Generation Next is our regular feature on Just Football profiling the best young talents in the world. And here’s another to keep an eye on – Atalanta’s bustling midfielder Franck Kessie… Last summer, when Genoa former coach Gian Piero Gasperini made the move to Atalanta, after seven wonderful years spent in Liguria (interjected by spells […]
Which #JF70 youngsters impressed for their clubs across Europe this week? Among the wonderkids who caught the eye include an Ajax striker, AC Milan’s ever-impressive teenage goalkeeper and a young Monaco striker they’re calling the next Thierry Henry…
From barely expecting to feature for Peter Bosz’s Ajax side at the start of the season, Kasper Dolberg has become an integral part of the team. He got his 12th and 13th Eredivisie goals of the season last weekend as Ajax defeated visiting Twente 3-0 at the Amsterdam ArenA.
Dolberg was unlucky not to put his side ahead as early as the fifth minute when he was denied by Twente goalkeeper Nick Marsman. That didn’t affect his performance, though. He was at it again just a few minutes later, testing Marsman with a long-range strike and posing a threat to the Twente backline with his movement and industry.
He was rewarded for his persistence halfway through the second half. He rounded the goalkeeper with a deft first touch and scored, after being put through by Amin Younes. His second, which sealed Ajax’s 3-0 win, was much easier, a tap-in from close range to turn home Hakim Ziyech’s cross. It was the least he deserved after that performance.
— AFC Ajax (English) (@AFCAjax_EN) March 12, 2017
Dolberg then scored the goal to put Ajax through to the Europa League quarter-finals on Thursday, downing FC Copenhagen in the process.
Last Friday he was up against Juventus and their incredible home record (with his mentor Gianluigi Buffon in the opposite goal) and he showed exactly why he’s so highly rated.
AC Milan fell 2-1 after Paolo Dybala converted a late and controversial penalty. But without Donnarumma’s heroics, they wouldn’t even have been so close to stopping Juventus’ home winning streak.
Donnarumma vs Juventus last night. World Class. pic.twitter.com/YBlY4jaJbB
— CMS Scout (@CMSScout) March 11, 2017
Despite finishing on the losing side in last Friday’s seven-goal thriller at Cornellá-El Prat, Mauricio Lemos delivered an immense performance yet again. It was the kind of performance that won him so many more admirers. The Uruguayan centre back was drafted in as a defensive midfielder, scored twice and produced an all-round impressive display,
Lemos’ first goal was a strike from almost 30 yards out. The ball was fumbled by Espanyol goalkeeper Diego Lopez, to be fair, but the goal drew Las Palmas level after their hosts took an early lead. His second was another equaliser, heading home to take the scores to 2-2 four minutes into the second half.
While at it, Lemos managed to keep up an impressive 90% passing accuracy and a total of three shots in his midfield role.
The 21-year-old started the season slowly but has become one of the team’s main figures. Reportedly there are already several sides eyeing the young defender for next season.
Cornet started and played all 90 minutes as Bruno Génésio seemed to keep his players fresh ahead of their Europa League tie against AS Roma.
The 20-year-old scored a screamer two minutes into the second half to put Lyon 2-0 up and on their way to another confidence-boosting victory in their bid to seal a European place in Ligue 1.
— Inside Gones (@InsideGones) March 12, 2017
The comparisons with former Monaco youngsters Thierry Henry – and to a lesser extent Anthony Martial – will definitely continue, and it’s not hard to see why. Game after game, Kylian Mbappé shows that he could indeed become Monaco’s next big thing.
The last week has been massive for his career; first he scored the opener in their 2-1 league win against Bordeaux which helped strengthen his side’s position on top of the Ligue 1 table. He then scored the opener again, this time in the Champions League, as Monaco beat Manchester City 3-1 at the Stade Louis II to qualify for the quarter-final of the competition.
But it’s not just the goals, it’s how he goes about it with relative ease and confidence. Mbappé seems unfazed by whatever challenge he’s faced with, as showed by how he carried himself in the two games against Manchester City.
The 18-year-old has now scored 11 goals in his last 11 appearances. His total for the season is also at 17 now; more goals than Thierry Henry or Anthony Martial managed in any single Monaco season.
Blas has had a tough season and was playing his first match for exactly a month. At least there was some cause to celebrate…