A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar 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.
[Eligibility: 21 years old and below on June 1st 2015 // 22 years old and below for goalkeepers]
Jerome Prior // Bordeaux // 20 // Goalkeeper: Bordeaux went to Lille in what was bound to be a tough away game. The match ended goalless, thanks in no small part to the efforts of young Jerome Prior. The stopper made 5 saves over the course of the 90 minutes, keeping the hosts out, and playing a crucial role in earning his team a valuable point.
Chancel Mbemba // Newcastle United // 21 // Right-Back: With Daryl Janmaat suspended, Chancel Mbemba was called upon by Steve McClaren against Manchester United. The 21 year-old had his work cut out for him as well with former Talent Radar awardee, Memphis Depay coming into the game on the back of a splendid mid-week performance. The defender made 6 tackles, 2 interceptions, 13 clearances and 1 block as Newcastle kept the home side at bay. Mbemba didn’t have it all his own way as Manchester United’s new number 7 had the beating of him on multiple occasions though. The former Anderlecht man did well to intercept the Dutchman’s cross after he had rounded Tim Krul. The right-back’s only meaningful contribution in attack was a delightful early cross towards Aleksandar Mitrovic whose header struck the bar.
Jonathan Tah // Bayer Leverkusen // 19 // Centre-Back: Leverkusen had a tough away game, and they did will to pull off the win. 2 wins out of 2 is a positive sign, and with their big game against Lazio in the offing, the good form of youngster Tah is very encouraging. The 19 year-old made 6 interceptions during the 0-1 win at Hannover, thus playing a crucial role in maintaining that clean sheet. Tah is a player who is improving in leaps and bounds, especially with all his young colleagues around him. Leverkusen will need more such performances from him in the near future.
Sven van Beek // Feyenoord // 21 // Centre-Back: Feyenoord ran out comfortable winners in the end with a 2-0 scoreline, but the actual match was closer, with both teams fighting hard. Feyenoord took the points because they were the sharper side on the day, and performances like the one van Beek delivered are the ones that matter. The imperious defender made 4 tackles and 3 interceptions, proving to be a rock at the back for Feyenoord. Fans will be hoping he can keep it up this coming weekend, as Feyenoord square off against the champions, PSV. Read a detailed scout report on van Beek here.
Benjamin Mendy // Marseille // 21 // Left-Back: Mendy is another who is a Talent Radar regular from last season, although this is his first appearance this time around. The left-back had a comfortable evening as Marseille routed the visiting Troyes 6-0. The French youngster was always willing to provide an option on the overlap and made his presence felt with 3 key passes and a 3 dribbles. He also made 3 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 3 clearances in the game. Read a detailed scout report on Mendy here.
Hakan Calhanoglu // Bayer Leverkusen // 21 // Right Winger: Calhanoglu is the second Leverkusen player in this week’s team and is a youngster that needs no introduction. At just 21, Calhanoglu is already considered one of the world’s deadliest strikers of the dead ball and only reinforced his reputation this past week. Leverkusen emerged 1-0 winners as mentioned previously with a Calhanoglu free-kick separating the teams. The free kick was scored through a more conventional side-foot technique and gave the ‘keeper no chance. The precocious midfielder almost repeated the feat later in the game with only the crossbar thwarting his effort. The 21 year-old had a total of 3 shots, 4 key passes, and 5 dribbles on the night.
Julian Weigl // Borussia Dortmund // 19 // Central Midfielder: 69 passes attempted with just 79 touches of the ball tells you all you need to know about the performance of this young player. Weigl has emerged on the scene and been a revelation at the base of Dortmund’s midfield. He’s complemented Ilkay Gundogan and the flair players ahead of him perfectly. His performance on the weekend was also excellent, as Dortmund stepped up their game in the second half to smash 4 goals. Read a performance analysis of Weigl against Gladback here.
Julian Draxler // Schalke // 21 // Central Midfielder: The talented youngster has long been linked with a move away from Schalke, and it isn’t hard to see why the likes of Juventus were sniffing around eagerly this summer. The midfielder featured heavily in his side’s drawn encounter this weekend, making the difference in attack. He scored a goal, and overall, had 2 shots on target from his 5 shots. Draxler is a player with pace and power, a rare combination that he used to good effect against Darmstadt. Read a detailed scout report on Julian Draxler here.
Ali Adnan // Udinese // 21 // Left Winger: ‘The Asian Gareth Bale’ Ali Adnan enjoyed a great start to life in Serie A, as Udinese shocked the peninsula with their win in Turin. The Iraqi winger was deployed on the left wing in the 3-5-2 that Udinese lined up in. Despite not being spectacular with his passing, his debut was more than just acceptable, with his crossing on the mark, and finding its targets more often than not. He had a good run on the left wing, and the signs are certainly encouraging for him and Udinese.
Oussama Tannane // Heracles // 21 // Striker: Heracles put Cambuur to the sword with an emphatic 6-1 victory as Oussama Tannane was once again the star of the show. An incredible haul of 4 first half goals was enough to kill the game off. Tannane cut infield from the right and found the bottom corner with his left foot for his first. He then earned the penalty and dispatched it with little difficulty before sealing his hat-trick by beating 2 men and smashing a right-footed finish past the ‘keeper. Tannane saved his best for last as he ran at the beleaguered Cambuur defence before finding the top corner from outside the box. A day to remember for Heracles and indeed, Tannane.
Michy Batshuayi // Marseille //21 // Striker: Rounding off this week’s XI is young Belgian striker, Michy Batshuayi. Marseille have a number of promising young players in their ranks, none more so than Batshuayi. The 21 year-old almost opened the scoring as his near-post header came back off the cross-bar and fell nicely to Barrada who made no mistake. Batshuayi was not to be denied though as he picked the ball up near the half line, shrugged off the attention of 2 Troyes players before finding the side netting with an emphatic finish. The striker capped off the rout as he diverted an outside of the boot cross into the goal with his knee. Read a detailed scout report on Batshuayi here.
Read all our Talent Radar Teams of the Week here.