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U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #15: Franck Kessie and Leon Bailey feature

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]

Defence: This weekend was a big one in The Netherlands. It was marked by the clash between rivals Ajax and Feyenoord. The defending champions haven’t been able to maintain last season’s standards, but the pressure was on Ajax to pick up the win at home, and they duly delivered. They won 2-0, and saw two solid performances at the back. Keeper Andre Onana didn’t have too many problems, making just 2 saves. His distribution from the back was the key though, completing 89% of his passes. This is excellent, as most keepers only manage to complete about 60-70% of their passes in a game. His teammate Frenkie De Jong also had a field day, keeping the Feyenoord attackers very dissatisfied with life. The defender managed to complete 97% of his passes, a fine example of Ajax’s domination.

Like Ajax, Nice has also been a bit of a success story. The team was battling relegation not too long ago but have risen to challenge for European places now. Their 1-0 win this weekend takes them level with Nantes in 5th place. Down their right hand flank, Patrick Burner put in quite the performance. The 21 year old was dribbling and making incisive passes, but also made 4 tackles. A fine all round performance from the lad. Benfica are in a tight race for the Liga NOS, and their 3-0 win over the weekend was exactly what they needed to keep up with Porto and Sporting. At the back, Ruben Dias, the youngster put in an equally efficient performance. His 2 tackles, interceptions, and 3 clearances ensured that Benfica faced no trouble on the night.

Jorge was tasked with replacing the incredible Benjamin Mendy at the start of the season. The task is certainly not an easy one, but he’s taken to it like a duck to water. He scored the opening goal for his side in first half injury time, as Monaco picked up a fine 3-1 win.

Midfield: Staying in France, Marsielle won 0-2 away at Caen on Friday night. Andre Frank-Zambo Anguissa played a starring role in this win. The midfielder put in a spectacular performance. He completed 4 dribbles, and won 4 free kicks for his side while going forward. Defensively too, he was very strong, making 5 interceptions and 6 clearances. His partners in midfield both come from Serie A. Franck Kessie scored a quickfire brace for AC Milan as they got over the line with a close 1-2 win over Cagliari. This was a welcome win for Milan who are some way off the pace in their pursuit of European football. Leading that particular pack is Lazio. The Roman club won handsomely. Everyone got a bit of the cake, but the greediest of them all was star midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who grabbed a brace.

Forwards: Shifting quickly to Portugal, we turn our attention to Vitoria de Guimaraes’ 3-1 win. Specifically to their 21 year old attacker, Raphinha. The youngster managed to score and assist in their win. Moving to Spain now, Celta Vigo managed to win their second consecutive game to move up to 7th place in the table. An impressive effort was needed for them to come from behind and pick up the points. Maxi Gomez scored the winning goal in the 75th minute to continue a season of progress for him. Rounding up this week’s team is Leon Bailey. The highly rated youngster did his reputation no harm as Leverkusen won 4-1 away at Hoffenheim. The left sided player troubled his opponents all through the game, completing 5 dribbles, aside from his goal and assist.

Read all our Talent Radar Team of the Week articles here

Vishal Patel

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