Talent Radar is our latest feature, you can know more about it here. Updates on young talents is one of it’s features as we track the progress of their early careers.
Matej Vydra finally gets a start
Followers of the Capital One Championship will tell you of Vydra’s quality. The 21-yr-old Czech international ran the show in England’s second division while on loan at Watford, even picking up the Championship Player of the Year Award. He averaged 1 goal every 2 games in all competitions for Watford, an impressive return for a young striker. His parent club, Udinese, decided to loan him out for a second season, this time to West Brom in the Premier League. A lot was expected of the striker, he even made our list of Top 10 Premier League Youngsters to watch out for (Mid-Season report coming up in the next few days). After two substitute appearances, a hamstring injured hampered the player’s season as he missed out on much needed football action. What’s worse for Vydra, even on his return from injury he struggled to get first-team action as he seemed to have fallen out of favour with Steve Clarke. A possible problem arising from Clarke being the ‘head coach’ of the club, and as such Vydra may have not been his signing. But Clarke’s sacking opened new doors for Vydra, with caretaker boss Keith Downing giving the Czech his chance; and in Downing’s first match in charge, Vydra came on as a substitute and scored a late equaliser against Hull. On Boxing day he was finally given his first start, away to Spurs at White Hart Lane. West Brom earned a respectable draw but Vydra should have scored at least one goal. In the first half he had a glorious opportunity when played through, and possibly should have found Ridgewell who was in acres of space but Lloris dealt with it. Another chance arose later but Vydra missed another glorious chance with the ball played across the face of the goal. He had a largely good game, but was unfortunately marked out by the Spurs defence, losing all of his aerial duels. He surprisingly didn’t feature against West Ham, but expect to see far more of the youngster with such impressive performances.
M’baye Niang returns to France. Was it a Milan failure?
Many football fans consider M’Baye Niang to be one of the highest rated young players in World football. Primarily because he secured a move to a top European club, AC Milan, at the tender age of 17. Although Niang was promoted to senior football at a very early age and has thus gained experience early on, he failed to show much that would warrant a move to AC Milan and their first team. Niang was in Caen’s first team for just one full-season before moving to Milan. Despite a number of appearances in the first team, albeit as a substitute, Niang has failed to score a single league goal in nearly 30 appearances, for a striker, that’s a fairly poor return, irrespective of age. It must be said though, that he has been deployed out wide as well in Allegri’s questionable formations. At Caen he was featuring fairly regularly, with a regular run of starts but had scored just 5 goals in 30 appearances (in all competitions). AC Milan went on to sign the likes of Balotelli and Matri after Niang’s arrival, in addition to Pazzini, Robinho & El Sharaaway who were already in the side, thus reducing the youngster’s chances. The Frenchman this week confirmed a loan move back to France, joining Montpellier in January. A move that could, hopefully, propel Niang’s career further. But one can’t help but think that this could be the end of the road for Niang and his Milan career. The club themselves are going through a terrible period, not the best place for a youngster to develop (just ask Saponara).
Kasami puts in an exceptional performance
Ex-Liverpool & Lazio youngster, Pajtim Kasami has been a revelation this season & a shining light in the Fulham side in what has been a largely gloomy season. He scored Fulham’s first goal of the season and followed that up with a contender for the goal of the season against Crystal Palace. But it was away to fellow strugglers, Norwich, that he had arguably his best performance in a Fulham shirt. The Swiss international scored a sweet free kick to equalise for his side. But it was his general performance that stood out. He dominated the right side of the field, both in defence and attack. He won an incredible 8 aerial duels against Norwich, also winning 3 tackles in Norwich’s left flank. Kasami looked hungry whenever on the ball, always driving forward and looking to take his chances. He wasn’t shy of getting a shot off after collecting it at the edge of the box. Despite the poor quality of Fulham’s performances, Kasami has been excellent in his game for the Cottagers and still gives some hope to neutrals of a good display every week. We’ll certainly keep our scouting eyes stationed on him, henceforth.