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 seven 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 2016 – 21 years old and below for outfield players // 22 years old and below for goalkeepers]
Finally, club football made an emphatic return this weekend, and the beautiful game came at us so thick and fast, we might just start calling it the breathless game. With all the action, and all the events, come a number of talking points. Whether it is the new leadership atop the Premier League and Bundesliga, or Real’s decimation of Ateltico, or the scintillating draw in the Milan derby, Monday and Tuesday before the Champions League are sure to be busy for tongue waggers and keyboard warriors like yours truly! Having said that, let’s look at the best young players from the European leagues!
Defence: A new name in the goalkeeping stakes which are normally dominated by the likes of Karius, and Donnarumma. Pickford is at the back of a struggling Sunderland defence, but The Moyesiah has this youngster to thank for the impressive 3-0 margin of victory over Hull City. The gap between the two teams really wasn’t that narrow, and full credit to the youngster for making sure his team held on at the start of the game, and eventually went on to dominate.
Twente are in a weird funk of form, and the numbers can say that they’re unbeaten in 6, or that they’ve picked up just 1 win in 6. They continued this strange form in what must have been a disappointing result, as they failed to grind out a win against a Utrecht side that played with 10 men for most of the game. At least right back Hidde ter Avest can claim to have tried his level best. He got the goal for his side, and struck the woodwork as well.
Continuing the trend of new faces in the ToTW is Wallace from Lazio. The defender had a great game, with 12 clearances and 1 important goal. Alongside him, another new face for the season, Nathan Ake. The forever a-loan Chelsea player scored an important goal to help Bournemouth get an important win, and ensure that Eddie How is the highest placed English manager in the Premier League.
In the left back spot, we have Federico Ricca. It isn’t too often that teams come to the Nou Camp and leave with a clean sheet, so for Malaga to do so with just 9 men on the park is an astounding achievement, Messi or no Messi. The 21 ear old Uruguayan played his role to perfection. First of all, he managed to not get sent off, and aside from that too made 4 tackles and 7 clearances over the 90 minutes.
Midfield: Monaco brought us back from the international break in style, with a commanding second half performance seeing them prepare perfectly for their home game against Spurs this coming week. Their now customary presence in the Team of the Week is made up by Thomas Lemar and Tiemoue Bakayoko this week. Lemar earns his place thanks to a goal, and Bakayoko of course was his usual dominant self, serving selflessly in defence and in attack.
The notable inclusion in central midfield had to be that of Julian Weigl. Dortmund haven’t really been setting the league on fire this time, but the win against Bayern certainly opens up the league, and gives them a major confidence boost. In a win where the performance was as bad (good?) as it was, an uncharacteristically workmanlike Dortmund managed to shut out Bayern, and key to this effort were the midfield generals, Gotze and Weigl. The latter hasn’t been as dominant as last year this time around, but his growing influence is surely a positive, and will hopefully take Dortmund closer to surprise leaders RB Leipzig.
The other man in the middle of the park in this team is Lorenzo Pellegrini. The Sassuolo man has made it back into the team after a while, and he’s made it on the back of a solid overall performance. The youngster picked up an assist in his team’s loss, but aside from that too, he was good going forward, and quite effective defensively as well.
Finally, on the left wing, is another customary presence, this time from Leverkusen. Neverkusen had to eat the loss to Leipzig in an exciting encounter, but the performance from the wonderkid Julian Brandt was nothing short of exceptional. The man got a goal and an assist in a 2 goal showing for his team. Not much more he could’ve done, and he will hope for a better showing from his teammates in future matches.
Striker: The lone man up top is Ajax’s Kasper Dolberg. As this season has progressed, Dolberg has grown in stature, and is now a regular name in these columns. He’s be pretty tough to replace as well if he keeps performing like he did this past weekend. A hattrick and an assist in a 5-0 win pretty much does all the talking that needs to be done.