Borussia Dortmund players Jadon Sancho and Manuel Akanji have been fined undisclosed sums for violating the Bundesliga hygiene rules, with England winger England winger Sancho branding the decision an “absolute joke”.
It’s time for a check on how the A-League’s under-21s are going this month.
The statistics here are based on all games between 2 and 31 January.
1. Thomas Deng – defender, Melbourne Victory (Born 20 March 1997)
January ranking: 1st
Deng has had an outstanding month, playing the whole 90 minutes in each of his six games. He is pretty much certain to be first until he turns 22, being a Melbourne Victory regular. The way he is going, could he be knocking on Graham Arnold’s door? I think so.
2. Riley McGree – midfielder, Melbourne City, on loan from Club Brugge (Born 2 November 1998)
January ranking: 3rd
McGree moves up to second place this month with 381 minutes in six games. His month also included three starts, a goal and an assist. It looks like he has found his home playing in the wide midfielders spot. A similar month will keep him in second and possibly higher depending on how Thomas Deng goes.
3. Daniel De Silva – midfielder, Sydney FC, on loan from Central Coast Mariners (Born 6 March 1997)
January ranking: 2nd
De Silva had a bit of a better month, but not so much so to keep him in second place. He played 284 minutes in six games and got his first start of the season – three of them, to be exact. He can still play at centre attacking midfield or on the wing, but another month like this will probably make him drop a little further down the pecking order.
4. Aidan O’Neill – midfielder, Central Coast Mariners, on loan from Burnley (Born 4 July 1998)
January ranking: 5th
It was a great month from the Queenslander, with 450 minutes, five starts from six games and playing the whole 90 minutes in those five matches. He also banked a goal and, interestingly, has moved into centre back for the past three games. A similar month will likely move him further up the order.
5. Lachlan Wales – attacker, Melbourne City (Born 19 October 1997)
January ranking: 7th
Wales hops up two spots this month but is still playing at striker for Warren Joyce. He played 460 minutes in six games, including four full matches, of which he played the whole 90 minutes. He also racked up one goal and one assist. A similar month may move him up to fourth, but with Jamie MacLaren joining Melbourne City, will Wales still be playing?
6. Nathaniel Atkinson – defender, Melbourne City (Born 13 June 1999)
January ranking: 6th
Atkinson keeps the same spot this week, but he could have been higher if it wasn’t for his teammate Lachlan Wales. He played 402 minutes with four starts and two full 90-minute matches. He’s played at various positions this month, including at striker, but he will still likely be playing on the wing or full back for Warren Joyce.
7. Trent Buhagiar – attacker, Sydney FC (Born 27 February 1998)
January ranking: 5th
You have to feel for Buhagiar. He was doing so well during the preseason for Sydney and looked like he would get his breakout season, but then did his ACL in training. He’s still recovering and has fallen two spots this month.
8. Jordan O’Doherty – attacker, Western Sydney Wanderers (Born 14 October 1997)
January ranking: 8th
I thought O’Doherty would be lucky to move up but unlucky to drop down, so he stays the same. He played 351 minutes in six games, all of them being starts, and he grabbed some assists. I still find it interesting that he is playing at defensive midfield for the hoops while after a similar month in a similar position again.
9. Keanu Baccus – midfielder, Western Sydney Wanderers (Born 7 June 1998)
January ranking: 9th
Baccus has the same spot this month after a pretty good set of games. He played 426 minutes in six matches, including four starts, three of which he played for the entire game. He also scored a goal and was the other half of that defensive midfield partnership with Jordan O’Doherty. An identical month may see him move up.
10 Connor O’Toole: defender, Brisbane Roar (Born 4 July 1997)
January ranking: 11th
O’Toole enters the top ten this week after a better month than I expected. He played 500 minutes in six matches, starting all of them and playing the full 90 in five of them. He bagged an assist too. A similar month will see him in a similar position. He has found his home at right back for Darren Davies.
11. Sarpreet Singh – midfielder, Wellington Phoenix (Born 20 February 1999)
January ranking: 13th
12. Jacob Italiano – forward, Perth Glory (Born 30 July 2001)
January ranking: 10th
13. Apostolos Stamatelopoulous – attacker, Adelaide United (Born 9 April 1999)
January ranking: 12th
14. Johnny Koutroumbis – defender, Newcastle Jets (Born 6 March 1998)
January ranking: 15th
15. Jake Brimmer – midfielder, Perth Glory (Born 3 April 1998)
January ranking: N/A
We had one new player entering this month – Jake Brimmer arrived while Joseph Champness departed.
As always, if you feel that a player should be lower or higher than they are, leave a comment and I will consider.