Since the tournament was founded in 1978 some great players have graced the European Under 21 Championships such as Mesut Ozil, Luis Figo, Petr Cech and Andrea Pirlo.

After the last tournament in Israel we seen David De Gea, Marco Veratti, Alvaro Morata and Isco shine on the European stage. With less than a week until kick off in Czech Republic we take a look a eight players to watch at this summer’s competition.

James Ward-Prowse

Ward-Prowse was a product of the successful Southampton academy alongside fellow England internationals Calum Chambers and Luke Shaw. Having made his debut back in 2012, the midfielder has excelled under current boss Ronald Koeman and was a regular starter at St. Mary’s this season.

The Saints man has played for England at under 17 level up to 21 level and has been admired by current England head coach Roy Hodgson as a future international.

Having scored the winning goal against Germany in a friendly last March, Ward-Prowse will be a key figure in Gareth Southgate’s midfield and will be one to watch in the Czech Republic.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen

Ter Stegen is a German goalkeeper who made his debut for his home club Borussia Monchengladbach back in 2011. Having made 108 appearances for the Bundesliga side he secured a lucrative move to Spanish giants FC Barcelona in the summer of 2014.

Following the capture of Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, Barca manager Luis Enrique made Ter Stegen first choice keeper for the Champions League and Copa del Rey. Though he failed to play in the league. the German was a pivotal part of Barcelona’s success as they captured a treble this campaign.

Having made four appearances for the national side, Ter Stegen will be one to watch in goal at this summer’s tournament but expect pressure from fellow shot stoppers Bernd Leno and Timo Horn.

John Guidetti

Swedish striker John Guidetti is currently a free agent after being let go by Manchester City. He was signed by fellow Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson back in 2008 for the Manchester side after impressing in his native land.

Guidetti had loan spells in England, Holland and a successful spell at Scottish giants Celtic last season where he scored eight goals in twenty-four appearances for Ronny Deila’s side as they retained the Scottish championship.

With his keen eye for goal, expect Guidetti to form a solid partnership with fellow forward Isaac Kiese Thelin for Sweden in the Czech Republic.

Emre Can

A familiar name to followers of the Premier League, Emre Can is a midfielder who can also play in defence with Liverpool. Born in Frankfurt, Can made his footballing debut for Bavaria side Bayern Munich back in 2012.

A loan spell followed at Bayer Leverkusen before Can was snapped up by Brendan Rodgers last summer. Having impressed in his first season at Anfield he will be one player to watch next season. Although German born, Can was also eligible to play for Turkey through his Turkish born parents.

Can has yet to make an appearance for the national side but the Liverpool man will be one to watch at this tournament and for the future.

Maximilian Arnold

A German born midfielder who currently plays for Bundesliga side VFL Wolfsburg, Arnold started his career at Dynamo Dresden before moving to his current club.

The 21-year-old made his debut for the Saxony side back in 2011. He was a key asset in Dieter Hecking’s midfield as Wolfsburg finished the 2014/15 Bundesliga season as runners up to Bayern Munich and claimed the DFB-Pokal for the first time against Borussia Dortmund in Berlin.

Arnold has played for Germany at all levels and will be keen to show his skills for Horst Hrubesch’s side.

William Carvalho

William Carvalho is a defensive midfielder with Portuguese outfit Sporting Lisbon. Carvalho made his way up the ranks at the Lisbon side following in the footsteps of fellow internationals Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani.

After an impressive 2013/14 season he was subject to a bid from Arsenal which was later turned down by the Portuguese club. Although Carvalho was born in Angola, he decided to declare for the country of his residence. He has played for Portugal at underage level and was called up to Portugal’s World Cup side last summer.

The 23-year old-made his debut in the tournament against the USA. With many clubs vying for his signature, Carvalho will be hoping to impress at the European Under 21 Championships.

Stefano Sturaro

Stefano Sturaro is a midfielder who currently plies his trade with Italian champions Juventus. Sturaro started his career at Serie A side Genoa. He made his debut for the Ligurian side in August of 2013 in a two nil away loss to Internazionale.

After an impressive season with Genoa, that summer Sturaro signed a five year contract with Turin side Juventus. The midfielder spent the first half of the 2014/15 season at his old side Genoa.

He was later recalled by the ‘Old Lady’ last February and made his Champions League debut for Massimiliano Allegri’s side in win against Real Madrid. With a handful of impressive appearances for Juventus, he will be one to watch for the Azzurrini in the Czech Republic.

Harry Kane

Exciting forward Harry Kane was a product of the Tottenham Hotspur academy and made his debut for the London club in Europa League tie against Scottish side Hearts in 2011.

After his debut, Kane had loan spells at English clubs Norwich City and Leicester City. The twenty one year old was handed his first start by Tim Sherwood in the 2013/14 season in win against Sunderland where he also scored his first league goal for the club.

The 2014/15 season was a career changer for the Englishman as he scored 21 Premier League goals for the North London side. Kane was also awarded the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

Having made his debut for the national side, Gareth Southgate will be hoping his goalscoring run continues as England aim to win the European Under 21 Championship for the third time.