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The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has named 40 players aged 21 or under who they believe have the potential to conquer European football in 2023. The list, drawn up by experts, includes a Hungarian player, Milos Kerkez, currently left-back for Dutch AZ Alkmaar.
UEFA said that AC Milan might regret having let Milos Kerkez go last January. As the federation pointed out, the youngster took over brilliantly from Owen Wijndal in the Alkmaar starting line-up in the summer and has been proving himself ever since. So far in the 2022-23 season, he has played 28 matches and already has three goals and six assists despite being a left-back. Moreover, Kerkez has proven himself not only in the Dutch league, but also in the European Conference League and the Nations League.
Every January, UEFA compiles a list of promising young footballers; it last featured a Hungarian player in 2020, Dominik Szoboszlai.
This year’s list includes internationally renowned players such as Goncalo Ramos (Benfica), who scored a masterclass goal for Portugal at the World Cup in Qatar, Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao), who played in all four of Spain’s last eight matches, and Manchester United’s 18-year-old Argentine winger Alejandro Garnacho.
Besides UEFA, Kerkez has attracted the attention of the CIES Football Observatory in Switzerland as well, which recently ranked him among the world’s most promising under-21 players in their latest study.
Kerkez was born in Serbia but has dual Serbian-Hungarian citizenship. This is how he was selected for the Hungarian national football team, making his debut for the U17 national team in 2020, one year later for the U21 national team, and on June 9, 2022, he was invited to the Hungarian adult national team for the first time. He made his debut as a starter in the Nations League match against Germany on September 23, 2022, where the team won, and Kerkez played throughout the whole match.
He played his first senior league match in Hungary in 2020 for ETO FC Győr, but in 2021 he was signed by AC Milan, where he first joined the U19 team in the Italian youth league first division. In 2021, a then 17-year-old Kerkez was already playing for the adult team. In January 2022, he was signed by Dutch first division team AZ Alkmaar, where he has since become a main player.
According to recent media news, French Premier League team OGC Nice is now looking to sign Kerkez in January. Reportedly, the club has already officially contacted the player’s agency.
Featured photo via Twitter/Milos Kerkez