Every weekend we pick out one player under the age of 23 from around Europe and analyse their performance to provide you with an in-depth scouting report.
As the new generation begin to make their mark, the big clubs start to be linked with an interest and that’s certainly been the case with Jamaica and Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey.
Liverpool and Manchester United are known admirers and so for those fans looking to know more, we examine the 20-year-old’s display as Leverkusen beat Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Goals – 0
Assists – 0
Shots – 2
Shots on target – 0
Touches – 49
Passes – 30
Aerials won – 1
Key passes – 3
Dribbles – 2
Dispossessed – 0
It’s easy to see why a whole host of clubs in Europe are interested in the Leverkusen youngster. Starting on the left flank, he was a constant threat and a regular outlet for the hosts.
His pace and trickery makes him a handful for defenders but he also showed glimpses of his fine technique with a few good touches and excellent crosses.
The Jamaican proved his ability to operate on either flank. While he is predominantly left-footed, he can deliver quality with his right as well.
Bailey did make a few mistakes as well but there’s no questioning his value to the team. He was quieter in the second half and was replaced in the 68th minute.
Crossing – He attempted eight crosses in the game, more than any other play despite being substituted with more than 20 minutes to play. His deliveries were dangerous with four of them finding a team-mate. He should’ve had an assist but for Kevin Volland’s glaring miss while his very next cross set up the opening goal.
Breakaways – While he may not be one for tracking back, his pace on the counter-attack is a real asset to his side. He was at the heart of virtually every breakaway his side could muster while he was still on the pitch.
Shooting – He had two shots at goal on the day, neither of which were on target. His effort for the first was dragged horribly wide when he had time to set himself while his second attempt was just a wild lash which flew into row Z.
Decision-making – This particular flaw came to the fore when he completely ignored or just wasn’t aware of his two team-mates in the middle completely unmarked, choosing instead to shoot from the edge of the box against the angle with two defenders closing him down. Even if he wasn’t sure he had support, he’d have been better served cutting inside and getting his head up instead of letting fly from that position.
14th min TACKLED: Bombs down the left flank with plenty of promise on the break. Pulls off a few step-overs in the process
18th min FOULED: Driving through the middle this time, Bailey does well to win a free-kick in a dangerous area.
22nd min SHOT: Played in with acres of space on the left, gets inside the box on his favoured left foot but doesn’t make a good connection and drags his effort well wide.
24th min WASTED CHANCE: Breaking away on the left, he’s confronted by two defenders but has a team-mate completely unmarked in the box with another one arriving. He takes a wild pop at goal though much to the frustration of the rest of his team.
36th minute CROSS: Down the right flank, he cuts onto his left foot and hangs up an exceptional cross at the back post but Volland criminally heads wide unmarked from close range.
39th minute CROSS: Takes on the full-back and goes down the outside this time. Stands up another cross, this time with his right foot, at the far post. Volland knocks it down for Lucas Alario to slot away.
47th minute RUN: Storms down the right side on the counter-attack but can’t beat the defender and is made to check back. His attempted cross is blocked and the chance goes begging.
Still a very raw but very exciting talent. Under the right coach and in the right environment, Bailey could well mature into a very special player.
His shooting is far better than his two wayward shots against Monchengladbach but his awareness and decision-making needs work.
Still, the visitors couldn’t live with him at times and he was the spark Leverkusen needed to engineer the first goal.
All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com
PSG have yet to win the elite European club competition and have now exited in the last 16 for the past two seasons under the Spaniard.
While his team may be some 14 points clear at the top of Ligue 1, and on course for success in both domestic cups, speculation is mounting Emery will not be in charge for the next campaign.
The likes of Chelsea boss Antonio Conte and Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino have both been linked with a switch to Parc des Princes.
For now, though, Emery is determined to continue with the job in hand – which will on Saturday see PSG host bottom club Metz before looking ahead to the upcoming Coupe de la Ligue final against Monaco and a French Cup semi-final at Caen.
“We have talked about things yesterday, okay so we are finished in the Champions League, but we must continue our way in the other competitions,” Emery said at a press conference.”
— PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN (@PSG_English) March 7, 2018
Asked about the speculation over his own future, the former Sevilla boss said: “This is normal, the criticism is normal.
“The most important thing is the analysis which can be done and what we can improve.
“The Champions League is very important, but our other goals are important too.
“For me, the future is the present. I am not worried about my personal future, I am worried about the club, the team, how to find the needed performance and how to improve.”
Emery claims leaving his position before the end of the season is “not an issue on the agenda”.
He said: “My desire, my enthusiasm, is football, I am very motivated for the game tomorrow.
“I will pass this on to my players. Tomorrow, we will have a good match, also for our supporters.”
Emery remains convinced PSG are heading in the right direction – no matter who is in the dugout.
“We also need patience. We are in a process. A process is to win, but also to lose,” he said in a press conference broadcast on the club’s website.
“The project is PSG. The people who are in this project can change, but the project itself is very solid.”
— PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN (@PSG_English) March 8, 2018
German midfielder Julian Draxler, who watched most of the second leg from the bench, claimed PSG had “offered much, much too little” against Real Madrid.
Emery, though, is not looking for scapegoats.
“After defeat, I also know from my experience that it’s not always good to talk a lot,” the head coach said.
“The players are young and emotional, after a defeat we can say things that we regret.”
Emery added: “All players wearing the PSG jersey have a responsibility. All arrived yesterday with the idea of preparing for Saturday’s match.
“It is important to follow this path with these goals, with the (Ligue 1) championship and both the cups.
“The players are aware of it and with enthusiasm we can regain confidence.”
Spurs suffered Champions League heartache at the hands of the Serie A champions when a 2-1 defeat at Wembley on Wednesday evening saw Juventus go through 4-3 on aggregate.
Tottenham boss Pochettino said Juventus owner Andrea Agnelli and chief executive Giuseppe Marotta spent time in the tunnel before, during and after the midweek game.
And he felt the Italian club did everything in their power to ensure it was they who would progress to the quarter-finals, including attempting to put pressure on Polish official Szymon Marciniak.
The Argentinian manager thinks his Premier League team can learn from that culture.
“I think it’s a massive situation that you must learn (from). If we only see the stats from the two games, I think Tottenham was the much better team,” Pochettino said.
“It’s in the small details that the competitions sometimes demand different things.
“And I think Juventus are specialists because they have the habit to win, the habit to put pressure on the referee.
“The owner stayed in the corridor in the tunnel before or during the game.
“It’s a club with a culture to do everything to try to help the team.
🗣️ “I am proud because the performance was good in both games.”
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 8, 2018
“Before the game it was Agnelli, after the game it was Agnelli, Marotta.
“I saw at half-time how they put pressure on the referee. I believe those details can help the club.”
After securing a 2-2 draw in Turin, Tottenham appeared on course to progress after going ahead in the second leg through Son Heung-min.
But quick-fire second-half goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala turned the tie in the visitors’ favour to leave Spurs to focus on the FA Cup and securing a top-four Premier League finish.
Pochettino refused to blame his side’s European exit on the behaviour of the opposition.
“It’s not because of that that we lost,” he added. “The chances that we had, we weren’t capable to score more than one goal.
“It’s a massive lesson to care not only on the pitch, but off the pitch. When you’re going to win, you need help from everyone.”
Spurs return to action at Bournemouth on Sunday and Pochettino insists they cannot afford to feel sorry for themselves.
“It’s now a moment to think of the next game,” he said.
“The competition doesn’t wait for you, if you’re happy or sad, the team has to move on and think about the weekend.”
Midfielder Eric Dier sustained an elbow injury against Juventus and is a doubt for the Cherries game.
Defender Toby Alderweireld remains unavailable because of a hamstring problem, while full-back Serge Aurier is back in contention after his European suspension.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 9, 2018
Provided by Press Association Sport