A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Team of the Week with the best young talents 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.
Nicola Leali | Cesena (on loan from Juventus) | Italy | 21 | Goalkeeper: In unforgiving conditions, Sassoulo took on Cesena playing out a 1-1 draw that did no good for the away side’s relegation fight. But Pierpaolo Bisoli’s men had young keeper, Nicola Leali, to thank as he was kept busy throughout the first half, pulling save after save including a world class one from Simone Missiroli’s header. Having kept the opposition out from open play, he had a quieter second half, until Cesena conceded a penalty gifting Simone Zaza the opener.
Djibril Sidibe | Lille | France | 22 | Right-Back: As Lille continued to struggle, they came up against leaders Marseille at the Velodrome, putting up a tough fight but falling 2-1. Right-back Djibril Sidibe put in the most impressive performance. Solid in defence, he managed to successfully win 6 tackles, one of which was a solid challenge on the half line against Andre-Pierre Gignac, and after spraying the ball wide, he continued his run, ending the move in the opposition box, setting up Idrissa Gueye on the turn for the equaliser.
Emiliano Velazquez | Getafe (on loan from Atletico Madrid) | Uruguay | 20 | Centre-Back: Receiving wide acclaim for his performance against Barcelona, managing a clean sheet against their threatening attack, Velazquez has only gone from strength to strength with another impressive showing in the 1-1 draw away to Granada. He scored his first goal since moving to Spain in the summer, a free-kick dropped the ball perfectly onto his path and he smashed it to earn a point for Getafe.
Jose Gimenez | Atletico Madrid | Uruguay | 19 | Centre-Back: Another Uruguayan signed from Danubio by Atletico and one who could form a partnership with Velazquez at the club in the near future, is Jose Gimenez. The 19-year-old featured at #3 in the defenders category in our 100 Best Young Players to Watch in 2015 special. He put a confident performance away to Athletic Bilbao in a 4-1 victory, forming an assured partnership with Diego Godin after going down to an early goal. Atletico largely played a deep line with Gimenez required to maintain that with the threat of Aritz Adruiz looming large. Bilbao tried to use forward runs of Iker Muniain and Unai Lopez but Gimenez was intelligent in keeping his man and chasing the markers. Six successful tackles, five interceptions and twelve clearances almost tell you the entire story of his performance.
Jin-Su Kim | Hoffenheim | Korea Republic | 22 | Left-Back: Korean international, Jin-Su Kim was part of the Hoffenheim side that decimated Hertha Berlin 5-0 away from home. After going down to some early goals, a lethargic Hertha seem to give up in defence as the attack tried to restore some parity. The 22-year-old was instrumental in breaking up play, making an incredible seven interceptions, helped by the fact that his attacking duties on the wings were restricted, being able to thus concentrate defensively given the 3-0 half-time score.
Mateo Kovacic | Inter Milan | Croatia | 20 | Central Midfielder: The youngster is widely considered as the only major positive of the Milan side over the last few months (along with Mauro Icardi). Against Lazio the Croat was involved in an open game of football that saw the side come back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2. Played in a deeper role, Kovacic was seen constantly getting forward but was intelligent in his positioning though defensively was a bit suspect. He scored a fantastic volley to bring Inter back into the game before Rodrigo Palacio found the equaliser late on. The 20-year-old featured at #3 in the midfielders category in our 100 Best Young Players to Watch in 2015 special. You can read a detailed Scout Report on Mateo Kovacic here.
Talent Radar Player Rankings:
Mateo Kovacic is currently at #5 in our Talent Radar Player Rankings (Midfielders)
Memphis Depay is currently at #1 in our Talent Radar Player Rankings (Forwards)
Philippe Coutinho | Liverpool | Brazil | 22 | Attacking Midfielder: Liverpool finally impressed at home as they drew 2-2 with Arsenal, Coutinho impressing after a spell of disappointing performances. He was initially played wide in a front three but was shifted central as they moved into a 3-4-1-2 formation. The Brazilian opened the scoring late in the first half and had plenty of opportunities to win it himself, but was again let down by his poor finishing in the final third. His confidence to take on opponents in deeper areas continued to impress.
Felipe Anderson | Lazio | Brazil | 21 | Attacking Midfielder: The Lazio man has been in flying form and makes his second consecutive Talent Radar Team of the Week appearance. He scored two first half goals in the 2-2 away draw against Inter. Deployed initially on the right side, he was seen constantly shifting position to lose his markers and play with more freedom. The first goal came early on, taking a touch on the turn and neatly finishing past Samir Handanovic, the second came following a great show of control and dribbling, skipping past a couple of defenders before placing it past the keeper.
David Selke | Werder Bremen | Germany | 19 | Striker: Werder Bremen put further pressure on fellow relegation struggler’s, Borussia Dortmund, with a 2-1 win at home. Two Mats Hummels errors were taken advantage of by 19-year-old Selke. The first came as a result of poor marking by the Dortmund defender that saw Selke beautifully curl it past the keeper. While the second saw the youngster easily skip past Hummels before setting up Fin Bartels with a perfect low cross into the box. Selke featured at #22 in the forwards category in our 100 Best Young Players to Watch in 2015 special.
Luciano Vietto | Villarreal | Argentina | 21 | Striker: The man signed from Racing Club has been in flying form, scoring his 11th & 12th goals of the season against Deportivo La Coruna in a 3-0 victory. Both the goals came in similar fashion with Vietto making an unmarked run from outside the box into a central position and meeting a perfect ball for a tap in. Victor Ruiz set up the first, Denis Cheryshev the second as Vietto’s goal-scoring reputation in Europe continues to grow.
Memphis Depay | PSV Eindhoven | Netherlands | 20 | Striker: The Dutch sensation has been one of the most impressive youngsters this season and faces a vital 2015 as he looks to continue his growth to stardom. Further installing his reputation as a pure striker as opposed to a winger, Depay scored a brace in PSV’s 5-0 win over Go Ahead Eagles. The first came as a result of a smart run and looping header over the keeper as the 20-year-old met a long ball towards the edge of the box. The second a more simple tap in as he made a run through the centre with Adam Maher laying it off on a plate.
Head this way for all our Talent Radar Team of the Week pieces.
Written by Sami Faizullah