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]
Finally, the last international break of the season is behind us, and we find ourselves on the long and winding road to trophies and accolades, and of course, pain and heartbreak. The young players who have been leading the way to our end of season awards need to keep up their spirits and performances to ensure that thy feature, and of course, achieve their team and personal goals. With that being said, let’s get back to the action.
Defence: After a long spell away, Alban Lafont is back in the Team of the Week. It comes as no surprise that this coincided with a win for Toulouse after many weeks. The teenager did well to keep Montpellier at bay, making 4 claims as Toulouse got the points on the board.
At right back is Davide Calabria. Milan missed the chance to go above their city rivals, but the positive for them, like this season, is the emergence of young talent. Calabria made a great impact, both going forward and backward. 9 tackles and 3 key passes in a 1-1 draw is quite impressive.
Our center back combo is one that isn’t unknown to readers. Niklas Sule and Davinson Sanchez pair up at the heart of defence after good wins. Sanchez was part of a very important and chase igniting win for Ajax at the Amsterdam Arena in Der Klassiker against leaders Feyenoord. His partner, Niklas Sule, will soon don the red of Bayern. Anyone who knows anything about football knows that isn’t a joke, and it does wonders for this youngsters confidence. He got a goal for his side in their comfortable 3-1 win this weekend.
Another dream run this weekend went to Thilo Kehrer. The Schalke youngster scored an important goal in the Ruhr derby against bitter rivals Dortmund, and that alone will make him a legend of almost Danny Rose-esque proportions.
Midfield: The 5 man midfield this week features a tough central trio, all of whom are all action midfielders. As an aside to the players themselves, this is quickly emerging as a trend to watch for, with box to box midfielders becoming the currency of European football.
Firstly, we have a regular of this team, Naby Keita. The Leipzig midfielder helped his side negotiate a potentially tricky fixture against Darmstadt. A goal in each half from Keita was more than enough for the title chasing side.
Another goal scorer this weekend was Wilfred Ndidi. The midfielder was brought in, presumably to replace Kante but injuries and an indifferent manager have seen him struggle to break into the starting 11 so far. Recent weeks, and the emergence of Craig Shakespeare have brought Ndidi into the fold, and he’s impressed. This weekend, he stole the show with a fabulous goal, probably the goal of the season.
The third man of the trio is Franck Kessie. A few weeks back, Atalanta suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of their European rivals, Inter, but they’ve turned that around, and after this 0-5 win over Gasperini’s old side Genoa, find themselves above Inter. Kessie’s boundless energy, his 3 shots on target, 2 tackles, and 2 interceptions were the delicious cake. The assist was just the icing and the cherry on top of it. A well deserved spot in the side for Kessie.
On the right wing we have Inaki Williams. The energetic Bilbao wide man scored the winner for the Basques against Osasuna to secure 3 important points for them in their battle for the European spots. Kristoffer Peterson, on the other flank makes it into the team for the same reason. He got a good goal as a dominant first half performance from Heracles was enough to put Heerenveen away.
Forward: The lone striker this week is Sebastien Haller. The French striker was a big part of Talent Radar last season, featuring heavily. This time around, he hasn’t been quite so effective, but nonetheless, his goal this weekend earns him a well deserved spot on the ToTW.