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2018-19 U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #5: Matthias De Ligt & James Maddison 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.

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

Once again, Athletic Bilbao provided a giant killing performance, holding Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou. It was a weekend of upsets in La Liga, as Sevilla also humiliated Real Madrid. Andre Silva made the headlines in that game, but here, it was the keeper Unai Simon, stealing the show with 7 saves to keep the Catalans out. He occasionally rode his luck (Barca struck the woodwork twice), but in the end, Simon’s place in the team is a well deserved one.

Ahead of him, at right back is Valentino Lazaro. The Bundesliga also gave us an upset this weekend, as Hertha took Bayern down. The full back was instrumental in this performance, making 7 interceptions and 5 tackles. He also picked up an assist in the midst of all this defensive work. At left back, is Oleksandr Zinchenko. Taking advantage of Mendy’s absence, the Ukranian made a strong case for himself with a very steady and assured performance. The fact that he played in midfield previously makes him a natural fit for a Guardiola side, and he will be hoping to capitalise on this opportunity. Continuing with the theme of upsets into the centre back region is Issa Diop. In truth, Diop didn’t have that tough a time against a lacklustre United. But credit is due to him for his no nonsense approach whenever he was called into action. He ensured Jose Mourinho’s torrid start to the season continued, and left West Ham and Pellegrini feeling much better on their path to recovery. His partner this week is the excellent Matthias De Ligt. The highly rated Ajax youngster put on another stately performance, playing out from the back and getting forward regularly to influence play.

An extremely attacking midfield has Lyon’s Houssem Aouar in the middle. The midfielder scored a goal in their 1-1 draw, as his teammate Nabil Fekir endured a miserable evening, missing a penalty and hitting the frame of the goal. Alongside Aouar is Roma’s Lorenzo Pellegrini. The midfielder did all the damage as Roma beat their fierce rivals Lazio 3-1 to take away the bragging rights for now. The third man in the middle of the park is Leicester’s James Maddison. The set piece specialist, brought in to fill the void left by Mahrez, showed his skills as he set up Harry Maguire’s goal, and finished the game as a contest. Out wide on the right is another Englishman who looks like he could do big things. Jadon Sancho has made the right move, getting playing time at Dortmund, and making a name for himself by getting in amongst the assists. He made quite the impact, picking up 2 assists in around 25 minutes on the field, allowing Dortmund to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 win at Leverkusen. On the left side of the field is Jonathan Bamba of Lille. The wide man scored twice in a second half that saw Lille blow Marseille away with a 3 goals blitz.

Rounding up the team is the excellent Lautaro Martinez of Inter Milan. The youngster, brought in only this summer, scored a fine header as Inter continued their recovery from a torrid start with a nervy win over Cagliari.

Read all our Talent Radar articles here

Vishal Patel

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