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Talent Radar 2016-17 Young Players Team of the Week #14: Rico, Rugani & Silva feature


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]


The season continues to roll on and the leagues have all finally stratified. It was an important week not just for league action, but we also witnessed the final round of Champions League group stage games. The top European teams have made it into the knockouts, and we will resume European football in the new year now. Meanwhile, here is the team for the week that just ended!

14-12-2016-totw

Defence: A change in the keeper’s spot, as Sergio Rico makes it in for the first time this season. Sevilla have been terrific this season, with talk of transition currently looking farcical. It might be very difficult for Rico, with the competition from Sirigu, and of course, his team’s ultra attacking approach. However, 2 crucial clean sheets in the space of a few days with some stunning saves from Rico have seen Sevilla progress. While they will lose out on their Europa League streak, it’s a safe bet to say that this is seen as progress!

Werder Bremen pulled out a good win away from home, and their defenders put on a good show to ensure that happened. The young Robert Bauer was immense at right back, with 4 tackles and 8 interceptions ensuring he wasn’t being breached for the night.

At center back is Daniele Rugani. Rugani has had to be patient when it comes to playing time, with the likes of Chiellini, Bonucci, and Barzagli ahead of him in the queue. The youngster is taking this opportunity afforded to him very well, and was excellent against Dinamo in midweek. He scored a goal, and was excellent bringing the ball out from the back. He made 91 passes, with a 92% completion rate.

The other defenders on the team this week are the Gladbach duo of Elvedi and Christensen. The two got a goal between the them (Christensen) which was the winning goal, and put in a strong defensive performance as well. A total of 9 tackles and 4 interceptions from them also ensured that Gladbach kept a clean sheet and 3 points after a tough midweek result.

Midfield: For a change the Monaco man in the team this week isn’t Thomas Lemar, but the man on the opposite wing, Bernardo Silva. The Portugese winger got an assist this weekend, as Monaco put in another dominant performance to win 4-0 on the back of a Falcao hattrick.

On the other flank is Allan Saint-Maximin from Bastia. Bastia managed a comfortable 2-0 win over Metz, one of the worst travellers in Ligue 1. The comfort cam largely from their own performance, and especially that of Saint-Maximin. The midfielder drifted in from the left flank and scored a goal, completing 8 dribbles as well in the process.

Feyenoord surged ahead in the title race for the Eredivise this week, after Ajax lost to Twente, and of course, won 0-4 themselves against AZ Alkmaar. The star of that show was Tonny Vilhena, who dominated the game from midfield. The youngster scored and assisted once, but was at his best, with incisive passing and attacking movement there for all to see. Feyenoord seem to be putting up a strong challenge, and it will take a lot for the chasing pack to displace them from the top after performances like this one.

The middle of midfield has 2 Serie A starlets. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic from Lazio is one, with his goal against Sampdoria proving crucial in their 1-2 win away from home. Alongside him is Seko Fofana, Udinese’s French midfielder. The energetic player was all over the field for their win against Bologna over the weekend, making shots, tackles, and passes galore.

Striker: The irrepressible Andre Silva leads the line for this team. The Portugese striker is said to be the real deal, and he’s proving it every bit with his performances. The man scored 4 goals across 2 competitions this past week, with braces against both Leicester and Feirense. He’s emerged as a superb leader of the line for Porto, and probably will be able to play the same role for Portugal as well.


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