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List of Europe’s top young stars includes player Newcastle United sold

1 year ago
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Sky Sports have published a list of Europe’s top young stars, those who have impressed in Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Eredivisie this season.

To decide which players to include, they have used their Sky Sports Power Rankings, which ranks players based on 34 different league matchday stats.

A name Newcastle fans will recognise amongst the midfielders chosen, is Mikel Merino.

Rafa Benitez signed him for £10m (initial loan which quickly became permanent) just after the midfielder turned 21 in summer 2017.

Merino made a great start with Newcastle and looked a real top class player in the making at times, before injury intervened.

However, after 12 Premier League starts in the first half of the 2017/18 season, once we got into 2018 he only made two more, despite being regularly named on the bench.

Newcastle did finish strongly that season (once Kenedy and Dubravka arrived on loan) with Diame and Shelvey very good together in midfield but something did appear to have happened behind the scenes, as even after safety was assured Rafa didn’t give Mikel Merino any games. Whether he had realised how little ambition there was under Mike Ashley, or there had been a falling out with the manager, it was sad to see him then leave for Real Sociedad.

Last season Mikel Merino helped them finish ninth and this season the former NUFC player is showing brilliant form, with Real Sociedad fourth in La Liga and only three points off Barcelona at the top. The midfielder has scored twice and got one assist already for his club.

Many Newcastle fans worried he was one that had got away, interesting to see if he does fulfil that potential we so briefly got to see.

Mikel Merino message to the Newcastle fans via his personal Instagram account – 12 July 2018:

“Thank you very much for this amazing year to all the toon family.

“Massive experience that I’ll never forget.

“Thanks to the outstanding fans, who made me feel at home.

“All the best for the future and Howay the lads!”

Sky Sports report – 23 October 2019:

Some of Europe’s best young players will be on show when Ajax host Chelsea on Wednesday, but which have made the best start to this season across Europe’s major leagues?

We have used the Sky Sports Power Rankings, which ranks players based on 34 league matchday stats, to build a team of players under the age of 23 from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Eredivisie

Midfielders

Two of the three players to represent Chelsea or Ajax feature in the midfield of our XI, with Lisandro Martinez topping the bill after numerous stellar defensive performances for the Dutch champions, grabbing a goal and assist to boot.

Meanwhile, Blues maestro Mason Mount edges into the side after his explosive start to the campaign under Frank Lampard, netting four goals from just 10 shots on target and capping his streak of form with an England debut.

Finally, Schalke midfielder Amine Harit completes our three-man midfield, having also found the back of the net on four occasions and assisting two more, earning a recall into the Morocco squad.

Just missed out: Rodri (Man City), Pablo Rosario (PSV), Abdou Harroui (Sparta Rotterdam), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad) and Martin Odegaard (Real Sociedad)

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