#TalentRadar Top 10 Young Midfielders // As part of our Talent Radar feature, we will regularly publish Player Rankings of Young Players divided across the four primary positions (goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders & forwards) and focusing on the 6 big leagues of Europe (Bundesliga, La Liga, Premier League, Serie A, Ligue 1 & Eredivisie).
Some FAQs worth reading just to clarify any doubts about this.
What is Talent Radar? Read this for complete details on the feature.
What is the eligibility criteria? Players that were aged 21 years and below on June 1st 2014, are eligible for Talent Radar.
How often will these be published? The rankings will be updated and published every fortnight, along with our Talent Radar Team of the Week.
On what basis are these rankings made? These rankings are purely based on our opinion of the players and their performances. Our opinions are based on various factors; if you do have a question/criticism/feedback about the inclusion/exclusion of a player, then do leave a comment below.
What’s the point of all this? Good question. Well for one thing, it’s fun (isn’t it?). Secondly, we always track the progress and performances of youngsters under our Talent Radar feature. Those who are featured here and in our weekly, monthly pieces, will also be recognised in our end of season Talent Radar Young Player Awards and ofcourse will also influence our hugely popular 100 Best Young Players to Watch list (at the end of the calendar year).
The third issue of our Talent Radar Player Rankings takes into considerations three rounds of domestic league action and the opening round of the Champions League games. We haven’t taken into consideration the Europa League, nor the Capital One Cup, to maintain consistency.
Up until now Memphis Depay dominated our Talent Radar features, being on top in the first two issues of the young forward Player Rankings while also regularly featuring in our Team of the Week. But an injury that has kept him out of action and dented PSV’s Eredivisie title hopes as well has seen him finally relinquish his top spot, with Valencia’s Paco Alcacer taking over.
The Spaniard has continued his form this season, built up in the second half of last season. Since the previous issue when he occupied 9th spot, the striker has played five La Liga games, either scoring or assisting in each of them (3 goals & 3 assists). In the same period he has made his senior team debut, and been among the goals as well, most recently scoring in the 2-1 loss to Slovakia. Though largely going unnoticed up until the start of the 2014 calendar year, Alcacer has built up his reputation and emerged as quite possible the most pure young centre forward in World football.
Showing good signs himself in the Premier League is Saido Berahino. The West Bromwich Albion striker has impressed with performance, resulting in the knee-jerk British media calling for a England call-up. That isn’t too far-fetched given how poor England’s senior team is, but that may be a step too far for the youngster just yet. The 21-year-old has scored 4 goals since the last issue, 6 in total this season making him the second highest scorer in the Premier League and showing an impressive climb of four places from 7th. His most memorable performance came in West Brom’s 4-0 thrashing of Burnley, where he scored his second brace of the season.
Paul-Georges Ntep was playing the second division of France only 10 months ago, but a move to Stade Rennais in January 2014 saw his rise continue, and the 22-year-old has taken well to Ligue 1 football. Noted for his hard-work, the ex-Auxerre man can momentarily impress with his goal-scoring ability as well. He already had a brace to his name, but added another in his side’s last game before the international break, scoring the two goals in the win over Lens, including one absolute beauty, which earned him a place in our most recent Talent Radar Team of the Week.
Anwar El Ghazi’s rise has stagnated a bit, with a string of average performances over the last few weeks. He drops from 2nd spot all the way to 5th but risks going further down by the next issue if he fails to get his act together. Barcelona’s Munir El Haddadi too has seen a bit of stagnation after initially bursting onto the scene this season. But it’s always difficult for a youngster at a club like Barcelona to maintain performance under immense pressure. Though not really among the goals, his performance have been worthy of credit, which sees him rise two spots.
PSV Eindhoven’s Jurgen Locadia was on par with his team-mate Memphis Depay, partly overshadowed by his impressive displays. Eventually Locadia starting fading away too but the focus has returned on him, given Depay’s recent injury troubles. It was focus that he initially didn’t take too well, failing to perform for 4-5 games consecutively before eventually ending his drought with a goal and an assist in the 3-0 win over Excelsior. But his poor performance prior to that game has seen a steep fall, blanketed only by that recent game.
Muamer Tankovic is another who is lacking in consistency, dropping all the way down to 8th after previous being in the Top 3. The Talent Radar Player Rankings latest addition into the Forward’s category is Divock Origi & Mauro Icardi. The latter has shown a good consistent string of performances and can rise further if he maintains it, while the latter failed to improve much from/since his hat-trick performance in the Sassuolo game.
The most difficult part about these lists is finding players who maintain consistency; an impressive brace one game is followed by a good 4-5 games of next to nothing. In that regard, Paco Alcacer and Memphis Depay (the only two to occupy top spot thus far), have been immensely impressive. The Spaniard is being said in the same breadth as some of La Liga’s current best attacking players, and it certainly is warranted; while Depay’s ‘fall’ can’t be blamed on anything in his control. Hopefully the Dutchman does return soon (expected back in November but arguably not in time to effect the next issue), as going by the early proceedings of the season, it may well turn into a good battle between Alcacer & Depay for the best Talent Radar Forward.
|Anwar El Ghazi
|Munir El Haddadi
Written by Sami Faizullah. Chief Editor of this website.