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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.
Valentin Belon | Lens | France | 19 | Goalkeeper: This week’s goalkeeping position was extremely difficult to pick as none stood out. But Valentin Belon has certainly turned some heads having made his senior debut last week in a performance that earned him a spot in the Talent Radar Team of the Week. Not helped by a poor defence ahead of him in the 2-1 loss to leaders Marseille, he did pull off a few good saves, particularly against Andre Ayew in the first half showing a surprising sense of maturity in only his second ever competitive appearance.
Calum Chambers | Arsenal | England | 19 | Right-Back: The ex-Southampton man has now become the only player this season to make it into the Talent Radar Team of the Week for a 4th time. Playing at right-back vs Burnley, the youngster did well in making his runs forward which only increased as the side struggled to find a break-through. With 20 mins left, his excellent cross was turned in by Alexis Sanchez and just 2 minutes later he was on hand to poke home from a corner following a scramble for his first Premier League goal as the Gunners went on to win 3-0.
Enzo Roco | Elche | Chile | 22 | Centre-Back: The centre-half was brilliant as Elche earned a vital win, their first in seven matches, at home to Espanyol, making more tackles than anybody else with 4 and also making an assist, pumping a long ball up from the back which Jonathas converted after poor goalkeeping from Espanyol’s Kiko Casilla. With his team going down to 9 men as Espanyol looked to recover from 2-0 down, Roco organised his team well and proved an immovable force, winning all 4 of his headers as Elche remained firm. The 22-year-old was also our La Liga Young Player of the Week in our Spanish Football Column.
Sven van Beek | Feyenoord | Netherlands | 20 | Centre-Back: Feyernood had an easy win at home against PEC Zwolle as they try to close the gap at the top of the table. Sven van Beek and his fellow young centre-back, Terrence Kongolo, were comfortable at the back as they kept a clean-sheet and secured the 3 points in a 2-0 win. van Beek opened the scoring after having gone up for a set-play and saw the ball drop onto his path following Colin Kazim-Richards’ awkward hold-up play.
Raphael Varane | Real Madrid | Spain | 21 | Centre-Back: The Frenchman is one of five players who make this week’s team based purely on their Champions League performance. Varane was solid in his display against a changed Liverpool side. Though not overly troubled, there were moments where he showed his immense composure in pressure situations. His best incident came with Lazar Markovic running at him; the ex-Lens man expertly showed him onto his right and quickly intercepted the attack.
David Alaba | Bayern Munich | Austria | 22 | Left-Back: Pep Guardiola has made Bayern one of the most flexible teams in Europe, and his players among the most versatile. It sees ex-central midfielder converted to a left-back now playing in central defence in a 3 man system. But his tendencies to go forward still remain. While defensively developing into a more sound player, it was one of those attacking runs that was the highlight in the 2-0 win over Roma. His run into the channel set-up Franck Ribery’s opening goal. It still seems strange that the experienced man is eligible for Talent Radar, having played nearly 250 competitive games for club & country.
Mehdi Abeid | Newcastle United | Algeria | 22 | Central-Midfield: Mehdi Abeid made his Premier League debut against Liverpool on the weekend, having been signed in 2011 and loaned out ever since. His performance certainly merits more game time as the Algerian was solid in keeping the Liverpool midfield under control as he prevented the opponents from any creativity. Having made the most tackles on the pitch, Abeid proved how he can cut it as an enforcer in the Premier League.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain | Arsenal | England | 20 | Right-Midfield: After an impressive display against Burnley on the weekend, Chamberlain followed it up with an even better performance at home to Anderlecht in the 3-3 draw. Starting on the right-wing, the Englishman put in an explosive performance with runs outside, cuts inside and a string of through balls. It was from the left though that he found his goal. Picking the ball up, dribbling past a couple and side footing it in familiar Arsenal fashion for the side’s 3rd goal.
Davy Klaassen | Ajax | Netherlands | 21 | Left-Midfield*: It was another exquisite display from Davy Klassen as he was involved in 3 of Ajax’ goals in the 4-0 win over Dordrecht. He played a lovely ball through to Anwar El Ghazi who squared it for Lasse Schone’s opener. He then directly assisted the 3rd, lobbing a ball through to Joel Veltman as the defender made a run through and finished it. His second assist was even sweeter, heading a ball through to Lucas Andersen as he scored the 4th. It wasn’t the only header through ball Klassen tried on the night. *Klassen actually played on the right, drifting in centrally but has been positionally adjusted here.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Davy Klaassen both featured in our list of 100 Best Young Players to watch in 2014, the former came in at #5 in our attackers category and the latter was at #7 in the midfielders category.
Breel Embolo | Basel | Switzerland | 17 | Striker: Basel triumphed 4-0 against Ludogorets in their Champions League tie with the Cameroonian born teenager involved in two of the goals. He scored the opener after a sweet through-ball taking it on his chest to get it under control and slotting it past the keeper. He created the third, receiving the ball down the right and setting up Shkelzen Gashi to seal the game.
Son Heung-Min | Leverkusen | South Korea | 22 | Striker: Another one to feature in this week’s XI as a result of his Champions League performance, the Korean impressed in his display in the 2-1 victory over Zenit St. Petersburg, striking a brace. The first came from a well worked free-kick as Hakan Calhanoglu played it short to Karim Bellarabi who teed up for Son and the 22-year-old rifled it with a perfect curler. 5 minutes later Stefan Kiessling played it through to the ex-Hamburg man and he made no mistake.
Head this way for all our Talent Radar Team of the Week pieces.
Written by Sami Faizullah