#TalentRadar | A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young players compiled into an XI from across Europe’s top six leagues. You can read this for details on what is Talent Radar and what we have planned in it for the 2014-15 season.
The fourth Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week sees all 6 top European leagues considered, though the Italian Serie A is yet to have a representative. The French Ligue 1 sees the maximum representatives this week (4) while the La Liga, Bundesliga & Eredivisie have 2 each with only 1 from the Premier League. Marco Verratti is the only man from the list making a second Team of the Week appearance.
Special Mentions: Before we do reveal the list, there are a few special mentions that we need to make as this week’s team was the toughest to compile so far, with some unfortunate exclusions. Timo Horn just misses out on the goalkeeping positions to a compatriot while Steeve Yago was unlucky not to make it an centre-back. The trend of excellent young left-backs continues but Jose Gaya & Abdul Rahman Baba sadly don’t get in with the competition. Javier Manquillo was denied a second appearance in the right-back role. Midfield is where it gets really interesting, special mentions to Gianelli Imbula, Raheem Sterling and Federico Cartabia. Up front, Muamer Tankovic is unfortunate to miss out on his second appearance while Domenico Berardi is the only Serie A player who came close to the XI.
Goal of the Week: This was a close one, we were split between the two, but in the end left-back Alberto Moreno’s incredible run and finish from his half after winning possession, takes the cake. Wylan Cyprien’s fantastic effort for Lens is what we had a conflict of choice with.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Loris Karius | Mainz | Germany | Goalkeeper | 21: Arguably the most popular goalkeeper in our Talent Radar Team of the Week last season, opened his account for the new campaign with his display against Hannover in a 0-0 draw. Besides the cleansheet, his most noticeable save came from a glancing head which he acrobatically turned above his goal.
Aymeric Laporte | Athletic Bilbao | Spain | Centre-Back | 20: Young Frenchman Laporte put out a stellar performance in Bilbao’s 3-0 win over Levante. The 20-yr-old made an incredible 5 tackles and 7 interceptions as lone striker Barral struggled against the Laporte-San Jose partnership. His incredible defensive intelligence at this age, shown initially last season, continues on. // Scout Report on Aymeric Laporte.
Kenny Otigba | Heerenveen | Hungary | Centre-Back | 22: The Nigerian born central defender had a fantastic afternoon in his side’s 3-1 victory over Utrecht. All 8 of his interceptions came in threatening areas around his box as he stepped up to break-up play. But his most telling contribution was the run he made from deep into the opposition half, playing a neat true ball to Mark Uth for his second goal. The run and pass would make a deep lying midfielder proud.
Joshua Brenet | PSV Eindhoven | Netherlands | Right-Back | 20: The youngster has finally cemented himself a starting berth by the looks of it, and continued his impressive start with a good performance against Vitesse in a 2-0 win. He made the most tackles among all the players, as he shut out that right channel but was on hand to provide width in attack. PSV’s high line saw him positioned almost deep wide in midfield.
Alberto Moreno | Liverpool | Spain | Left-Back | 22: Liverpool seem to have finally found themselves a reliable full-back for the left side of their defence. Despite the mistake in his first game, he was impressive overall and further enhanced his reputation in the 3-0 win over Spurs. The disciplined side contained the opponents for the 90 with Moreno’s help, while the Spaniard also added that aforementioned goal of the week scoring the third. // Scout Report on Alberto Moreno
Marco Verratti | PSG | Italy | Defensive Midfield | 21: The Italian made his second appearance in our Team of the Week, with his performance in the 5-0 win over St. Etienne arguably better than the previous one that got him in. His passing was incredible, attempting 108 passes (more than any other player) at a 95% completion rate (again, the highest). In addition to that, he also set-up Ibrahimovic for his 3rd goal with the neatest of passes. Note that Verratti played on the right of midfield, but he’s been positionally adjusted here. // Scout Report on Marco Verratti
Laporte featured in our Talent Radar Young Player Awards 2013/14
Laporte, Calhanoglu & Thauvin were among Talent Radar’s 100 Best Young Players to Watch-out for in 2014
Karius & Calhanoglu feature in our Top 10 Young Bundesliga Players to Watch in 2014/15 list
Thauvin & Verratti featured in our 10 Best Young Players in the 2014/15 Ligue 1 season list
Wylan Cyprien | Lens | France | Wide Midfield | 19: To be brutally honest, personally never really noticed Wylan Cyprien prior to this season but he’s sold himself to Talent Radar with his performance against Reims in a 4-2 win. He attempted the most shots and created the most chances, while also scoring a beautiful goal from the edge of the box that ended up hitting the top corner. He also popped up to provide an assist to Pablo Chavarria’s goal after his low cross at the far post was turned in (though it may have been a mis-directed shot on goal).
Valentin Lavigne | Lorient| France | Wide Midfield | 20: This is Lavigne’s second appearance in a team of the week. The previous one came as a result of lack of options when he came on as a sub to score against Monaco late on. It was another sub appearance this week as well and an even better performance. With the score at 1-0, he came on in the 72nd minute; it took him just 8 to score with a neat & powerful pass into the net, 3 minutes after that he went on a run down the right flank and set-up Ayew and then wrapped up the game in the dying minutes with a close range finish. Valentin “the Sub” Lavigne, am I right?
Hakan Calhanoglu | Leverkusen | Turkey | Attacking Midfield | 20: Arguably one of the most difficult positions to decide this week, but Calhanoglu takes the spot showing how highly we think of his performance. The #10 created a staggering 5 scoring chances with 2 of them ending up as assists in the exciting 4-2 win over Hertha Berlin. The first was a well worked free-kick that saw Calhanoglu chip the ball to the far post for Emir Spahic to finish, the second, a quick run down the flanks before a perfect ball to the free man, Karim Bellarabi, far wide, who finished with the most beautiful technique. // Scout Report on Hakan Calhanoglu
Florian Thauvin | Marseille | France | Forward | 21: Firstly, we must note here that Thauvin played more on the right wing as opposed to in the forward line, but he’s been positionally adjusted to include in the XI. Bielsa’s effect seems to be working on him and the side as they beat Nice 4-0. He first scored from a simple tap in, the lead up to which Nice should have had a free-kick, and then combined well with Dimitri Payet for a pass-and-go move. Payet passed, Thauvin perfectly crossed, and Payet finished with a diving header.
Paco Alcacer | Valencia | Spain | Forward | 21: Another Talent Radar favourite made his first appearance in a Team of the Week this season as Valencia beat 10 man Malaga 3-0 at the Mestalla. He opened the scoring after a quality cross from Jose Gaya (mentioned earlier in this piece) to the near post as Alcacer finished it in with his first-touch. He also set-up Pablo Piatti for the 3rd in the second half, with just the deftest of touches into his path. A memorable week for Alcacer as he also received his first national team call-up.
Written by Sami Faizullah. Chief Editor of this website. All our Talent Radar Team of the Week pieces can be found here.