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U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #8: Goncalo Guedes and Kai Havertz feature

Sami Faizullah compiles this week’s Young Players Team of the Week from across Europe’s top seven leagues.

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players 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. 

[Max. Age Limit: 22 years old on match-day for outfield players, 23 years old for goalkeepers]

De Klassieker in the Eredivisie was the marquee fixture of the weekend as Ajax dismantled Feyenoord’s defence. Napoli’s home games against Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur’s clash with Liverpool were notable as well, but neither produce a worthy Talent Radar performance. Both Schalke and Lyon have two representatives each after impressive performances over the weekend and another Manchester City attacker features, as has become customary this campaign.

Andre Onana led his Ajax side to victory in De Klassieker with the Amsterdam club getting a convincing 4-1 victory over the defending champions Feyenoord. Nicolai Jørgensen wouldn’t want to face the Cameroonian keeper any time soon; not only did Onana save the Dane’s penalty, he also made a couple of miraculous saves from the striker to deny his side a route back in the game.

Thilo Kehrer, though employed in central defence for Schalke this weekend, has been positionally adjusted for the purpose of this XI. The 21-year-old had a solid game in his side’s 2-0 win over Mainz, playing in Domenico Tedesco’s three man back line.

20-year-old Issa Diop captained his Toulouse side to a 1-0 win over Angers. Despite the pressure of wearing the armband, the Frenchman embraced the opportunity, leading from the back and scoring the games’ only goal. Diop’s confidence, is undoubtedly high. He’s partnered in central defence by Bournemouth’s record signing, Nathan Ake. The Dutchman was in for a tough night away to Stoke City, a side who can surprise you as often as they disappoint. But Ake was prepared for the opposition and needed to be defensively solid once Bournemouth went two goals up in the opening eighteen minutes. Eddie Howe’s men then looked to hold the lead for the rest of the game, eventually winning 2-1 with Ake winning six aerial duels, more than any other player on the pitch.

It was an interesting dilemma for the left back choice this week. Whilst Lucas Hernandez of Atletico Madrid eventually got the nod, his main competition for the position was younger brother Theo who was equally impressive for Real Madrid this weekend. Though Atletico have remained unbeaten this season, they’ve recorded four draws, leaving them eight points behind leaders Barcelona, just nine games into the season. So the side’s 1-0 win away at Celta Vigo was all the more important, with Lucas impressive defensively while employed at left-back, away from his usual central defensive role. Older brother wins this one.

The three man central midfield is characterised by two Lyon youngster as both Houssem Aouar and Tanguy Ndombele make their Talent Radar debuts. Lyon ran riot at the Stade de l’Aube in a 5-0 away win against Troyes. Though both were deployed in a three man central midfield, similar to our XI above, they both played very different games. Aouar was more attack oriented, showcased by his nine successful dribbles in the game – an incredible stat for someone playing in central midfied. Ndombele on the other hand was the more defensive of the two midfielders, providing cover to his defence with five successful tackles and an impressive ninety-one percent pass completion rate. He even grabbed an assist, picking up the ball deep in his own half, running through into the opposition half and threading Memphis Depay through with a neat pass. The two Lyon men are joined by Schalke’s Leon Goretzka who scored for the third successive Bundesliga game (fourth goal overall), in his side’s win over Mainz. The German international showed great composure to execute a neat finish over Rene Adler in goal.

Upfront we unfortunately lack a traditional out-and-out striker, but have gone with Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz through the middle. Die Werkself were completely outplayed in the first half against Borussia Monchengladbach, going into half-time 1-0 down. But a completely different Leverkusen came out after the break, scoring five in thirty-three second half minutes. Kai Havertz, though he failed to get on the score sheet, was instrumental in this come-back, setting up three of the five goals in a memorable performance. Interestingly, Havertz’ managed six assists in his breakthrough campaign last season, and has already grabbed half of that tally in this game alone.

One of Spain’s success story this season has been Valencia’s continued resurgence at the top of table. Still unbeaten and second only to Barcelona, the ex-champions got an impressive result against Sevilla, winning 4-0. Goncalo Guedes got two goals, and helped himself to an assist. He opened the scoring two minutes from half-time with a fierce shot from the edge of the box, before setting up Santi Mina for the game’s third goal with a neat through ball. The rout was complete in stoppage time as Geoffrey Kondogbia played Guedes through, which the Portuguese finished with a delicate chip over the keeper. Guedes is currently sixth in our Talent Radar Performance Rankings for Midfielders, with team-mate Carlos Soler sitting in top spot.

It almost seems like we can’t have a Talent Radar Team of the Week without a Manchester City youngster featuring, this week it’s Leroy Sane who returns for a third time this season. While the Manchester club dominated the 3-0 win against Burnley, they only had a penalty from Sergio Aguero in the first half to show for it. Enter Sane – in the space of two second half minutes he set up Nicolas Otamendi’s goal from the corner, before latching onto Kevin De Bruyne’s perfect through ball to score the third and final goal.

Read all our Talent Radar Team of the Week articles here

Sami Faizullah

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