For three years now, this website has continued to focus on the younger generation of footballers, often over-looked by mainstream media. For three years we’ve also published a Talent Radar Team of the Season across Europe’s top six leagues, having monitored these players in our Team of the Week and Player Rankings feature. 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]
Sergio Rochet // AZ Alkmaar // 23 // Goalkeeper: The Argentine Rochet has been yet another impressive element in a young Alkmaar team. They have made it to the Europa League playoff spot for next season, and will be looking to make it into the next round. To do so, they’ll need strong performances from the man in between their sticks. Rochet has shown that he has great reflexes this season, making many saves. He averages almost two saves a game from within the penalty area, an outstanding ratio.
Kevin Diks // Vitesse // 19 // Right Back: Kevin Diks is one of the youngsters at Vitesse who isn’t from Chelsea. The all action right back is just 19, and plays with the energy that is characteristic of such an age. His dynamic style makes him an invaluable presence to have on the right flank. The man averages nearly three tackles, and over two interceptions a game. Going forward too, he is quite effective. He’s picked up 3 assists, and scored twice this season from his right back position.
Jairo Reidewald // Ajax // 19 // Center Back: Reidewald is a center back built in the Ajax image. The 19 year old has been at the heart of their title challenge, leading them to a second placed finish. While their attack has come in for much praise, with players like Milik picking up plaudits, you have to give credit to Reidewald as well. His passing from deep is a key element of their build up. Add to that the fact that he averages over 2 interceptions a game, and you have a player who is capable of being the brain of the team on the pitch.
Talent Radar XI // Other Leagues
Sven van Beek // Feyenoord // 21 // Center Back: Feyenoord have been a surprise package this season. They began like a house on fire, but have slowed down and finished a distant third behind the two giants. Having said that, they’ve certainly won a lot of admirers thanks to their performances. A player who has been singled out for praise is Sven van Beek. Having a defender like him, who is comfortable on the ball is important for the possession heavy style of football that Feyenoord try to play. His pass success rate is about 87%, which is very high. This, coupled with the fact that a lot of his long passes are also very accurate make him an ideal deep lying playmaker. The tall center back is naturally strong in the air as well.
Jetro Willems // PSV // 22 // Left Back: One of the new breed of full backs, Willems is a player who simply loves to attack. His forays down the left have troubled defenders in the Eredivisie all season long, and as a result, the lad has picked up 4 assists. Willems makes over two crosses per game, and a number of them lead to the creation of chances. While he’s a star going forward, Willems has shown some reluctance in his efforts going backwards. Having said this, he’s got the physical attributes to be able to contribute more.
Marvelous Nakamba // Vitesse // 22 // Midfielder: The midfielder from Zimbabwe has been one of the most consistent midfielders in the league this season. Nakamba has created his own niche with his inspiring work rate, and aggression. The man averages over four tackles every game, which is exactly what you want from the man who is protecting the defence. His passing has also been very satisfactory, with an 85% success rate. Nakamba does a simple job, but does it very effectively, and this is what makes him so good.
Riechedly Bazoer // Ajax // 19 // Midfielder: Bazoer has broken into the team this season, and has proven himself to be quite a handful for opposition players. Bazoer has shown that he can be quite a proposition from the middle of the park, just behind the likes of Klaassen and Milik. He’s scored 5 goals, and made four assists, and also been a useful passer. His energy and all round skills make him an indispensable asset in tight battles.
Talent Radar Player Rankings // 100 to Watch in 2016 // Awards
Lewis Baker // Vitesse // 21 // Midfielder: Baker spent the season in the Eredivisie on loan from Chelsea, and came with quite a big reputation. Baker enjoyed playing alongside the aforementioned Nakamba, as the duo took on differing roles to forge a strong partnership. While Nakamba was the beast, Baker served to provide the creative beauty. Scoring five times, he worked well setting up the play. He generally tried riskier passes, and set up a lot of chances for his teammates.
Vincent Janssen // AZ Alkmaar // 21 // Striker: The top scorer in the Eredivisie, Janssen is proving to his coaches that he is the man to lead the line for The Netherlands. His pace, and intelligent running have set him apart. He’s a player who does the simple things right, and as a result, he has managed to score 27 goals in just 32 starts. Janssen tries to play on the shoulder of the last defender, and has taken his chances well this season to score the goals he has.
Sebastien Haller // Utrecht // 21 // Striker: The Eredivisie has seen some great strikers this season, and Haller is one of the 3 best, which is a huge compliment to him. Tall and quick, Haller has the attributes it takes to make it as a top striker. Moreover, he’s contributed heavily to the cause, scoring 30% of his team’s goals, as Utrecht finished in the Europa League playoff spots above all expectations. The 19 goals that he’s scored are even more important for this team, considering how small their squad is.
Arkadiusz Milik // Ajax // 22 // Striker: The Polish striker is surely one of the best in the business today. While the others have more goals, Milik has shown his ability to participate in build up play too, and has 7 assists to add to his 21 goals. He was particularly prolific towards the end of the season, pushing Ajax towards the title. Though they fell short in the end, Milik will surely be coveted even more by the European giants now.