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Talent Radar 2016-17 Young Players Team of the Week #27: Joao Cancelo, Naby Keita, and Dele Alli feature

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]

A busy week with a lot of football means a lot of joy for all us fanatics. Midweek matches straddled by fixtures over the weekends as well, with European football joining in is a treat. That leaves the young players across Europe with plenty of opportunities to cement their place in their teams, and indeed, stake their claim to a spot in the Team of the Week and the year end rankings. A lot will change over the course of these next couple of weeks, so here’s a suggestion: If you are looking for a sportsbook to place your bets on any of the Europe’s football league, then give a try.

Defence: Starting off is the familiar face of Gianluigi Donnarumma. The Milan youngster kept a clean sheet in another impressive performance as Milan beat Palermo 4-0. The victory got an added layer of gloss and it meant that the Rossoneri have leapfrogged their city rivals Inter and are just a couple of points off Atalanta now, and closing in on a European spot.

At right back is Joao Cancelo. The Portugese full back is a versatile one, with his great attacking talents and energy proving to be priceless for his side more often than not. His technical skill is not to be frowned on either, as he registered 2 key passes for Valencia this weekend in their 3-1 win over Granada after starting in a slightly advanced role. Daley Sinkgraven of Ajax takes the left back spot. The man started and performed to a very high level in their crushing 4-1 win over rivals AZ Alkmaar in midweek. He was effective defensively (3 tackles, 3 interceptions) and going forward too (3 key passes), making him a constant thorn in the side of the opposition.

The week was a very good one for Ajax as they followed up their win over Feyenoord and reduced the gap to 1 point after their rivals only managed a draw against PEC Zwolle. In midweek though, continuing the party for Ajax alongside Sinkgraven was Davinson Sanchez. The Colombian has been one of the best young defenders in Europe this season, and backed it up with a solid performance, and even a goal. His partner is one we have become accustomed to seeing here on our TOTW. Niklas Sule and his Hoffenheim side have no right to be at the doorstep of the Champions league, but a win over the dominant Bayern Munich has them set to do just that. Sule is one of the stars of this team led by the charismatic and intelligent Julian Nagelsmann. Even in defeat this past weekend against HSV, Sule was imperious and ran a slightly lonely furrow at the back.

Midfield: The middle of our park has a solid duo in the form of Naby Keita and Dele Alli. The former had a good game in midweek, as he got what proved to be the winner against Mainz. The dynamic midfielder put on quite the performance, and he can be relied to do so often, as Leipzig fought their way to a win.

While Keita has obviously earned himself a lot of cred with his exploits, a player who is a bonafide star at just 21 is Dele Alli. The goals, assists, and general quality of his play have drawn the obvious, and flattering, comparisons to players like Lampard, Gerrard, and even Ronaldo. His talents and merits need to repeating, so allow to say this. Of all the impressive work we have seen from him, perhaps most impressive his is tremendous growth as a player over last season, as a part of the ever improving Tottenham side. Long may this trend of improving squads by improving players continue, as opposed to just buying better squads!

On the left side of midfield we have Santi Mina. The talented Valencia youngster scored and assisted to earn his spot on our TOTW this week. Mina is a talent that is very highly rated across Spain, a man that many believe will be a regular for La Roja for years to come. On the right is Rossoneri loanee M’Baye Niang. The strong and quick attacker has won plaudits since his landing in England, and is out to prove himself. He got a goal and an assist in midweek against West Brom, inspiring the rest of a team that looks like it’s already on a beach in Malaga to a good win.

Forwards: While we’re on that subject, one team has certainly looked like beached whales in La Liga, as Malaga probably ended the La Liga title race against Barcelona. A 2-0 win saw the scoring opened by the irrepresible Sandro Ramirez.

His partner, Bertrand Traore, the on loan Chelsea forward, made quite an impact for Ajax this past week. Firstly, in midweek, he played a great role in their 4-1 win over Alkmaar. 4 shots on target and a goal were not a bad return at all, with his strength and buzzing movement proving to be impossible for his markers to handle. He continued his fine form over the weekend with a brace against Nijmegen. He’s given his manager one less headache for as long as Kasper Dolberg is injured.

Talent Radar Team of the Week // Performance Rankings

Vishal Patel

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