As we head towards the business end of what has been a tame European Championships, it appears the big boys of Europe have finally realised this tournament is there for the taking.
As spirited as the likes of Hungary and the Republic of Ireland might be – they, like Slovakia have had no answers to the might of Germany, France and Belgium.
Whilst the football throughout the early parts of the tournament might not have been vintage, there has been some outstanding individual performances with certain players putting themselves on the map; so to speak.
Today, The Faithful MUFC’s Nathon Woodhead takes a look at five domestic based players who may have bigger clubs knocking come July.
Jeff Hendrick – Republic of Ireland
The central midfielder made a huge impression in Ireland’s opening fixture against Sweden and was an ever present thereafter.
With one of the greatest central midfielders to play the game as Ireland’s assistant manager in Roy Keane, it was no surprise the Derby midfielder looked a cut above his teammates having obviously been coached the right way. Confident and calm in possession combined with a tireless work rate.
Plying his trade in the Championship; Hendrick must have surely had Premier League scouts take notice of his performances. A step up to the top flight could well be on the cards.
Ashley Williams – Wales
The tough centre-half has been one of the best, if not the best defender in the tournament so far.
Captaining Wales into the land of the unknown, Williams is more than just a defender who puts his neck on the line. He also reads the game very well and demands the best from everybody around him like all great leaders do.
At 31 and in the form of his life, perhaps one of the big boys will test Swansea’s resolve with a bid.
Dimitri Payet – France
Everybody on earth is aware that Payet is an unbelievable footballer. Not every can understand why it has taken until he hit 29 years for him to come to the forefront though.
The West Ham playmaker has been instrumental for the host nation so far, and is frontrunner for player of the tournament.
Sadly for West Ham, he is their prized asset and has put himself in the shop window. Whilst he may have developed a love for the East London club, surely he will be on the move to a Champions League side ahead of next season. Real Madrid perhaps?
Stuart Dallas – Northern Ireland
During the Northern Ireland / Wales encounter, Dallas was likened to Gareth Bale. Of Course this was in jest, but it came on the back of the winger stealing the ball from the Welsh wizard and getting away from him and a defender.
Another player who had a work rate to match his obvious ability, and another who is not playing at the top level of English football.
It seems absurd a player with such talent is not in the Premier League and can imagine many top flight managers would look into taking him from Leeds.
Joe Allen – Wales
The Welsh Pirlo (with beard) or the Welsh Xavi (without). Allen has a cult following regardless of his facial hair status.
One of the stars during Swansea’s rise to Premier League football, he hasn’t had much luck at Anfield and is believed to be surplus to requirements.
Whilst he may not go to a bigger club than Liverpool, it is worth nothing he has probably doubled, no, tripled the interest in him after a series of sublime displays at the Euros. Surely likely to remain at a club in the top half of the Premier League.