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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]
Gianluigi Donnarumma // 16 // AC Milan // Goalkeeper: Just 16 and already playing in the top flight of one of world football’s best leagues, Gianluigi Donnarumma has heavy expectations weighing on his young shoulders. The last time Milan won a derby against Inter was in early 2014. This weekend however, the quest for a victory against the city rivals was fulfilled with a 3-0 score line at the end of the 90 minutes; Donnarumma playing a key part in painting the city red.
Elseid Hysaj // 21 // Napoli // Right-Back: The Serie A title race is turning out to be the most interesting one among the major European leagues and currently sitting on top of the table are Napoli. A certain youngster by the name of Elseid Hysaj has played a big role in this rejuvenated Napoli side. The Albanian has featured in all of Napoli’s games in the league so far and put in a solid performance against Empoli on Sunday, winning the game with a 5-1 score line at the final whistle.
Alessio Romagnoli // 21 // AC Milan // Centre-Back: Italy’s Alessio Romagnoli first entered Talent Radar circles in 2014. Since then, OOTB has kept a close watch over him and while his progress over the years hasn’t always been a smooth sailing upward curve, we can safely say that the youngster will graduate the Talent Radar feature will the potential to have a solid career. The 21-year-old was another relatively young player to take part in the latest Milan Derby where he showed us just why our judgement about him was in line.
Presnel Kimpembe // 20 // PSG // Centre-Back: It’s beyond safe to say that the Ligue 1 for the 2015/16 season belongs to PSG. With that matter settled, PSG have the liberty to experiment on the pitch and with that, Presnel Kimpembe was given his third appearance in the league this season, the first as a part of the starting XI. Despite getting a yellow in the 9th minute of the game, the 20 year old showed he has is in him to be another young and talented CB that France can call upon.
Ridgeciano Haps // 22 // AZ Alkmaar // Left-Back: Alkmaar have been undefeated in the league since 22-year-old Ridgeciano Haps returned from his toe injury. In his latest outing, the Dutchman was up against NEC away from home. The game ended with a 0-3 scoreline, Haps chipping in with an assist – his second in three games. This is Haps’ first appearance in Talent Radar circles, a perfect time to get this on his resume considering he is on the verge of stepping beyond our age restrictions.
To know more about football’s young stars, read our 100 Young Players to Watch in 2015 feature.
Max Meyer // 20 // Schalke // Right Winger: Schalke were back to winning ways this weekend against Darmstadt with Max Meyer proving to be the deciding factor. The youngster scored a goal and provided an assist, thus contributing to both goals in a game that ended 0-2. In all competitions, this brings his tally to 4 goals and 6 assists in 26 appearances. We’re here to remind you that he is still 20-years-old.
Matthias Ginter // 22 // Borussia Dortmund // Central Midfielder: Matthias Ginter has turned provider on several occasions this season, his assist tally currently at 10 across all competitions. Sadly, the game against Ingolstadt wasn’t one of those games where he was an active participant amongst the goals but with that being said, the 22-year-old had an excellent game from the middle of the park.
Godfred Donsah // 19 // Bologna // Central Midfielder: After having a very stop-start season so far due to injury and being left on the bench, 19-year-old Godfred Donsah finally ran into some good fortune. The Ghanaian was a part of the Bologna side that beat Sampdoria at home on Sunday, winning 3-2. Donsah contributed with a goal and an assist in the game.
Hakan Calhanoglu // 21 // Bayer Leverkusen // Left Winger: After earning himself a reputation for quality and spectacular free kicks, things have slowed down for Calhanoglu but focus has shifted to other aspects of his game (and rightly so). The 21-year-old Turk was able to assist one of the three goals that were put past the Hannover side that visited Leverkusen this weekend.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh // 22 // AZ Alkmaar // Striker: We generally do not have many Asian representatives in the Team of the Week considering so few of them play in the top five leagues. That said, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, hailing from Iran has done himself, and his country proud when he turned up his game against his former club, NEC on Saturday. The 22-year-old scored one of three goals in the game which was enough to beat all other competition to get into our TOTW.
M’Baye Niang // 21 // AC Milan // Striker: The final representative from the Milan side that beat city rivals Inter this weekend is Frenchman M’Baye Niang. After serving the first half of the season so far on the side-lines due to a metatarsal fracture, Niang is back with the first team and is in the process of getting his groove going. Against Inter, the youngster pulled out the big guns, scoring one and assisting another.
Written by Razim Refai
Read all our Talent Radar Team of the Week articles here.