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]
Geronimo Rulli // Real Socieded // 23 // Goalkeeper: Rulli may have been on the losing end on the day but little fault could be attached to the 23-year-old ‘keeper. The Argentine custodian was brought into the game early in the piece as he prevented Las Palmas from taking the lead from the penalty spot with a good save. He could do little to stop the indirect free kick that proved to be the game’s only goal but impressed enough to nail down his spot in this week’s edition of the Team of the Week.
Jose Gimenez // Atletico Madrid // 21 // Center-Back: The young Uruguayan has received much love from us throughout the season, and is once again on the ToTW. He’s slotted into the center of the Atletico defence perfectly, proving to be one of the best defenders in the league. He makes it onto this team primarily due to the role he played in eliminating PSV from the Champions league in midweek, as the Spanish side look for top prize money in Europe’s premier competition. He was solid in defence, making 4 tackles successfully, and even scored his penalty. That’s a fine job done by a relative newcomer in what was a high pressure game.
Samuel Umtiti // Lyon // 22 // Center-Back: The Talent Radar veteran put forth yet another assured performance at the heart of the Lyon defence as the home side garnered a 2-0 victory against Toulouse. Umtiti made 7 clearances and had an impressive passing accuracy of 91.9% as Lyon put on a late show to get all 3 points.
Danielle Rugani // Juventus // 21 // Center-Back: It cannot be easy for the young defender, who is in line to follow such class acts like Barzagli, Chiellini, and Bonucci, but Rugani has waited patiently for his opportunity, and grabbed it with both hands this weekend. He started ahead of the injured Chiellini in a back 3 for Juve, and made quite the impression, winning 3 aerial duels and 3 tackles. Rugani is very highly rated in Italy, and the youngster will need to take consolation from the fact that he is at the best possible school when it comes to learning the art of defending. It may be a lazy stereotype, but not for nothing did Juve just create a record for the longest period in Serie A without conceding.
Kingsley Coman // Bayern Munich (on loan from Juventus) // 20 // Right Winger: Coman had a week to remember as he played a starring role in Bayern’s win against his parent club, Juventus. The winger was introduced in the second half and did a stellar job in providing width against a tiring Juve defence. A stunning left-footed strike sealed Bayern’s progression to the last 8 and did no harm to Coman’s rising stock in Europe.
Tiemoue Bakayoko // Monaco // 21 // Central Midfielder: Monaco pulled off a stunning 0-2 win at PSG this weekend, in what has to be one of the biggest upsets of the season in Ligue 1. While PSG and their profligacy may have had a role to play, one cannot understate the contribution of players like Bakayoko. The young midfielder made 7 tackles and 4 interceptions from his deep position, proving to be a constant thorn in the side of PSG. They probably won’t win too many trophies this season, but such performances will go a long way in warming the fans’ hearts.
Ousmane Dembele // Rennes // 18 // Central Midfielder: The young Demebele featured on our ToTW recently after a stunning hat-trick, and he’s back after another great performance. Dembele got a goal and an assist in Rennes’ thumping 2-5 win at Marseille. What is impressive about the lad is his strong running, and accurate shooting. He works at a very high speed, making it tough for defenders and keepers to handle him. No wonder he has 8 goals/assists in his last 4 appearances!
Julian Brandt // Leverkusen // 19 // Left Midfielder: Leverkusen have been underperforming a bit in recent weeks, and Roger Schmidt has come under severe pressure because of this. The fans and players and indeed, the coach, must now be very relieved after an excellent 0-2 win away at Stuttgart. Young Brandt had a huge role to play in this much needed win, scoring a goal, and making an assist as well. All in all, just what the doctor ordered for Leverkusen.
Sebastien Haller // Utrecht // 21 // Striker: Haller was the big gainer in our latest edition of Forward rankings and has shown no signs of slowing down with another impressive performance against Excelsior. The away side took an early lead before Haller levelled the game from the spot with a coolly taken penalty. The French striker went on to get the winner as he showed great desire to out-jump Muyters and head the ball into the back of the net.
Dom Solanke // Vitesse Arnhem (on loan from Chelsea) // 18 //Striker: The youngster, who is on loan from Chelsea, made quite the impact, especially considering that it was at the behest of his fellow loanee, Izzy Brown, and off the bench. Solanke came on midway through the second half with the score at 0-0, and a quick brace from him won the match for Vitesse. There isn’t much to be said of his chances back at Chelsea, but performances like this will at least keep him on the radar of other European clubs, and secure his future.
Harry Kane // Tottenham Hotspur // 22 // Striker: With Spurs hot in pursuit of Leicester City in an unlikely battle for the title, it was once again Harry Kane who stood up and made the telling blow against Bournemouth. Two goals that were results of well-timed, incisive runs followed by unnerving finishes into the bottom corner. Leading the pack with 21 league goals, one can confidently say that Harry Kane is no 1 season wonder.
Read all our Talent Radar Team of the Week articles here