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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]
Another tough month has passed, and some excellent performances from the youngsters across Europe have seen the rankings turn all the way around. A lot of changes have taken place during this very crucial period of the football calendar. Let’s cut straight to the chase!
Kicking off the list is new entrant Lorenzo Pellegrini. The Sassuolo player has seen some consistent efforts over the past few months rewarded with his 8th rank here.
Ousmane Dembele is a youngster though, who has suffered from bouts of inconsistency. The youngster suffered a bit in our last set of rankings, but he’s offered a consistently high standard of performances for his club. 2 goals and 2 assists for him have seen him rise a spot the openodds on him placing high on this list were quite good, and the current ones can’t be too shabby either, considering his talents.
Just above Dembele is the uber talented Delle Alli. A few months back this website had made concerns known about his tendeny to focus less on the important bits, and more on nutmegs. Kudos then to Delle Alli for feeding us humble pie after all our festive gluttony. The youngster has been sharp at the right end of the pitch, with 7 goals over the festive period propelling Spurs into the top 3. They’ve been all types as well, with Alli revealing his ability to head rather well, as Antonio Conte will testify.
The talented Franck Kessie has been a revelation in Serie A and Europe this season, defining Atalanta’s rise under Gian Piero Gasperini. Unfortunately, despite his incredible run prior to this month, Kessie seemed to come up short in his big tests against the likes of Juventus and AC Milan, and Atalanta fell short. Consequently, he’s dropped out of the top 5. Similarly, Wylan Cyprien, a player who started the season like a house on fire, but has dropped off a little on his performance since then. Just like Kessie, he too drops out of the top 5.
The top half of our rankings begin with Corentin Tolisso. The dynamic midfielder has been topping our charts for the last few editions, but sees his star fall this time around. His effect on games hasn’t been quite so pronounced, and that sees Lyon 10 points off the pace over the holiday season. Like him, last time’s second placed midfielder, Joshua Kimmich has dropped 2 places on the back of reduced playing time and a lost place in the starting XI. Worryingly for the youngster, Bayern seem to have hit their stride in the middle of the park with the likes of Thiago Alcantara and Vidal calling the shots, so it might be a bit hard for him to break back in.
It’s a podium dominated by Monaco, but at the base is Naby Keita. Leipzig may have faltered against Bayern to lose their place at the top of the table, but it certainly isn’t a reflection on the month or indeed season, that Keita is having. He’s been the beating heart of a very impressive Leipzig side, and his performances have helped them finish the first half of the season in second place. The top 2 are also from a team that are currently in second place in their league. Monaco however, have been virtually unstoppable, and are one of the top scoring teams in Europe. The youthful side has made waves and dominated our Talent Radar feature for this season. So their tricky winger Lemar, and energetic midfielder Bakayoko finishing second and first respectively isn’t really a surprise. Even if the neutrals don’t, we at Talent Radar will certainly be hoping that they can keep up their performance levels in the new year, and give us some more attractive football.