Best Young Footballers | The latest feature under our Talent Radar banner compiles a Team of the Week, featuring the best young footballers (U-22) of the week in Europe’s top 6 leagues to help continue to track our progress of these youngsters.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen | Borussia Monchengladbach, Germany, 21: Gladbach were exceptional in their famous 2-1 victory away to Borussia Dortmund. Klopp’s men continued to attack but ter Stegen and his defence were up to it. They played the last 20 minutes with 10 men after Havard Nordtveit was sent off. In total ter Stegen faced 25 shots towards his goal, letting one in when the pressure was immense from the home side.
Serge Aurier | Toulouse, Ivory Coast, 21: He has adapted well into his new role as wing-back in Toulouse’s 3-5-2 formation, he is effectively being played as a winger, but does retain some of his full-back duties. After scoring and setting up in Toulouse’s comeback win against Reims, he was among the scorers again, scoring Toulouse’s 3rd goal in a 3-2 away victory over Rennes. He made his way into the box, as Toulouse passes it around in the area, before the ball was finally passed to Aurier to finish from close range. This is Serge Aurier’s second appearance in our Talent Radar Team of the Week.
Stefan De Vrij | Feyenoord, Netherlands, 22: De Vrij was a rock in Feyernoord’s victory over Heerenveen, a match which left Marco Van Basten infuriated. The Dutchman was solid at the back as his side managed to keep a cleansheet. De Vrij made 2 tackles and 5 interceptions, even effectively getting the ball away from danger 15 times.
Shkordran Mustafi | Sampdoria, Germany, 21: It’s hard to include a defender when he’s on the wrong side of a 3-0 thrashing, but if it weren’t for Mustafi, the final scoreline vs Atalanta could be a whole lot worse. The ex-Evertonian made a massive 6 tackles (including 2 very important ones), he also made 5 interceptions and 15 safe clearances. This is Shkodran Mustafil’s second appearance in our Talent Radar Team of the Week.
Jon Flanagan | Liverpool, England, 21: Although he struggled at the start, Flanagan settled into the game and proved to be solid in preventing United’s attack. In an incredible stat, Flanagan made 11 successful tackles and put an end to United’s only attacking outlet. Read the entire analysis of the United-Liverpool game here, where his role is better explained.
Marco Benassi | Livorno, Italy, 19: The man on loan from Inter has been enjoying the game time he’s being given. He put in an assured performance against Bologna, opening the scoring after making a run along the channel and finishing with a neat shot. He also helped out defensively, making 3 tackles in the central midfield area. Benassi had the best pass completion rate at 84%.
Leonardo Bittencourt | Hannover, German, 20: The ex-Dortmund man had a good game as Hannover got a solid 3-0 victory away to Hertha Berlin. He was instrumental in the first few second half minutes, firstly setting up Lars Stindl for the opener with a terrifying run down the flank. Eight minutes later he cut inside from the flanks and played a neat through ball for substitute Jan Schlaudraff to double Hannover’s advantage.
Leonardo Bittencourt featured in our list of 100 Best Young Players to Watch-Out for in 2014, coming in at #22 in the list of midfielders. View the entire list here. Here is a more detailed account of Leonardo Bittencourt under the #TalentRadar feature.
James Rodriguez | AS Monaco, Colombia, 22: The youngster had a big part to play in Monaco’s 3-2 victory away to Lyon. He constantly made forward runs and was rewarded with a goal; he initially spread the ball wide and as the low cross came across the face of the goal Berbatov’s touch couldn’t get the ball into the open net but the ricochet allowed Rodriguez an easy goal. Into the second half, and James played a neat ball through for Berbatov to finish with the Outside of the Boot. He had the best pass completion rate at 90%. This is James Rodriguez’ second appearance in our Talent Radar Team of the Week.
Hakan Calhanoglu | Hamburg, Turkey, 20: The Turkish youngster broke a season record against Nurnberg as he took 10 shots on goal, finally finding the net with the 8th one. He showed incredible technical skill to bring the ball under control, then on the turn ran with the ball and was helped by a deflection as he shot from long-range. That goal came 10 minutes from time. Calhanoglu even had 4 successful tackles and 2 interceptions. This is Hakan Calhanoglu’s second appearance in our Talent Radar Team of the Week.
Hakan Calhanoglu featured in our list of 100 Best Young Players to Watch-Out for in 2014, coming in at #16 in the list of midfielders. View the entire list here. Here is a detailed Scout Report onHakan Calhanoglu.
Balde Keita | Lazio, Senegal, 19: The young talent started on the right for Lazio against Cagliari but was constantly drifting inside. He took a commendable 7 shots with 3 of those hitting the target. He seems like a capable striker, and got his goal from a striker’s position in a striker’s method. He received a through ball, ran at the defence and smashed strongly to give Lazio a 2-0 away victory.
Balde Keita featured in our list of 100 Best Young Players to Watch-Out for in 2014, coming in at #28 in the list of attackers. View the entire list here.
Steven Berghuis | AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands, 22: Although it was in a losing effort, Steven Berghuis was once again excellent for AZ Alkmaar. He gave his side the lead with a powerful free-kick from the edge of the box, too much for the keeper to handle. He took the most shots (4) but again impressed with his defensive contribution and pressing from the front, making 5 successfiul tackles. This was Steven Berghuis’ record third appearance in the Talent Radar Team of the Week.
You can view all our Talent Radar Team of the Week articles here, along with more pieces on young footballers from across the World