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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: As of 1st June 2015 – 21 years old and below for outfield players // 22 years old and below for goalkeepers]
Jack Butland // 22 // Stoke City // Goalkeeper: The competition among young keepers in Europe is intensifying, and England must be proud to have a contender throw in the hat too. Butland has had a great week, proving to be the lynchpin and the difference for his team. An excellent show against a surprisingly vibrant Chelsea in midweek and an important penalty save from Hazard saw his team through to the next round. In the league too, he made 5 saves to ensure that Newcastle didn’t get the 3 points in a very commendable effort. Mark Hughes just needs to work to get the rest of his side firing at this level too.
Kevin Diks // 19 // Vitesse Arnhem // Right-Back: The Eredivisie table is already taking shape and none of the chasing pack wanted to slip up. Vitesse avoided that particular pitfall as they came away with a comfortable 3-0 win against Excelsior. Diks got himself on the scoresheet as he doubled the away side’s lead early in the second half. The right-back also had a tidy game at the back as he made 3 tackles, 1 interception and 3 clearances to help preserve the clean sheet.
Ruben Vezo // 21 // Valencia // Centre-Back: Valencia have had an underwhelming start to this campaign especially compared to their early season exploits last year. They had a great chance to garner 3 important points against a struggling Levante and made no mistake romping home to a 3-0 victory. In what is a young defence, Vezo did well to ensure the clean sheet as he made 2 tackles, 3 interceptions and 5 tackles as Valencia weathered an early Levante storm.
Karim Rekik // 20 // Marseille // Centre-Back: After a tough month, Marsielle started off November on a positive note with a well earned win at Nantes. An impressive and organized show from the side saw them pick up 3 points, and Rekik, as well as Mendy were involved. The former put on an assured display, as his partner stole the show with the winning goal. Rekik was a contributor going forward as well as backward, with 2 dribbles, 2 tackles, and 2 interceptions to show for his efforts.
Adam Masina // 20 // Bologna // Left-Back: Roberto Donadoni took charge in his first game at the helm for Bologna against home town club Atalanta. As with any new manager, the players were looking to make their mark early in the tenure and Adam Masina for one did no harm to his reputation. The left-back was solid in defence, winning more than a fair share of aerial duels and made a telling contribution in attack as showed great close control and then found Mattia Destro on the edge of the box for Bologna’s second.
To know more about football’s young stars, read our 100 Young Players to Watch in 2015 feature.
Gerard Deulofeu // 21 // Everton // Winger: Roberto Martinez put out a very attacking side against a Sunderland side that have been woeful all season, and was rightly rewarded. Of course, Kone gets the headlines for his hat-trick, but a goal and an assist constitute an impressive haul for young Deulofeu, on what was a rare start for him. The Catalan attacker will hope for more such opportunities to come his way, so he can show the world his undoubted talent.
Jorrit Hendrix // 20 // PSV Eindhoven // Central Midfielder: The Dutch Champions haven’t been as proficient this season, but it was performances like this that propelled them to the top last time around. Hendrix put in a brilliant all round performance in an excellent 6-3 win away from home. It wasn’t just going forward that he contributed with incisive passes and an assist, defensively too, he was brilliant, with a clearance off the line. Most strikingly, he ended the game with 97% pass completion, a vital factor in PSV being so effective in retaining the ball.
Viktor Fischer // 21 // Ajax // Central Midfielder: Another huge win for a team at the top of the table in The Netherlands, with several excellent performances from the host of attacking talents at their disposal. Viktor Fischer was a creative force during the entire match, ending up with 2 goals and 2 assists. He, along with his teammates, tore a helpless Roda side apart. After their inability to win the title last season, De Boer will be hoping that performances such as these will help them to the title again.
Inaki Williams // 21 // Athletic Club // Winger: 21-year-old Inaki Williams was the star of the show as Athletic put 3 past Real Betis this past weekend. The winger was right in the thick of things throughout the game as he took 6 shots and created 3 chances in addition to finding the back of the net twice. Betis failed to clear their lines from a corner and the loose ball fell to Williams whose powerful drive from the edge of the box opened the scoring. Athletic and Williams doubled their tally just before half time as he cheekily flicked in a cross from the right.
Arkadiusz Milik // 21 // Ajax // Striker: Another active participant in the heavy win that Ajax scored on the weekend, Milik, like his teammate Fischer, got 2 goals, and 2 assists. More than just scoring the goals, he was very involved with build up play as well, supplying excellent passes for his teammates. His dribbling and running were crucial in creating the spaces that were needed for Ajax to score like they did. Ending up with a frankly ridiculous 11 shots on target is something that gives great credit to the forwards, including and apart from Milik.
Anthony Limbombe // 21 // NEC Nijmegen // Striker: Limbombe was the star man as NEC came away with all 3 points against AZ Alkmaar in what was a goal-laden weekend in the Eredivisie. The Belgian striker opened the scoring on the night as he made the home side pay with a powerful free-kick from just outside the area. After power served his purpose the first time around, Limbombe turned to a bit of finesse later. After being afforded acres of space, the 21-year-old bore down on goal and slotted the ball in between the ‘keeper’s legs to finish off the game.