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]
Jan Oblak // Atletico Madrid // 23 // Goalkeeper: Atletico Madrid grabbed the headlines this past weekend as they once again conquered Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu courtesy a goal from Antoine Griezmann. The game saw Jan Oblak register another clean sheet with an accomplished performance in which he performed his duties admirably as the rearguard for a typically organized defence. The Slovenian may have taken his time but having firmly established himself as Simeone’s number 1, he’ll look to emulate his predecessors David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois and join the group of elite goalkeepers in World football.
Eric Bailly // Villarreal // 21 // Right-Back: Playing with a fairly young squad, Villarreal kept their Champions League push well in control in a 3-0 win over Levante. Ivorian Eric Bailly was among the starters, playing slightly out of position at right-back. But one would hardly have guessed that the youngster is primarily a central defender, putting in an assured performance with three tackle and three interceptions. Defensively solid young right-back are fairly rare in modern football, with an inclination to prefer the more attacking ones, but if Bailly is played more regularly in this new role, one can expect a re-definition of the position.
Aymeric Laporte // Athletic Bilbao // 21 // Centre-Back: It seems incredible that Laporte is still only 21-years-old as he’s almost a Talent Radar veteran, as oxymoronic as the term may be. The French defender had a busy night at the back against Gary Neville’s Valencia side. The away side may have ridden their luck at times to come away with 3 points but Laporte played a crucial role in ensuring the clean sheet with 5 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 8 clearances.
Antonio Rudiger // Roma // 22 // Centre-Back: German Antonio Rudiger is experiencing a great start to his Italian career, having managed to successfully establish himself in a new league (and a very different one) at an early age. Having made an incredible four tackles and six interceptions, the youngster was on form in Roma’s 3-1 away win against Empoli continuing their rise under returning boss, Luciano Spaletti. The 22-year-old has already played more games for his new club than he did for Stuttgart last season, and his regular form is fantastic for Roma’s Champions League push.
Nathan Ake // Watford // 21 // Left-Back: A Chelsea loanee making the Talent Radar Team of the Week is not an uncommon occurrence. Young defender Nathan Ake has continued this trend as his solid performance against Bournemouth was enough to seal the left-back spot in this week’s edition. The 21-year-old had an eventful game that included a disappearing act into a strangely positioned pit alongside the pitch in between 4 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 4 clearances on the night.
Nahuel // Villarreal // 19 // Winger: Another Villarreal youngster that impressed Talent Radar last weekend was teenager Nahuel, making his Team of the Week debut on this site. The 19-year-old set up his side’s third and final goal against Levante, making a case for a regular starting berth. The 2015 U-19 Euros championship winner was one of five Talent Radar eligible youngsters to start for the Yellow Submarine on the weekend, in what is turning out to be a successful season. The side are a comfortable 11 points clear of 5th place Celta Vigo.
Talent Radar Player Rankings 2015-16
Dele Alli // Tottenham Hotspur // 19 // Midfielder: The biggest young revelation of the Premier League season earned himself another spot in the Team of the Week, with an assured performance against Swansea in a 2-1 win, continuing the London side’s unlikely Premier League title push. The benefits of developing one’s early footballing education in the lower leagues, away from the glitz and glamour of top division football, is evident in the development of Dele Alli as one of the leagues most sought after midfielder
Tonny Vilhena // Feyenoord // 21 // Midfielder: At just 21, Vilhena has already played 127 competitive club fixtures, with a long career ahead of him. The midfielder was on form against Utrecht as Feyenoord came from a goal behind to complete a 2-1 win away from home and end their winless streak. Vilhena scored the opener, capping off a good counter from a turn of possession. He set up another with similar determination for the first strike, two minutes before half-time, crossing back into the danger area for captain Dirk Kuyt to finsih. The defending from Utrecth was suspect, Vilhena’s work-rate wasn’t.
Kingsley Coman // Bayern Munich (On loan from Juventus) // 19 // Winger: There are very few 19-year-old wingers, certainly none to this writer’s knowledge, who can boast having played for PSG, Juventus, and Bayern Munich by that age. The winger has certainly been bright for the German Champions as he’s benefited from injuries to Robben and Ribery to get more playing time than expected. The youngster starred in a 2-0 win against Wolfsburg opening the scoring and then playing a crucial role in the build-up to Lewandowski’s goal.
Marcus Rashford // Manchester United // 18 // Striker: Football fans love a good narrative and the one Marcus Rashford dished up last weekend is as good as it gets. Only getting his chance due to a raft of injuries to first team strikers and a clearance sale at Old Trafford in the past couple of windows, Rashford has grabbed his opportunity with both hands. The 3-2 win against Arsenal saw the teenager score 2 first half goals displaying a knack for finding space and finishing well to grab what looked like an unlikely win against title chasing Arsenal. Quite a week for the young man.
Arkadiusz Milik // Feyenoord // 22 // Striker: Polish youngster, Milik, scored his 52nd and 53rd career league goals in Ajax’ 4-1 win over AZ Alkmaar, keeping his quality rise going. The first strike epitomized his clinical nature, latching onto a low cross at the near post. His second complemented his finishing ability, holding off the challenge of Ron Vlaar before finding the back of the net.
Read all our Talent Radar Team of the Week articles here.