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Talent Radar 2016-17 Performance Rankings: Top 10 Young Defenders | Hector Bellerin still on top


Judging the calibre of a young player is often a tricky task. Perceived potential has an important bearing in any consideration and is just one of the many parameters to consider when trying to quantify the ability of football’s young stars. To add a basis to what may be a leap of faith, it is useful to look back and trace the growth, or indeed lack thereof, in young players.

Our Talent Radar Player Rankings, along-with our Talent Radar Team of the Week documents the progress of youngsters across Europe, with those featuring in these regular pieces, eventually being recognised in our end of season Talent Radar Young Player Awards and 100 Best Young Players to Watch list. Read this document for all your queries on Talent Radar and explanation of the features under it.


[Eligibility: As of 1st June 2016 – 21 years old and below]


The third edition of our defender rankings is here, and it simply sums up the dominance of some of the better players in this continent. The best have done their bit, and are staying near the peak. The chasing pack are going to have to step up their efforts if they are steal the spotlight. This attitude is epitomised by the leader, once again, Hector Bellerin.

Starting off the list is a new entrant Jesus Vallejo. The Frankfurt man has been solid over the past month and a half in the Bundesliga. He’s played a good role for a young Frankfurt side that has kept 3 clean sheets in the period, and his record with interceptions is quite positive too.

Just above him is Alex Grimaldo. The La Masia man has dropped like a stone, having missed the last 45 days of action due to injury. It’s a bit tragic for him really, as the man was arguably one of the top 5 left backs in the world on form, but he has to recover now. Certainly, not too many people would have bet on this, and punters might have done better to try their hand with some Sports themed games at Royal Vegas Online Casino.

The second and last new entrant on this list comes from a well known home of talented and entertaining youngsters. Bernard Mendy. This weekend sure brought a set back with a red card for him in a 1-3 loss to Lyon, but the last month and a half have been spectacular. A dominant performance against Spurs in conjunction with partner in crime Thomas Lemar stands out.

Hoffenheim have more draws than they do wins, but they find themselves pretty high up the table, and as one of only 2 unbeaten teams in Europe alongside Real Madrid, an unlikely stat, much like the surprise performances you might find on Royal Vegas Online Casino. At the heart of this fabulous run is Niklas Sule. The defender has been quietly consistent, and his strong performances have seen him earn a regular place on our Team of the Week.

A pretty impressive rise for Sule sees him just below Jeremiah St. Juste. The Heerenveen center back has dropped from the brink of the podium to out of even the top 5. He’s another who has, like Grimaldo, suffered the ill effects of injury. He’s missed their last couple of games, and that has hurt him enough to see him here.

Starting off the top 5 is Ramy Bensebaini. The Rennes man had a great start to the season, but it tapered off a bit. The lowest point was their heavy defeat to Monaco. Having recovered since then, Rennes, and Bensebaini have put in impressive performances to grow in confidence and strength. A recent appearance in the Team of the Week also helped secure a rise up the rankings in this list.

Just above him is Jonathan Tah. The youngster narrowly drops out of the podium after a month of indifferent form for his team. Neverkusen did very well in the Champions League, but struggled in the Bundeliga, suffering reverses to the likes of Bayern and Leipzig, as well as Ingolstadt most recently. For a team flying so high in Europe, 0th is a sobering mid table spot that Leverkusen a certainly not accustomed to, and certainly not setlling for. The exact same words could be used for their star defender Tah. While he’s been fantastic for them in European games, he hasn’t always been convincing in the league.

To start the podium we have Davinson Sanchez of Ajax. The Colombian has been quite important for Ajax and a good run had seen them move to the top of the table. Sanchez, the man who moved to the club only recently has adjusted well to the system at Ajax. He’s got a bright future if he can keep up this form.

The top 2 of course, remain dominant, and retain their positions. This is quite impressive, considering Leverkusen’s form and the fact that Hector Bellerin has had to battle injury. Both of these young right backs are regarded as something approaching special talents for both their teams, and are well protected in terms of the playing time they receive. Rightly so as well, considering their on field efforts.


Talent Radar Team of the Week // Performance Rankings

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