Category Archives: Player Profile

Scouting Report: Bastian Oczipka

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Photo: Bundesliga.com

Recently, the name Bastian Oczipka has been mentioned as a target for Paolo Di Canio’s Sunderland A.F.C. during the 2013 summer transfer window.

The German left-back has seen his stock rise eight-fold since his 500,000 euro transfer to Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt prior to their successful 2012-2013 season, finishing third in the running for best in his position in the Bundesliga for 2012-2013, and yet he remains a highly undervalued potential target at only 4,000,000 euros.

Eintracht Frankfurt shone for great stretches of the 2012-2013 campaign, eventually ending the season in sixth place: a place good enough to qualify for a Europa League spot. However this was a result that was far beyond the estimations of even the most hopeful punters. The starting team was built with a combination of academy graduates and intelligent transfers, with the most expensive purchase being Germany youth international goalkeeper, Kevin Trapp for the princely sum of 1,500,000 euros. Yet despite the relative unknown quantities of his team mates, Oczipka rarely received the plaudits he deserved. Those instead went to the likes of Takashi Inui, Sebastian Rode, Sebastian Jung, and the aforementioned Trapp. Nonetheless, through a simple statistical analysis it is shown that there is more to Bastian Oczipka than meets the eye.

Player Profile

Bastian Oczipka was born on January 12, 1989 in Bergisch Gladbach, in what was then West Germany. He joined local club SV Blau-Weiß-Hand at the age of five, only to transfer to SSG Bergisch Gladbach two years later. Another two years passed, and in 1999 a ten-year old Oczipka was accepted into the Bayer Leverkusen youth football academy. There, he moved up the ranks, and won the U-19 Bundesliga in 2007, scoring in the final against a Bayern München side containing the likes of future German internationals Holger Badstuber, Thomas Müller, and Toni Kroos.

Upon Oczipka’s graduation from the Bayer Leverkusen academy, he was sent on loan to Hansa Rostock for the 2008-2009 season in the 2. Bundesliga. At Hansa Rostock, Oczipka made 42 appearances, assisting 4 goals. However, halfway through the 2009-2010 2. Bundesliga season, Oczipka was recalled by Bayer Leverkusen, who subsequently sent him out on loan to FC St. Pauli. At St. Pauli, Oczipka helped the team gain promotion to the Bundesliga for the 2010-2011 season, for which he remained at St. Pauli. In all, Oczipka appeared 36 times for St. Pauli, scoring one goal and assisting six others, but was unable to prevent the club from being relegated, largely due to an ankle injury suffered in February of 2011.

Despite his ankle injury causing him to miss the final fourteen match days of the 2010-2011 season, Oczipka impressed enough to be recalled to the senior Bayer Leverkusen squad prior to the 2011-2012 campaign. However, Oczipka was never able to fully recover from his injury at Bayer Leverkusen, as he missed all of pre-season and, when healthy, was often passed over in favor of Michal Kadlec, now of Fenerbahçe S.K.

Ultimately Oczipka made a mere nine Bundesliga appearances during the 2011-2012 season, starting only once, before gladly accepting a transfer to newly promoted Eintracht Frankfurt.

Style of Play

A simple observation led to a comparison of statistics, which in turn led to a starting realization: Bastian Oczipka is performing in a nearly identical manner to Fábio Coentrão circa 2009-2010, a period shortly before Coentrão was voted the Portuguese League Breakthrough Player.

When observing both players in action, the similarities are remarkable. Both players play as left-sided wing backs, overlapping regularly and more comfortable supporting the forward progression of play without neglecting their defensive duties. Both players are left-footed and comfortable crossers of the ball, as witnessed during both S.L. Benfica‘s successful 2009-2010 season as well as Eintracht Frankfurt’s 2012-2013 season. In addition, when either Fábio Coentrão or Bastian Oczipka made an assist in the 2009-2010 Primeira Liga or 2012-2013 Bundesliga, respectively, their teams did not lose. The similarities are quite amazing.

Fábio Coentrão

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Bastian Oczipka

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If these statistics are supplemented by their market value trends, it is apparent that the two most observable differences between are the relative ages at the time of the breakthrough (24 for Oczipka v. 22 for Coentrão) and the injury suffered by Oczipka in 2011.

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Market Value Comparison

Regardless, Oczipka is obviously undervalued at 4,000,000 euros, when Coentrão’s market value at a comparative time period was 5,600,000 euros.

So, why would a club such as Sunderland A.F.C. be in the market for a player like Oczipka? A more appropriate question may be why aren’t more clubs looking at a player who has the attributes and talent of Coentrão but at a fraction of the price.

 

If you like Ludwig Gerdes’ writing, you can find more of his work at http://www.urbanetalente.com or follow him on twitter @urbanetalente

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Player Profile: Daniel Ginczek

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Recently 1. FC Nürnberg signed striker Daniel Ginczek to a three-year contract from Borussia Dortmund for an undisclosed fee. Ginczek has been given the number 11 shirt previously worn by the Nürnberg great Marek Mintal, who was Bundesliga scoring champ once and 2. Bundesliga scoring champ twice during his time with Der Club. Thus there are already expectations for Ginczek, who during last season’s loan spell at 2. Bundesliga side FC St. Pauli scored 19 times in just 33 matches in all competitions.

Ginczek was born in Arnsber, Germany on April 13th, 1991. He played youth football for his local club, SC Neheim, joining the club when he was just four years of age. Ginczek stayed there for over a decade before he made the move to Borussia Dortmund in 2007 when he was 16. The 6 foot 2 striker continued to develop his game in the youth system there until he got promoted to the reserve team. In 66 Dortmund reserve matches, Ginczek found the back of the net 28 times.

Borussia Dortmund would send him on loan for the entire 2011-2012 season to VfL Bochum, where he, unfortunately, did not live up to his full potential, scoring five times in 29 matches. His true quality showed last season for FC St. Pauli.

Ginczek’s spectacular change of pace, his ability to slow down and speed up again really confused defenders and allowed the striker to blow by them with ease. Daniel Ginczek’s right foot is the stronger of his two, as he scored 16 of his 18 league goals from his right last season, but he can score spectacular goals with both of his feet. Ginczek took 108 attempts on goal last year and created 159 chances for Hamburg’s iconic cult club.

The German striker has played for every level of the German national team thus far with the exception of Jogi Löw’s senior team, totaling 20 matches of youth international play. During his time in the youth ranks, Ginczek has performed very consistently, scoring at all of levels except for the U-17s, where he only made two appearances.

Mintal, who recently became a coach for Der Club spoke of the significance of passing on the number 11 at Nürnberg
This is completely normal in football, “I now begin my career as a coach, which is a new chapter in my football experience. In turn, there is a new generation of young players who want to follow in the footsteps of the predecessors. I have always enjoyed wearing that jersey and scoring so many goals in the number 11 shirt
Ginczek is aware of the tradition he will try to continue.”

Ginczek replied with this when he was asked about the significance of the shirt number at the club,”Of course I know what Marek Mintal has done for the club. He has experienced tremendous years here at Nürnberg. I will try everything that I can to at least build on his accomplishments”

In six weeks, Ginczek will begin to get his chance

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Scout Report – Christian Atsu

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Several reports over the last couple of days have stated that Liverpool are close to signing Ghanaian attacking midfielder Christian Atsu, who is currently playing at the defending Primeira Liga champions, FC Porto.

Liverpool are certainly going to be ready for the future with all of their young attacking talents. The Reds have so many talented young footballers it really is quite unbelievable to be honest. It starts from the Brazilian Coutinho, to the Italian striker Borini, Wisdom, Sama, Sterling, Suso, and I know I am forgetting others but those were just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

Profile

Christian Atso was born in the southeastern Ghanaian town of Ada Foah. The 5 foot 8 inch winger joined the youth ranks of FC Porto at the age of 17 and would stay in the system until he was 19. Current Tottenham manager, Andre Villas-Boas, sent him on loan to Portuguese side Rio Ave.

That season on loan, Atsu made his debut for the side on August 28th, 2011 against SC Olhanense where the Ghanaian and his club lost one goal to zero. At the end of the season, Christian had made a total of 30 appearances scoring six times and setting up goals four different times. At the end of that season, if my math is correct, he contributed to 30% of Rio Ave’s goals during the 2011-12 season and helped them avoid relegation.

Atsu did not really get much of a chance to play because of some really talented wingers ahead of him in the squad. But he did play in 28 matches that season, but he only scored one time during his loan spell. His goal scoring record will improve if he is able to get more playing time.

He has slowly started to break into the Ghanaian national side this past season having competed in the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup Qualifying matches. Christian Atsu has scored three times for his nation against Lesotho, Malawi, and Niger.

Style of Play, Strengths, and Weaknesses

The first thing that stood out tome when I watched him play was his explosive speed both on and off the ball. He can easily beat defenders one on one to get into excellent crossing positions for the other forwards in the box waiting to get their head on to something good from Atsu.

The only thing that I think he needs to improve on if or when he makes his move to Liverpool in his shooting ability. I have watched countless videos on Atsu and it really irritates me when he gets into the box and creates space for himself, but his shot ends up going straight at the goalkeeper. This will need to improve if he wants to be a stand out player in the bigger clubs.

His control of the ball is unlike anything I have seen from a young player. The natural speed of the winger really helps his control. The ball will get away from him for time to time but because of his blistering speed, he will be able to get the ball back and continue on with the attack.

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Scouting Report – Henrikh Mkhitaryan

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Shakthar Donetsk is arguably Ukraine’s most successful club at this point in time in their current history, appearing in the lucrative Champions League year after year. The Ukrainian outfit has won the last four Ukrainian Premier League titles, in succession and has also won an astounding 7 of the last 8 championships with Dynamo Kyiv winning the other one. But they have not always been the top dogs in Ukraine. Shakthar have a very deep squad that goes down all the way to their academy, but a mix of Brazilian players like Taison, Maicon, Douglas Costa, Wellington Nem, Ilsinho, and Ukrainian players such as Andriy Pyatov, Taras Stepanenko, and young Ukrainian defender Serihy Kryvtsov help build the club into the powerhouse that it is today.

The lone Armenian player in the squad, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, is making quite a name for himself after an impressive showing in the Champions League this past season and has moved onto the radar of many of the top European Clubs. Henrikh has also performed well for the Armenian national team already making close to 40 appearances and having already netted more than ten times at the ripe age of just 24 years old.

Profile

Henrikh Mkhitaryan was born on 21 January 1989 in the Armenian capital of Yerevan. He arrived in the Ukraine back in 2010 after a brief season with another Ukrainian club, Metalurh Donetsk. Mkhitaryan’s father was a very prolific striker back in the 80s for FC Ararat Yerevan before moving to play in France for a short time. Unfortunately, Henrikh’s father died of a brain tumor when he was just seven years of age.

Mkhitaryan joined the youth system of Pyunik FC at just six years of age. He would stay with the club his whole childhood and earned his first salary at 15. Two years later, at the age of 17, Henrikh would have the chance to prove that he has what it takes to earn a permanent spot in the first side. The Armenian midfielder would do just that, for four seasons between 2006 and 2009. During his time there he would win four consecutive Armenian league titles, two Armenian Supercups, and one Armenian Cup during his final season with the club. His spectacular performances with the first club, after 35 goals in 89 appearances in all competitions with the club, he made the move to Metalurh Donetsk of the Ukrainian Premier League.

In his first match with his new squad, Henrikh scored a goal in a 3-0 victory over Belarusian Premier League side FC Partisan Minsk, in a Europa League qualifying. Metalurh faced Slovenian’s Interblock Ljubljana in the next qualifying round, and scored again in the return leg, where eventually his side won on aggregate 5-0. Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s first league match came in a 0-0 draw with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. As a whole that season, he earned a total of 38 appearances for Metalurh across all competitions while scoring 14 times that season. The following season, he became the youngest captain ever at Metalurh, when he was named captain on July 14th, at just 21 years of age. Because of his consistent performances with Metalurh over the past two seasons, he made the switch to Shakthar Donetsk where he would continue to improve his game greatly.

Henrikh’s debut for his new club did not come right away as he had to work hard in training to show his new coaching staff that he does in fact have what it takes to become a regular starter at a more established club. His debut finally came on September 10th in an away defeat to Obolon Kyiv, and would be subbed out in the 62nd minute by Brazilian midfielder, Eduardo. That season was rather successful for Shakthar as the won the Ukrainian treble, by winning the Premier League, the Ukrainian Supercup, and the Ukrainian Cup. Mkhitaryan’s first goal for Shakthar came on September 19th in a 4-1 home win, where he would score the fourth goal of the match after they came back from one goal down and he also played that whole match.

This past season was a breakout year for the Armenian midfielder as he amassed a total of 25 league goals, which is now a Ukrainian Premier League record. During the season, he also earned his 100th league match in the Ukraine on March 16th of this year.

Styles, Strengths, and Weaknesses

Henrikh is most prolific when he is playing right behind the first striker. When he is behind the central striker with the ball, space opens up for the Armenian midfielder and creates fantastic goal scoring opportunities with his great vision of the play happening in front of him and finding the perfect pass to his surrounding teammates. For anyone that had ever watched his father play in the 80s, many people say that his style of play emulates that of his father.
His creativity, technique, and movement, all help confuse the back four of many defenses across the Ukrainian Premier League. And because of what he can provide for his national team, Mkhitaryan pretty much has an automatic spot in the national team as he is by far one of the best, if not the best midfielder on the current Armenian roster, with all the experience he has, it is almost a guarantee that he will be in the Armenian team for all of their major matches.
Mkhitaryan’s work rate is absolutely sensational. It seems like he never takes a second off from the play, whenever I have seen him. Henrikh will help build up play starting from the half way line as the back four retain possession. Then, if the play ever broke down because of a bad pass, or whatever the reason may be, Henrikh will track all the way back to help out his defense. In other words, he never stops running, ever. I do not know where he gets all of the energy that he does for the full ninety minutes.

The Chelsea great Pat Nevin has once said, “Eleven goals in eight league matches already is fantastic, when you add that he is a midfielder, it is phenomenal. You may not have heard of him yet, even if all the scouts at the top European clubs have, but you soon will. He has pace, skill, a rocket of a shot and the ability to arrive in the box like Frank Lampard. This all singles him out as a player who must be watched or more importantly marked.” What Pat Nevin has said about Henrikh is all true, he is very similar to that of current Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard with his goal scoring ability even though he is a midfielder. So, you could almost say that he is a box-to-box midfielder, even though that is not always where he gets slotted into the starting line-up.

There is not a whole lot of Mkhitaryan’s game that I do not like. The only thing that can be said about his game is that he does not always play the perfect pass to his teammates. But then again, who really does? Even the fantastic Real Madrid midfielder, Xabi Alonso will misplace a pass from time to time, all of the greatest players do. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is certainly one to watch for the future with the more exposure he will get due to the Champions League, the more people will hear about him.

Transfer Situation

A few weeks ago, Liverpool announced that the Armenian midfielder was their number one summer transfer target, according to various England newspapers including, the Guardian, Independent, and many others. However, if Liverpool are going to sign him this summer, they will need to pay the £20m price tag that was slapped on him by the Shakthar Donetsk board.

Many other clubs are interested in him, such as Bayern Munich, Manchester City, and Chelsea, also want the exuberant midfielder. His current deal with the Ukrainian club lasts until June of 2015, so if a bigger European club wants his signature, they will most likely have to pay a hefty buyout clause. However, what they will get is a very consistent midfielder who will work hard every day in training to continue his craft and will always give all he has in each and every match he plays in.

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The Robbie Rogers Story

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Los Angeles Galaxy winger, Robbie Rogers retired from professional football in February, way too early. That month, he openly announced to the British media that he was in fact, gay. However, just two months later, he wanted to return to Major League Soccer to continue his playing career, but he did not want to go to the Chicago Fire who were, at the time, owner of his rights. The MLS works a little differently than the rest of the world, clubs own the rights to a certain player, and then another club will have to trade for them, with either compensation or for another player. This is how Major League Soccer is continuing to be financially stable for the most part.

A deal was eventually made, but, of course there was a lot of media drama and coverage surrounding this deal. But, you know, it is Los Angeles, and you know we love this sort of stuff in my hometown. When the trade was finally confirmed by the two clubs, myself, and others, were all in shock and in a state of confusion as to what the final trade actually was. Mike Magee, midfielder, was the one that had gone to Chicago. I asked myself, being the huge LA Galaxy supporter that I am, why several times that day as he had been one of our best players this season so far. I, like many others, needed answers, and quickly, too.

We got our questions answered, slowly, but we did get them. Magee was traded to the Fire because he wanted to go back home. He had tried previous times, but they never panned out. Mike Magee helped explain his decision to go back home in a recent interview with NBC Sports ProSoccer Talk. He stated, “It’s been on my mind pretty much since I left. I tried to get back [here] a couple times in the past and then I think throughout the process with Robbie Rogers, that whole saga with him trying to get to LA, it crept in my mind that somebody had to go to Chicago. And I raised my hand.” In the end, it all eventually made sense, even though I still was unsure of the trade.
So there it was, Rogers was officially a member of the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Rogers grew up in my hometown in California called Rancho Palos Verdes, although he went to a private high school about an hour away or so and was a two time High School All-American. After his last year in school, he decided to join USL Premier Development League side, Orange County Blue Stars, but made just three appearances before attending the University of Maryland over on the east coast of this country.

He played superbly his first year there and gained attention from Dutch club, SC Heerenven. Sadly for Rogers, he did not make a single appearance with the first team during his time in Holland and was released the following summer on a mutual termination agreement. Robbie came back to the United States and was shortly signed by the Columbus Crew before the 2007 season had started.

Robbie Rogers was sensational during his time with the Crew. Rogers did not get much of a look in in his first season, but managed to score three times and get one assist in just ten appearances. The 2008 season, would be a totally different story. He was named in the starting XI time after time again and eventually the dividends starting paying off. His first goal of the season came in a four to three victory against Chivas USA on April 13th, 2008. Rogers would go on to start in all four playoff matches for the Crew and was named in the MLS Best Starting XI and picked up the Supporters’ Shield, which is awarded to the club with the most amount of points at the end of the regular season, as well as the MLS Cup.

Robbie ended his career with the Columbus Crew in December of 2011 when it was announced that he would not sign a contract extension. During his time in Ohio, he made 138 appearances and scored 17 times. Despite not having the highest goal tally ever recorded, he was still an integral part of the attacking department with the club. The next part of his journey took him to England, where he would sign with Championship side Leeds United, after being heavily linked with the club, who had originally been given a trial with the club thanks to the US Men’s National Team. He made his first start for the club in 2012 in a 1-0 against Peterborough United, after making his first appearance for the club coming off as a sub the previous week. He unfortunately picked up an ankle injury late in the season was ruled out for the rest of the season.

The next year, Neil Warncok had taken the role of manager. Rogers had recovered in time for Leeds preseason matches and scored a couple of times during the summer. Unfortunately, he was placed on the transfer list in August to make room for a new striker at the club, along with another player. He went on loan to League One side, Stevenage, who was being managed by former Colorado Rapids manager, Gary Smith, who had been a fan of his during his time in the States. Robbie made his debut, just two days after the loan move had been completed, coming on as a substitute against Oldham Athletic. However, he was struck by injuries most of the time he was in England and did not really get much first team football overseas.

Not many people have the guts to do what Robbie did back in February and that took a whole lot of courage to do so. “Are people coming to see you because you’re gay? Would I want to do interviews every day, where people are asking: ‘So you’re taking showers with guys — how’s that?” Robbie Rogers said during an interview with the Guardian back in March.

Since his arrival to Los Angeles, I have grown fond of the explosive winger that is Robbie Rogers. His ability to take on defenders one on one is superb and I am sure he will be one of my favorite players to have played for the Galaxy before all is said and done. And no matter what your ideology is, you can appreciate the hard work and dedication that he puts in to the game.

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Player Profile – Samed Yesil

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Samed is another very talented youngster in the Liverpool ranks who is starting to slowly break into the first team after making a couple of appearances this past season. Liverpool have a very talented youth system with the likes of Ngoo, Adorjan, Quirk, and Pelosi, but Samed has the most potential to really make a name for himself at Anfield for years to come.

Yeşil was born in Düsseldorf, Germany but he is able to play for either Germany or Turkey when the time comes since one of his parents is also Turkish, but has played for the German U19 squad a few times. He started playing youth football at his local side, CFR Links and then moved to BV 04 Düsseldorf at age 6. At the age of 11 years old, he was offered a trial at Bayer Leverkusen, which he accepted. He reached the final of the German Junior championship, but unfortunately lost to Eintracht Frankfurt by a score of 0-1. Between 2010 and 2012, he scored 57 goals in 71 matches for the youth side before being called up briefly. Samed made 5 appearances for the first team in his breakout season.

Brendan Rodgers acquired the 18 year olds signature during the summer of 2012 before making his first appearance for the U21 side against Chelsea, with his side winning by a score of 4-1. Shortly after that appearance, he was called up to the first team to play in a Europa League match against BSC Young Boys, however, he was an unused sub. Yeşil also appeared in Football League Cup in matches against West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City.

Unfortunately, he was unable to finish the season after rupturing anterior cruciate ligament while on international duty with the German U19 squad.

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Player Profile – Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku was born in the town of Antwerp, Belgium. At the age of five, he joined his local youth team, Rupel Boom. He was there until 2003 when scouts from Lierse SK found him and got him to join their well-established youth academy. Lukaku was at the youth academy until 2006 where he scored an astonishing 121 goals in 68 matches played, which almost two goals a match. Lierse were relegated in 2006 and Anderlecht bought 13 of their youth players during mid-season, and Lukaku, subsequently, was one of them. In his three years in the Anderlecht youth system, he again scored over 100 goals, 131 to be exact, in 93 appearances.

In May of 2009, Lukaku signed his first professional contract which kept him there until 2011. He made his first appearances in a playoff match on the 24th of that match against Standard Liege. He scored his first goal in the 89th minute in a match against Zulte Waregem. All in all, during his time in Anderlecht, he netted 33 times in just under 75 appearances. In August 2011, Lukaku joined the southwest London club, Chelsea FC. He made his first league start in the League Cup against Fulham.

However, he mostly played on the reserve teams that season and was unhappy with the playing time. The next season, Lukaku was sent out on a season long loan deal to West Bromwich Albion. Lukaku scored the winning goal in his full debut against Reading at The Hawthorns. He has thrived this season for WBA and he sincerely wishes to become a legend at Stamford Bridge someday.

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Player Profile: Steven Caulker

Steven Caulker is one of the best young English center backs in the Premier League right now. His first youth football team was with his local club, Hounslow Borough. In his early days there, he played center midfielder, but after some advice from the head coach, he switched to center back. After just one match there, Caulker received seven trails from clubs like Chelsea, Reading, Queens Park Rangers, and Tottenham Hotspurs to name a few.

He spent three years with the youth academy before being loaned out to League One side Yeovil Town. Caulker made the League One team of the week in just his second match with the side when his team won 0-0. By the end of his loan at Yeovil, he had made 44 starts out of 45 matches and the only match he missed was because he was away on England U19 duty. The next season he was sent out on loan to Championship side Bristol City. He did not play quite as many games there as he did for Yeovil, but in the appearances he did make he was really dominate at the center back position.

The following season, Caulker was sent out on loan to newly promoted Swansea City, Norwich City, as well as another stint with Bristol City. Unfortunately for Caulker, he was out for three months when he tore some ligaments in his knee as he collided with a goal post in a game against Arsenal. Caulker made his European debut for Tottenham in a 0-0 draw against Lazio and played extremely well. He has since signed a new four year deal with Tottenham to keep him in North London as a player for the future.

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Player Profile: Jetro Willems

This 19-year-old Dutch fullback started his youth career at Sparta Rotterdam, his home town club. He made his debut for the senior side at the age of 17 for the senior side in 2010-11 where he made 15 appearances in the Dutch second division. He is already being targeted by Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson to replace Patrice Evra.

The next summer Willems made a move to PSV, one of the biggest clubs in Holland. He signed a three year contract with the club on August 31, 2011, and made his debut for the club in a match against Vitesse on October 23, 2011. On April 22, 2012, Willems scored his first professional goal of his career against NEC Nijmegan.

Willems has already had a good international career despite being so young. He has made 8 appearances for the national team and there are some decent left backs that could easily make the national team. He made is first international start at the 2012 European Championships against Denmark making him the fourth youngest player to ever play for the Dutch national team.

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Player Profile: Julian Draxler

Listed at only 1.87 m long, this young German attacking midfielder is already causing heads to turn whenever he comes on the pitch with his powerful long distance shots. He has yet to really break into the national team, but with a country loaded with young talents, it will, undoubtedly, take some time before he is a regular fixture in the national team.

Draxler made his debut for Schalke on January 15th, 2011. At this time, he was the fourth youngest player to make his debut in the Bundesliga. The following week he, he made his debut start for the German side against making him the second youngest to ever start in the Bundesliga behind Nuri Şahin. He appeared in 30 of the 34 matches that helped Schalke get into the Champions League. Draxler made his debut on the international side for the German U-21 scoring a goal on his debut in a 4-1 victory over Cyprus U-21 in a qualifier for the 2013 European U-21 Championship. He made his debut for the national side, in a loss to Switzerland, less than a year later than that.

He can score goals with both his left foot and his right, while hitting them from some distance. Draxler is very gifted at reading the game; he usually makes the right pass at the right time. Another outstanding feature of his is his ability to hold onto possession for long periods of time, similar to that of the Argentinian superman Lionel Messi. Perhaps his weakest ability is crossing the ball into the box, but that will surely get better as he ages and his game develops more.

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