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Player Focus: Europe's Top Rated Teenagers

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Player Focus: Europe's Top Rated Teenagers

 

With football as profitable as it is, clubs often look to sign the next big thing to either secure glory or make a hefty profit on the player in question. The likes of Wayne Rooney, Javier Saviola, Alexandre Pato and Sergio Agüero transferred in their teenage years for millions of pounds, despite the risk of spending big on a player so young.

 

Some live up to their billing, while others simply fail to handle the pressure of performing on the grand stage at their age as a result of the large fee paid to secure their services. Nevertheless, a number of teens have exhibited their quality to the watching world this season as they strive to reach their potential.

 

Using WhoScored’s unique rating system, of every performer to have made at least 5 appearances, we look at the top 5 rated teenagers in Europe’s top 5 leagues this season.

 

Raheem Sterling (7.31) - Liverpool

 

Having been handed the chance to showcase his talents by Brendan Rodgers last season, Raheem Sterling has become a key member of the Reds starting XI this term, making 21 league appearances, 15 of which have been starts. Alongside Luis Suárez and Daniel Sturridge in the attack, the 19-year-old has come on leaps and bounds as Liverpool look to secure a top 4 finish.

 

Bagging a brace against Arsenal in Saturday’s 5-1 win took his Premier League tally for the season to 5, with another 2 assists to his name thus far. In a World Cup year, Sterling is coming into form at just the right time as he looks to force his way into Roy Hodgson’s 23-man squad for Brazil 2014.

 

Player Focus: Europe's Top Rated TeenagersThe winger is currently averaging 2.6 dribbles per game, accumulating a matching WhoScored strength in turn, with his figure bettered only by Suárez (2.9) of every Liverpool player. Such is his ability with the ball that Sterling has also won the most penalties (3) in England’s top tier this term, highlighting how he’s able to draw fouls in dangerous positions for the benefit of the team. His average rating of 7.31 emphasises how key he has been in the Reds’ pursuit of a return to the Champions League.

 

Aymeric Laporte (7.24) - Athletic Bilbao

 

Under the stewardship of Ernesto Valverde, Athletic Bilbao have emerged as favourites to land a top 4 berth in La Liga this term. Having conceded just the 28 goals in Spain’s top tier, part of their success has been down to their defence, with Aymeric Laporte in particular impressing in his second full season at San Mamés.

 

The defensive solidity of Athletic was often compromised during Marcelo Bielsa’s tenure, shown by Laporte’s average rating (6.97) in La Liga last term, which has risen to 7.24 as Los Leones look to book a Champions League place. Valverde’s influence on the young defender is evidently having a positive effect, with the Frenchman averaging a notable 2.2 tackles and 2.2 interceptions per game.

 

Moreover, the teenager has utilised his height in the Primera Division this term, netting 2 headed goals. He's collected a style of play from WhoScored of ‘indirect set-piece threat’, with the headers coming as a result of deadball situations, highlighting how effective he is at both ends of the pitch.

 

Max Meyer (7.2) - Schalke

 

Player Focus: Europe's Top Rated TeenagersSchalke’s ability to develop attacking midfielders at present knows no bounds, exhibited through the rise to prominence of Lewis Holtby and Julian Draxler. The Bundesliga side have continued this trend with Max Meyer, the 18-year-old now midway through his second full season as part of the senior team.

 

While Draxler has been stealing the limelight for Die Knappen, Meyer has displayed his potential to the watching world with a series of fine performances in the attacking midfield trio in Jens Kellers’ favoured 4-2-3-1 formation. The German has 5 goals to his name in the Bundesliga this term, 3 of which have come when he’s started in the role behind the frontman, highlighting how he’s able to make the right runs at the right time to maximise his ability to score.

 

However, it’s his capability to carry possession that has won him his fair share of admirers, with Meyer currently averaging 3.7 successful dribbles per game, an asset that has seen the teenager develop a statistically calculated strength of ‘dribbling’. Able to drive at the opposition from deep, Meyer is capable of utilising this aspect of his game to punch through defences to increase Schalke’s chances of scoring and with Draxler tipped to leave in the summer, Meyer is understandably considered his natural successor.

 

Domenico Berardi (7.19) - Sassuolo

 

Despite Sassuolo’s lowly position in Serie A, striker Domenico Berardi has adjusted to the rigours of Italy’s top tier with ease. Only Giuseppe Rossi (14) and Carlos Tevéz (13) have netted more league goals than Berardi (12) this season, with supporters and pundits alike raving about the performances of the 19-year-old.

 

Player Focus: Europe's Top Rated TeenagersNo player has scored more clear-cut chances (9) than Berardi in the league this term, with the teenager displaying an impressive level of calmness when presented with the opportunity to net. This facet of his game will benefit his more inventive teammates, who are able to place their trust in the youngster to fire in the goals that will keep Sassuolo in Serie A.

 

Juventus, who currently co-own the youngster, will be justifiably excited about his arrival once the season draws to a close as they look to reassert their dominance in Europe. Berardi, as he’s displayed for Sassuolo, has the ability to contribute next season, under Antonio Conte’s guidance, and can only be expected to improve with age.

 

Nicola Murru (7.1) - Cagliari

 

While Cagliari sit 15th in Serie A, Nicola Murru has displayed his defensive qualities on a consistent basis when called upon this season. The 19-year-old has started 17 of their 23 league games and despite his young age, has all but made the starting left-back spot for the Italian side his own.

 

Perhaps Murru’s biggest asset is his ability to read the game, with a WhoScored strength of ‘ball interception’. This comes as little shock, with the teenager averaging 3.1 interceptions per game - that figure better than any regular full-back in Serie A this campaign.

 

The youngster is currently making 2.6 tackles and 2.9 clearances per league match, highlighting how he’s able to consistently deny the opposition any goalscoring opportunities on his side of the pitch. Furthermore, Murru can offer an offensive outlet for his team from a deeper position having registered 2 league assists, while the left-back is averaging 0.9 key passes per game, a notable return for a full-back, despite Cagliari’s worrying position in Serie A.

 

 

Which teenagers in Europe's top 5 leagues have impressed you this season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below


Comments (13)

 
  • Januzaj is the 'future' C. Ronaldo. He's got to increase his work rate, be more ambitious, and hit the gym more often or even stay longer.

  • Last season Sterling was essentially get the ball and drive to the byline with no end product. This season he seems to be so much more aware, finds the square ball, crosses at the right time and goes alone when need be. I wasn't his biggest fan last season did not think he had much more than pace but I was wrong. Kids got a future could be a fantastic player. Meyer is class what I've seen of him and Laporte is a beast. Love watching Bilbao play the passion is immense. Not seen enough of Serie A this season but will have to check these guys out if the other three are anything to go by.

  • Wow 18 dislikes, crazy people. I appreciate the site articles, I'm just saying that they shouldn't be based only on ratings, but on writer's opinion too. Wouldn't it be better? Football are not only stats and calculations, go to Wilshere's profile and look at his 2010/11 rating...it's absurd, isn't it? Everybody knows he was indispensable for Arsenal that season, yet his rating stands on 6.95.

  • @Zootball that's what makes these articles different! Everyone might think Januzaj is great but the stats say Sterling's better!

  • Laporte is a beast. He can aptly replace Pepe

  • Premier League > Serie A

  • @domkennedy I haven't said that sterling is only pace, but he is not so impressive. I have seen better in BPL too, Walcott was better at his age. I think Liverpool haven't got many talents, they are all good players with the best performing player that makes them play better. Coutinho, sterling, Henderson are all average players and they are benefitting Suarez's influence. Plus in premier league players enjoy much freedom and less pressure so their inexperience and gaps overshadow.

  • @Zootball for a website that's main product is ratings based on stats, surely it's a good platform for an article?

  • I agree that ratings may not be decisive in deciding the player value on the market, but i love articles like this that point out the youngsters whom live up to expectations, i was impressed with berrardi ' s 4 goals against Milan, it has been some time since i saw that quality in a youngster, he was worth more than just maximum rating for that game against a poor Milan, but it takes quality to exploit weakness, berrardi has quality and has exploited his , i wish he will do that for juve ,too

  • @Mattia Sterling was hardly involved in the Euro u21, and what has a team performance got to do with an individual? Sterling is currently one of the most exciting teenagers in the world, currently playing for a team in a tough league. He's is lightning quick, and more importantly he understands the game and is tactically a great player too, if you look at his work off the ball - the positions he gets to, when he presses etc. you will start to realise that Sterling is much more than just pace. And the ratings prove it..

  • Berardi is worth more than januzaj and sterling together. In England you think always to have the best talent because in BPL is common to let them play early. Take a look on the recent Euro under 21, England was an awful team.

  • Thats what makes these articles intersting..

  • Stop basing all your articles on ratings. They're cool, but not definitive. Januzaj is better than all of them (maybe tied with Sterling)

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Pablo Armero Rondon Fabio Borini Patrick Herrmann Jonathan Scmid Kostantinos Fortounis Vincent Pajot Josua Guilavogui Idrissa Gana Gueye Ezequiel Munoz Nene Oliver Sorg Davide Brivio Sebastian Larsson Franceso Totti Tom Trybull M'Baye Niang Jean Daniel Akpa Akpro Matias Silvestre Euro 2012 Olof Mellberg Crisitano Ronaldo Alvaro Arbeloa Sebastian Boenisch Alan Dzagoev Andrey Arshavin Michael Krohn-Dehli Vaclav Pilar Theodor Gebre Selassie Gordon Schildenfeld Greece Miguel Veloso Mark Davies David Hoilett Santiago Garcia Marco Rignoni Vicente Guaita Michael Rensing Paul Robinson Fabien Audard Thomas Vermaelen Younes Belhanda Aurelien Chedjou Antonio Valencia Nancy St. Etienne Lukas Piszczek Dante Robert Huth Gijon Claudio Pizzaro Racing Santander Jonas Hannover Santander Werder Bremen Claudio Pizarro Papiss Demba Cissé Wolves Cesena David Jarolim Joe Cole Moussa Dembele Yakubu Javier Hernandez Leon Best Benat Kaiserslautern Christian Tiffert Paolo De Ceglie Federico Balzaretti Jeremey Menez Juan MGladbach Andreas Ivanschitz Jires Kembo-Ekoko Guillaume Hoarau Florent Malouda Steve Gohouri Kenwyne Jones Lecce Stephen Ireland Jakub Blaszcykowski Christian Fuchs Chievo Sloan Privat Abraham Guie Guie Bastian Schweinsteiger Louis Saha Martin Harnik Stuttgart German Bundesliga Grant Holt Ali Al-Habsi Ludovic Sane Aldo Angoula Younes Kaboul Brest Marcelo Stiliyan Petrov mathieu Valbuena Tono Ramirez Gianluca Buffon Emile Heskey John Utaka Markus Rosenborg Marko Arnautovic Jonathan Biabiany Andrea Caracciolo Evian Thonon Gaillard Mohammed Abdellaoue Dijon Anton Ferdinand Fabricio Coloccini Betting Eric Mouloungui Cedric Bakambu Gregory Pujol Eduardo Ribeiro Sebastien Larsson Nolan Roux Moussa Sow Bradley Johnson Jamie O'Hara Wes Brown Jason Lowe Jose Enrique Anders Lindegaard Mark Schwarzer Cheik Tiote Alberto Aquilani Danny Murphy Martin O'Neill Modibo Maiga OGC Nice Perparim Hetemaj Alejandro Faurlin Leon Britton Nicolas N'Koulou Antonio Nocerino Maximiliano Moralez Claudio Marchisio Marco Rigoni Simone Pepe Heidar Helguson Mark Gower Blackburn Emanuele Calaiò Zlatan Ibrahimović Germán Denis Jose Jurado Nicolas Anelka Edgar Barreto Alexandre Song Shaun Wright-Phillips Nicolas Maurice-Belay Jhon Jairo Culma Kevin Anin Sebastien Corchia Kevin Theophile-Catherine FC Cologne Julien Feret Jaroslav Plasil Yann Jouffre Tomas Rincon Kevin Davies Giampiero Pinzi Tamas Hajnal Camel Meriem Frederic Bulot Caen Gokhan Tore AS Nancy Gabriel Torje Lynel Kitambala Florent Sinama-Pongolle Idriss Saadi Oscar Trejo Botelho Juanlu Axel Bellinghausen Gonzalo Castro Andrea Cossu Marcel Schafer Marco Hoger Timothy Chandler Bolton Wanderers Ivan Klasnic Paris St Germain Wolverhampton Wanderers Wigan Athletic Micah Richards Javi Varas Blackburn Rovers Stephan Lichtsteiner Anotnio Cassano Scott Sinclair Nenad Milijas Anatoliy Tymoshchuk Luis Gustavo Ruud van Nistelrooy Benoit Cheyrou Lucho Gonzalez League Analysis Queens Park Rangers Walter Samuel Christian Chivu AS Roma Stephen Warnock Martin Kelly Gary Caldwell Karl Henry Kevin Doyle England National Football Team Charlie Adam Javi Venta Vicente Iborra Sergio Ballesteros Bobby Zamora Jonas Gutierrez Dariusz Dudka Youssouf Hadji Christian Abbiati Alvaro Dominguez Phil Neville Senad Lulic Filip Daems Ezequiel Schelotto Victor Ruiz Jonathan Pereira Anthony Reveillere Santiago Gentiletti Cheikh Diabate Nicolas Spolli Luciano Fabian Monzon Mauricio Isla Ignazio Abate Titus Bramble Ritchie De Laet Leroy Lita Christian Lell Philipp Wollscheid Milivoje Novakovic Tottenhman Hotspur Johan Cavalli Eliseu Serdar Tasci Ryan Babel Aleksandar Ignjovski Chechu Dorado Djamel Mesbah Arsenal Swansea Ashely Williams Piscu Eden Dzeko Emmerson Boyce Auxerre Phil Bardsley Jose Bosingwa Gretar Steinsson Mattia Cassani Jonathan Woodgate Germany National Football Team Gasperini Mauro Zarate Diego Forlan Estaban Cambiasso Juraj Kucka Marco Faraoni Joel Obi Benedikt Howedes Clemens Fritz Chris Lowe Daniel van Buyten Albania Yann M’Vila Baptiste Reynet Angelo Palombo Eric Tie Bi Faouzi Ghoulam Chris Mavinga Anderson Aaron Hughes Chris Baird Raul Aly Cissokho Alessandro Del Piero Samir Handanovic France National Football Team Marc Tierney Bundelsiga Raul Bobadilla Loric Remy Jean Pascal Mignot Mainz 05 Schalke 04 Marcel Risse Steven Reid Danny Gabbidon Michal Kadlec Paulo Machado Ben Watson Spain National Football Team German National Football Team Bundeslgia Ricardo Carvalho Ivan Ramis Diego Colotto Sergio Fernandez Sere A Cesare Bovo Miguel Britos Bostjan Cesar Jose Angel Gabriel Heinze Chris Samba Charles N'Zogbia Yohan Demont Rod Fanni Rudy Mater Georgios Tzavellas Javier Pinola Dennis Aogo Daniel Schwaab Attacking Full-Backs Defensive Wingers 2010/11 Attacking Wingers Nicolas Douchez Jeremy Menez Under-21 Team of Season 2010-11 Maxi Rodriguez Scott Dann Crossing Wingers Under-21 Team of Season All-Round Midfielders Benoit Pedretti Rising Stars Kyle Walker Gaetano D'Agostino Centre Backs Paulo Da Silva Ivan Hernandez Eric Abidal Weligton Borja Ekiza Alassane Toure Stephane Grichting Jordan Loties Kader Mangane Adama Coulibaly Martin Stranzl Pedro Geromel Neven Subotic Christian Zapata James Tomkins Roger Johnson Stephan Lichsteiner Reto Ziegler David Vaughan Seb Larsson Asamoah Gyan Benoit Pedretti Anthony Mounier Mehmet Ekici Simao Duda Alvaro Cejudo Xabi Prieto Alexsandar Kolarov Guiseppe Mascara Simone Bentivoglio Fernando Marques Gian Piero Gasperin Thomas Hitzlsperger Rafael Van der Vaart Theofanis Gekas Gerard Asamoah Youssef Al Arabi Lisandro Loric Remy Victor Hugo Montano Edison Cavani Sergio Pellissier David Di Michele Steward Downing Spain Under 21 Felipe Caicedo Pierre Webo Youssef El-Arabi Brown Ideye Mobido Maiga Chu-Young Robin Van Persie Kevin Gamerio England U21 Udinese. Alexis Sanchez Pedro Sami Allagui Frédéric Kanouté Renato Augusto Jonathan Pitropia Eljero Elia Ivo Llicevic Fernando Muslera Diego Perez Alvaro González Abel Hernandez David VIlla Marcel Schmelzer Danijel Pranjic Holger Badstuber Sven Bender Johan Djourou Darren Fletcher Carlos Kameni Thiago Silve Antonia Di Natale Cristiano Zapata Domenico Criscito Luis Jimenez Josep Ilicic Samuel Eto’o Alexis Thébaux Ludovic Sané Mamouda Sakho Boukary Dramé Daniel Alves Nikolay Mihaylov Charles Puyol Ji-Sung Park Edwin van der Sar Dani Alves John O’Shea Park Ji-Jung Gabi Fernandez Jonathan de Guzman Michael Owen Gary Taylor-Fletcher Ian Evatt DJ Campbell Charles N’Zogbia Wolverhampton Robinho Rudi Garcia Avram Grant Conor Sammon Wayne Bridge Rob Green Victor Obinna Mike Hanke Borussia Munchengladbach VfL Bochum Tomasz Kuszczak Martin Olsson Brett Emerton Steven N’Zonzi Muset Ozil Gianpaolo Pazzini Leonardo Seydou Keita Miguel Pallardo Ibrahim Afellay Valdo Pallardo Damien Perquis Luka Modrid David SIlva Roberto Mancini Benoit Assou-Ekotto Vedran Corluka Carlo Ancelotti Saloman Kalou Clarence Seedorf Matteo Brighi Fabio Simplicio Rodrigo Taddei Mark Van Bommel Gennaro Gattuso Kevin Prince-Boateng Nicolas Burdisso Elkin Soto Pep Gaurdiola Lassana Diarra Antonio da Silva Robert Mak Heurelho Gomes Andre Marriner Pinto Alavro Arbeloa Alexander Hleb

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