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]
With an international break looming before a final sprint to the end of the season, the football world is bracing itself for the personal highs and lows many football supports, players & coaches are bound to experience. Another less significant factor in the sport as we enter the penultimate games of the season are the Talent Radar Performance Rankings and Talent Radar Awards. The 25th Talent Radar Team of the Week for this season further gives a clear picture for those who may well be recognised in those two features.
Atalanta’s Pierluigi Gollini made his debut for the club this weekend having signed on loan from Aston Villa in January, with a confident performance that saw him keep a clean sheet and guide his side to a comfortable 3-0 win over Pescara. While it may be too late in the season to have an impact on our Talent Radar Performance Rankings, the 22-year-old Italian has definitely made a significant impression after his first appearance on this site.
In defence, Sunderland’s Jason Denayer had another good performance, keeping a solid defensive structure at the Stadium of Light against Burnley. Though the game was frustrating in terms of Sunderland’s fight for survival, Denayer will no doubt take positives from it – and from the season as a whole with his loan spell from Manchester City undoubtedly a success. Partnering him in defence is Mr.Versatile, Ramy Bensebaini. The Algerian has made a positive impression on Talent Radar from the opening weeks, having been deployed in various positions across defence and midfield for Rennes to undeniable success. His central defensive performance on the weekend continues to be his preferred position.
Teenager Hidde ter Avest makes his second Talent Radar Team of the Week appearance after a solid display in a 3-0 win away to Roda. The 19-year-old has grown into a dependable full-back with a string of displays that complement his defensive aspects more so than his attacking intent, a rarity for a young modern-day full-back. On the other side is Frenchman Benjamin Mendy who continues to have a staggering season along with an equally impressive Monaco side. This past mid-week, Mendy was on hand to secure an assist in Monaco’s memorable 3-1 win over Manchester City side that saw the French side through to the quarter-finals; the ex-Marseille man even managed five successful tackles in a solid overall display in Europe.
Mendy’s team-mate Tiemoue Bakayoko also impressed in the Champions League win over Manchester City, getting on the score-sheet but also playing his instrumental midfield role to ensure Leonardo Jardim’s side got one over Pep Guardiola. Supporting him in midfield is Argentine Leandro Paredes who opened the scoring in Roma’s 3-1 win over Sassuolo, while also managing five tackles in the middle of the park. Among the two, Bakayoko has been consistently among the top performers while the Roma man has had issues in stamping down a place both at his club and in our Talent Radar features.
Twente’s Freddie Jensen takes up the central attacking position, having managed two goals in the space of thirteen first half minutes that saw his side emerge with three points from Roda. Dutchman Dabney Dos Santo is on Jensen’s left, having scored two goals himself in the space of six first half minutes to lead his side into a 4-0 win against ADO Den Haag. Federico Di Francesco is on the other side, having come on in the second half for Bologna with the score tied at 1-1 against Chievo; twelve minutes later he set up a goal that saw the home side take the lead before getting on the scoresheet himself in injury time.
Leading the line is 2016-17’s success story, Kylian Mbappe-Lotin, who struck in midweek against Manchester City having scored in the first leg, before scoring a brace on the weekend against Caen that saw him receive standing ovations from both sets of supporters. The youngsters’ stock will continue to rise with performances of this sort, and we may well have a superstar in the making.