Europe, Take Notice: Five Left Midfielders Who Can Succeed at a Higher Level
With the January transfer window just around the corner, here are five left midfielders who have done exceptionally well but have yet to burst onto the scene.
Introducing: Adam Hlousek, Christopher Drazan, Florin Matei, Andreas Avraam and Marko Milinkovic.
Become more familiar with them in the next slides.
At just 22 years of age, Slavia Prague star Adam Hlousek is a rising star in Czech football and has already made three appearances for the Senior National Team. He is a versatile player who mainly plays as a left winger but can also be deployed as a centre forward.
His energetic nature combined with his silky technical skills and blistering pace make him a very dangerous player to have roaming on the flank. He is one of the most durable players in his league with seemingly never-ending stamina, while also posing a threat from set pieces.
Hlousek has been very unlucky with injuries which have hindered his development considerably. While playing for former club FK Jablonec in 2007, the midfielder broke his shin bone and was sidelined for five months.
Upon returning to action, Hlousek was soon back to his best, providing the sort of displays that have earned him a move to Slavia Prague, one of the Czech Republic's most respected clubs, for a fee of €800k.
He had made 24 appearances for his new side, scoring four goals and assisting for two more, before suffering yet another frustrating setback in the shape of a right knee injury that kept him out of contention for six months. He missed the remainder of the 2009-2010 season.
Rapid Wien's left-wing wizard looks to be one of Austria's most promising attacking players in years. At only 20 years of age, he has already amassed 80 appearances in his club's colours and two caps for the Senior Austrian National Team.
He recently featured for Rapid in the club's Europa League campaign, enjoying the chance to showcase his abilities for the continent to take notice.
The gifted dribbler is an agile, pacey and creative presence on the wing and is considered to be a real prospect for a move away to one of the top European leagues in the coming years.
He is somewhat lacking in the physical department and rarely gets his name on the scoresheet. He will have to work on these two areas in order to fulfill his potential.
Dubbing teenage starlets as “the next” Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo has become a sport of its own recently, but every now and then along comes a player who threatens to justify the tag.
One such player could very well be Romanian sensation Florin Matei, who boasts technique and creativity eye-catchingly similar to some of the most gifted trequartistas on the European stage.
Matei, who can be employed in a central attacking midfield position, is a product of the impressive Steaua Bucharest youth academy and was recently loaned to Unirea Urziceni, where he has begun to gain top flight experience.
The dynamic 17 year old already possesses the kind of skills that coaching cannot teach, but will have to commit himself to hard work on the physical aspect of his game as he is currently not strong enough to handle the sort of tackles he will inevitably be forced to deal with.
However, he is still very young and has a lot of time in which to gain the valuable experience needed to become more comfortable with his natural attributes.
Avraam moved to Omonia Nicosia on the back of three successful seasons with Apollon Limassol, where he gradually became a highly-rated midfielder in the Cypriot League and a Senior National Team player.
The 23 year old, who has so far been capped 13 times for his country, slotted straight into Omonia's starting lineup upon arrival and has played an integral part in his side's league campaign which currently sees them sitting second in the table.
Avraam is an intelligent, fast player who is capable of playing anywhere across the left side. He is known for his good work-rate and his accurate, defence-splitting crosses.
He is also an accomplished free-kick taker and is a thorn in the side of opposition defenders as he has a knack of getting into position to finish off an easy chance.
MFK Kosice's resourceful young star Marko Milinkovic can be employed in a myriad of positions across the midfield. He has garnered experience operating as a playmaker, attacking midfielder and winger on both flanks.
The fleet-footed Milinkovic is clearly technically gifted while he also sports an excellent left-footed shot which creates a threat on goal whenever he cuts into the danger zone.
He has been a Kosice player since joining from Borac Cacak in 2007, and is currently enjoying his best season for the club. He has five goals and three assists in the 11 appearances he has made so far this term, including a brilliant hat trick in the recent home game versus Tatran Presov.
The 1.79m-tall Milinkovic, who plays in the number No. 99 shirt, has appeared six times for the Serbia U-21 side, scoring three goals, and made his Senior National Team debut in 2009.
He has reportedly been scouted by Spanish giants FC Barcelona over the course of the last year.