#TalentRadar | Part of our Talent Radar feature involves looking ahead to the new season and informing readers of the young players to watch. Our lists across Europe’s Top 6 leagues of the Best Young Players (under 21) serve this purpose.
Before we jump into it, there are some important FAQs that will clarify readers on this feature.
What is Talent Radar? And who is ‘eligible’ under it? You can read this for details on what is Talent Radar and what we have planned in it for the 2014-15 season. Players that are eligible under this feature are those that were 21 years old and below on June 1st 2014. We’ve used this date to refer to ‘start of the season’ as it’s ideally when the previous season comes to an end.
On what basis has this list been made? This list is a combination of our opinion and prediction on who we think will be the best young players in the league in the 2014/15 season. So we have combined what we have seen, and what we expect to see, taking into account various factors such as ability, potential, playing time etc.
In what order is this list? Is it a countdown? No, this isn’t a Top 10 countdown, but instead just the 10 best young players in the league based on what we stated above. Players are listed in alphabetical order, and NOT a ranking basis.
What if a player transfers from the club? Or gets injured? If a player does transfer to another league after the list is published and before the transfer window closes, he will be removed and replaced by another. If he gets a long-term injury during the course of the season, then no update will take place.
How many players from one club are featured? We have tried to maintain maximum diversity in terms of clubs, so each club has a maximum of 2-3 representatives, no more.
How many leagues are being covered and how many parts does each league have? We will be covering the Top 6 European League (Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 & Eredivisie). Articles will be divided into two parts for each league, making information easier to take in.
Here we go!
Adnan Januzaj | Manchester United
Who is he? Making his debut only last season, the Belgian rose to prominence after helping his side come back from a goal down against Sunderland in his first start for the club, with two quick goals. In a horror season, Januzaj was a rare shining light at Old Trafford.
Why him? Manchester United’s weaknesses have been well documented, and while they apparently don’t have financial restrictions, it’s no secret that their squad is short of quality. The onus is now on the younger players to step up to the plate; the stage is perfectly set with Van Gaal known for his development of youngsters. Although personally i’m unsure of Januzaj in a wing-back role (defensively lacking), Van Gaal certainly favours pure wingers and the 19-yr-old falls perfectly into his system.
Adnan Januzaj featured in our Talent Radar list of 100 Best Young Players to Watch in 2014
What can we expect? There will be plenty of games for Adnan Januzaj, plenty of moments to impress. In a squad largely on the down, the new and younger players are the brightest sparks of positivity and energy, Januzaj being an epitome of this.
Andrew Robertson | Hull City
Who is he? New signing at Hull City who worked his way up the Scottish leagues after being rejected by Celtic for “being too short”. Positioned at left-back, he’s an energetic player seen rushing down the flanks while also getting back defensively.
Why him? In an era of modern attacking full-backs, Andrew Robertson is just another one coming through into senior football (left-back is by far the most competitive position in our Talent Radar Team of the Weeks, with some truly talented individuals competing for a spot). One who would probably be capable of playing on the wings as well, Robertson displays an exciting aura of his game with incredible pace. Though one can argue he remains unproven, and the Premier League is a whole different level, personally Talent Radar is very excited by this prospect.
What can we expect? Hull City had their ups and downs but largely impressed in their survival bid last season. With their goal now to safely be away from that battle (and a debut in Europe as well), Andrew Robertson can certainly become a prominent figure on this site, and a much talked about youngster.
Calum Chambers | Arsenal
Who is he? Part of last season’s impressive Southampton contingent that have now found a new home, Calum Chambers is a young full-back whose intelligence at his age is quite remarkable. Though unlikely to hold a regular spot in the side, he certainly cannot be ignored.
Why him? Chambers had an impressive season with the Saints last time round, and Arsenal’s decision to spend on him is testament to his potential. Though another new signing, Mathieu Debuchy, holds the right-back role at Arsenal, Chambers is certainly good competition for the Frenchman. On a wider scale, given Arsenal’s lack of defensive options in the centre, the youngster will be relied upon quite regularly given the potential fixture pile-up. Although we maintain he’s best used at right-back, playing him in central defence will show just what sort of footballing intelligence he possesses.
Calum Chambers featured in our Talent Radar list of 100 Best Young Players to Watch in 2014
What can we expect? By no means is Chambers first option in any position, but Wenger will always find the need to rotate across competitions. Spectacular performances may not be a regular occurrence, but for anyone who is truly watching the game, they will notice his ability.
Conor Wickham | Sunderland
Who is he? After making his name in the Championship, Wickham got his big move to the Premier League with Sunderland but constantly failed to impress, until last season. His goals towards the end of the season helped the Black Cats to survival while also having a big say in the title race.
Why him? By no means are Sunderland lacking in striking options, while they also continue to chase Fabio Borini. Having said that, Conor Wickham is undoubtedly one with far greater potential than the others in the squad. Given the form he finished with last season, and the confidence with which he was snapped up by the club, this may well be the year Conor Wickham replicates his Championship performances in the top-flight. On the face of it, he has all the physical skills to succeed; if Poyet continues with the trust in his man that he showed last season, he certainly could prove to be a handful for opposition defenders.
What can we expect? Simply put, goals. Wickham is the perfect young centre-forward for any club, and given the right service, he definitely can shine. The club have made some smart buys and have confidence going into the new season, Talent Radar hopes Wickham is given the opportunity his ability deserves.
Eric Dier | Tottenham Hotspur
Who is he? A rare Englishman who found himself playing in the Portuguese Primeira Division, Eric Dier has returned to England joining Tottenham Hotspur under new boss Pochettino. The 20-year-old marked his debut with a stoppage time winner against bitter rivals West Ham United.
Why him? New boss Mauricio Pochettino has shown last season that he has faith in his younger players to make their mark on the first team; this has even been shown in the signings he has made. Though best played in the centre of defence, he’s a versatile player capable of slotting in at the right side or in advanced defensive midfield position. Tottenham certainly don’t lack central defensive options but are slightly short at right-back and we may well see the young Englishman’s versatility on display this season.
Eric Dier appeared in our Talent Radar list of 100 Best Young Players to Watch in 2014
What can we expect? Though his goal in the London derby will be widely talked off, Eric Dier will be seen most playing an assured game in the centre of defence (and probably often on the right) rather than rounding of keepers. He isn’t going to be a regular feature in the first team, but Pochettino’s confidence can certainly help him get there.
Written by Sami Faizullah. Chief Editor of this website.