euro 2024 leading scorer Romelu Lukaku helped Belgium win 2-0. Despite this, Parma winger Man (the joint-leading assister in Germany with Freuler) and the rest of the Romania squad are set for the knockout rounds.


Dan Ndoye (Switzerland and Bologna)
Freuler’s teammate at international and club level, 23-year-old Ndoye is one of the previously unknown breakout stars at Euro 2024 as the tenacious little bugger caused Germany no end of issues last time out. 

England must beware of Ndoye and Switzerland with a meeting in the quarter-finals likely as their Denmark-esque approach will make Southgate’s side have a very uncomfortable (and perhaps tournament-ending evening) if there is not a stark improvement from The Three Lions before we get there.


Pepe (Portugal and Porto)
Euro 2024 has largely been a tournament for the young guns with Spain’s starlets making them a team to beat
, but there is life in the old guard yet and Pepe is perhaps the best proof.

Ages 41, Pepe continues to be an integral player in the heart of Portugal’s defence and has been imperious in rolling back the years as Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. have begun the tournament with two straight victories.

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