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Talent Radar Young Players’ Team of the Week #9: Xhaka, Dybala feature

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 all details on Talent Radar, who is eligible under it and what else we publish within this feature.

The ninth Talent Radar Team of the Week takes into consideration the mid-week Champions League games, though the influence on the final XI from the competition is largely insignificant. The Bundesliga dominates this week with 4 representatives; La Liga, Serie A and Eredivisie have 2 each, Ligue 1 has just a sole representative and the Premier League once again disappoints.

Alphonse Areola | Bastia | France | 21 | Goalkeeper: The young keeper had to be at his best as Bastia were away to Nice. The home side took an incredible 20 shots as opposed to 3 by Areola’s Bastia and yet the French U-21 keeper landed up on the winning side in a 1-0 win. Constantly under pressure and made to save regularly, it’s a surprise he managed to pull off a clean-sheet and a justification for his place in this week’s XI.

Jose Gimenez | Atletico Madrid | Uruguay | 19 | Centre-Back: Making his first appearance of the season, young Gimenez was thrown into the first team in Atletico’s 2-0 win over Espanyol. Though he initially took time to settle in and was guilty of over-committing to challenges, he got better and more assured as the game went on, helped by the experience of Godin. It was this commitment that led to Atletico’s 2nd goal as Gimenez won a header in the box for Mario Suarez to finish.

Kaan Ayhan | Schalke | Germany | 19 | Centre-Back: The highly-rated defender played two excellent games under the management of Roberto Di Matteo at Schalke as they first put in a solid display to beat Hertha Berlin 2-0 before beating Sporting 4-3 in a thrilling encounter in the Champions League. Ayhan played a key role in both games, though the latter did have susceptible defending. He also set-up his centre-back partner’s goal in that game from an excellent free-kick.

Raphael Varane | Real Madrid | France | 21 | Centre-Back: Taking his place in the team as a replacement for the injured Sergio Ramos, Varane justified a role in the starting XI as Real Madrid completely dominated Liverpool at Anfield. Real were faced with increased attacks in the second 45 minutes, particularly on the counter, but Varane stood up strong to contain any potential comeback with an extremely mature performance.

Granit Xhaka | Borussia Monchengladbach | Switzerland | 22 | Central Midfield: The Swiss midfielder scored from a beautiful free-kick while also serving as an important component in Gladbach’s midfield, constantly reading the game well, breaking up play, and seeing his side through to a dominating 3-0 victory. Xhaka’s good performance come as no surprise as he has managed to grow in strength with every game he’s played since his arrival from Basel. Xhaka was the Bundesliga Talent Radar Player of the Week in our German Football Column.

Paul Pogba | Juventus | France | 21 | Central Midfield: It’s strange calling him a ‘talent’ but the 21 year old still qualifies for the Talent Radar feature and makes this week’s team for his performance against Sassuolo in an ultimately disappointing 1-1 draw. He drew the side level with an excellent curled effort and ran the show in midfield as the gulf in class was evident but not much to show for it. Pogba for his part had an excellent game, taking on opponents constantly and creating opportunities.

Adam Maher | PSV Eindhoven | Netherlands | 21 | Right Wing: Rejuvenated Adam Maher impressed in the 3-0 win over AZ Alkmaar. With AC Milan boss, Filipo Inzaghi, watching on, Maher scored twice including an exhilarating run cutting inside from the right flank and utlising his pace to strike past the keeper, a move which involved getting past six AZ players. His first was a simple tap in after good work from Jetro Willems down the left and poor handling from the keeper left the goal gaping for Maher to strike. Maher was also picked as the Eredivisie Talent Radar Player of the Week in our Dutch Football Column. Scout Report on Adam Maher.

Heung Min Son | Bayer Leverkusen | South Korea | 22 | Left Wing: The Korean had a fantastic game as Leverkusen took a 3-0 lead in the first half, he first showed immense composure to open the scoring after faking a shot, smashed one in from long-range for the second and then played the short pass to Karim Bellarabi for the 3rd. He also went on to chip the keeper only to find his shot hitting the post (as most of Leverkusen’s shots do) but unfortunately for Son & company, the match would end 3-3. Scout Report on Heung Min Son.

Mario Gotze | Bayern Munich | Germany | 22 | Attacking Midfielder: Gotze has been having a wonderful year besides scoring the World Cup winning goal. The youngster had been in top form and continued that this week. Two goals came against Bremen in the 6-0 win, the first an exquisite turn and shot, the second a powerful drive from outside the box. He added to those two in mid-week, after combining with Muller to score the 2nd in Bayern’s incredible 7-1 win over Roma.

Paolo Dybala | Palermo | Argentina | 20 | Striker: Paulo Dybala put in a fantastic performance this weekend for Palermo, as they defeated fellow promoted side Cesena, 2-1. Dybala grabbed a goal in the 32nd minute with a delightful curling shot from the corner of the box into the far side. As the match progressed, Dybala later grabbed the assist for debutant Giancarlo Gonzalez’s winning goal as he sent in a corner during injury time which found the Costa Rican’s head to seal all three points for Palermo. Dybala was picked as the Serie A Talent Radar Player of the Week in our Italian Football Column (and this write up on him was extracted from there).

Elvis Manu | Feyenoord | Netherlands | 21 | Striker: He scored twice in Feyenoord’s 2-1 win over Heracles, both goals coming within the first 20 minutes. A long ball from Luke Wilkshire was neatly finished first time by Manu, before scoring a bit of a poachers effort from Jens Toornstra’s corner. Feyenoord have been a bit disappointing so far this campaign, but they’re finding their way back and youngsters like Manu could be vital to their fortunes this season.

Talent Radar Team of the Week 9

Head this way for all our Talent Radar Team of the Week pieces.

Written by Sami Faizullah.


Sami Faizullah

Sami Faizullah

Co-founder and Chief Editor here. Obsessed with tactics. Keen follower of young players. Creator of #TalentRadar. Appeared in A Football Report's list of "Best in Football Writing 2012".
Sami Faizullah

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