Ansu Fati is Spain’s best talent in a generation, Eduardo Camavinga gave a glimpse of why Real Madrid are so keen on him and Cristiano Ronaldo is showing no signs of slowing down… forget England, here’s what we learned from the Nations League this week
- Rennes starlet Eduardo Camavinga became France’s third-youngest debutant
- Ansu Fati also became Spain’s youngest all-time goalscorer against Ukraine
- Cristiano Ronaldo hit the 100-goal mark for Portugal as they beat Sweden
- Chelsea’s Timo Werner, Michy Batshuayi and Jorginho starred for their sides
England’s fixtures against Iceland and Denmark may have provided a dreary backdrop for the Nations League matches this week.
But despite fairly uninspiring performances from Gareth Southgate’s men, there were plenty of other talking points that will excite club hierarchies ahead of the new season.
Here, Sportsmail run you through what we learned from the last two rounds of international fixtures.
Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the stars once again of the latest rounds of the Nations League
Not since the first year of World War I had a player made his senior France debut at a younger age than Rennes starlet Eduardo Camavinga did on Tuesday night.
The teenager became France’s third-youngest debutant when he came on the pitch in France’s 4-2 Nations League win over Croatia, replacing N’Golo Kante to make his international debut at the age of 17 years and 303 days.
He is therefore only surpassed by Julien Verbrugghe, aged 16 years and 10 months in 1906 and Maurice Gastiger, at 17 years and 4 months in 1914, and demonstrated in his 30-minute cameo just what an asset he will be for Didier Deschamps.
Eduardo Camavinga became France’s youngest debutant since 1914 against Croatia
His drive pushed the team on as legs began to tire, while his technical ability and overall impact in midfield was something to behold.
Dayot Upamecano and Olivier Giroud then found the goals to seal a six-goal thriller in a repeat scoreline of the 2018 World Cup final in Russia.
But while Camavinga did not feature in France’s win in Sweden, he only needed half an hour at the Stade de France to dazzle and show off his incredible potential.
Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid hold an interest in the player as they attempt to add to the French contingent in Madrid, and on this showing he would add an abundance of dynamism to an ageing midfield.
Fati a lynchpin in Luis Enrique’s Spain side
It appears that speaking about records broken by emerging talents cannot be complete without mentioning Ansu Fati right now.
Barcelona forward Fati broke a 95-year national record on Sunday to become Spain’s youngest goalscorer at the age of 17 years and 311 days in their 4-0 win against Ukraine.
He curled home a fine 20-yard shot off the post on his first senior start for his country and made more history after a fine club season that saw him shatter other scoring records.
Barcelona’s Ansu Fati became Spain’s youngest ever goalscorer after scoring against Ukraine
Fati is also the youngest ever goalscorer in Champions League history and the Catalan giants’s youngest scorer in LaLiga, and has added more energy to the wide areas for Luis Enrique, which he showed by winning the penalty converted by Sergio Ramos.
While fellow Barcelona star Lionel Messi appeared dismal and rather dejected on his return to training on Monday, Fati will be bouncing off the walls in delight given his latest exploits on the international stage.
Fati can therefore be the player to not only lift Barcelona from their gloom, but also become a key figure in Spain’s search for their first piece of silverware since 2012 next summer.
Cristiano Ronaldo heading for yet more success
No one doubted its inevitability given the long line of landmarks he has already achieved in his career, but the manner in which Cristiano Ronaldo brought up 100 Portugal goals summed up his significance to the national side.
Only the second male footballer to score 100 goals for his country, he netted a sublime free-kick for Portugal in their 2-0 win against Sweden on Tuesday night.
The Juventus star missed Portugal’s Nations League opener against Croatia with a toe injury but made up for his absence in the way he knows best and the 35-year-old has now set his sights on Iranian Ali Daei’s record for a male international of 109 goals.
The former Real Madrid and Manchester United star was unwilling to answer questions as to his future in the game, and that should come as no surprise given his continued impact for his country.
He revelled in delight of playing with some of Portugal’s younger stars and while 110 international goals appear a matter of when not if, he will be hoping for success in terms of collective silverware too and a repeat of their Euro 2016 success in 2021.
Cristiano Ronaldo is heading for more records after scoring his 100th goal for Portugal
Batshuayi reminds Chelsea he has plenty to offer
Michy Batshuayi appears to be struggling to find his home at club level after a succession of loan spells away from Chelsea.
But while another season-long loan to Crystal Palace is in the offing, the 26-year-old striker served up a reminder of how clinical he can be in the right environment.
The Belgian scored twice for his country in their 5-1 victory against Iceland, a double that included a delightful backheel finish after scoring his first from a rebound.
His club career may be dishing up more questions than answers right now but on the international stage Roberto Martinez is getting the forward to show he has much to offer the national side.
Romelu Lukaku’s outstanding season may see him play second-fiddle to the Inter Milan star, but Batshuayi is a source of goals that Martinez will rely upon even with his limited playing time last season.
Michy Batshuayi reminded everyone of his abilities after his double as Belgium beat Iceland
Jorginho can play a role for Chelsea next season
The awkwardness of the Jorginho situation has reverberated around Chelsea spheres this summer, but there was nothing awkward about the Italian’s display in his side’s 1-0 win against the Netherlands.
The 28-year-old demonstrated the qualities that have come to define his career in Serie A and the Premier League, involving himself in linking much of the play as the visitors gave an excellent account of themselves against the likes of Virgil Van Dijk.
Although involved in the build-up to Nicolo Barella’s winner, social media users preferred to praise his defensive work on Monday, with one suggesting he had ‘pocketed’ new Manchester United signing Donny Van de Beek for much of the match.
Jorginho was impressive for Italy and helped set up the winner against the Netherlands
But despite his excellent performance doubt remains as to whether he will still be at Stamford Bridge on October 6, with Chelsea in need to recoup some money after a summer of lavish spending so far amounting to £230m to acquire the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.
While being a central midfielder who can help control possession in the midfield, many feel he may not meet Frank Lampard’s demands in advancing the ball up the pitch to help create in attack and could therefore be moved on.
But while Chelsea’s attacking flair has caused fans to lick their lips, the steady presence of Jorginho could still have a role to play for Lampard’s men, however limited, as an experienced head among a lot of inexperienced players and stars new to the Premier League.
Werner vindicates being part of £230m Blues splurge
He may not have been able to offer up a repeat against Switzerland of his ruthless finish against Spain, but Timo Werner showed Chelsea fans what he is all about in Germany’s latest international matches.
He was predominantly kept quiet by Sergio Ramos and Spain before shimmying past the Real Madrid skipper and Pau Torres to find the net in the 1-1 draw.
He also proved he can link extremely well with new Bayern Munich forward Leroy Sane and when Serge Gnabry fits back into the fold Joachim Low will have a new formidable front three.
The attacking threat at Chelsea next season will be no less in might mind, and Werner’s overall movement and clinical finishing is exactly why the club chose to splash out £53m on him.
The Premier League and Chelsea’s rivals for the top four and possibly the league title itself have been warned.
Timo Werner reminded Chelsea fans exactly what they can expect ahead of the new season
Depay will not help Barcelona rise from their gloom
Memphis Depay has without doubt rescued his career at Lyon from his Manchester United mire.
But his performances during the latest rounds of Nations League fixtures demonstrate why he may not be the player to bring about a similar renaissance for Barcelona.
Depay’s former international boss Ronald Koeman is keen on bringing him to the Camp Nou this summer, but there was little evidence he would provide the required consistency to form part of a side that can leapfrog Real Madrid next season.
His bag of tricks spelt trouble for Poland on Friday night, nearly setting up Frenkie De Jong at the end of the first half with an audacious chip.
Memphis Depay proved with the Netherlands he is not the answer for Barcelona this summer
But that was the highlight as his delivery from set-pieces left a lot to be desired throughout, and while he showed effort against Italyhe had an off night in front of goal that Barcelona can ill-afford this season.
He also picked up a yellow card which rules him out of the next game against Bosnia in October, but there are even more pressing concerns regarding his future at Lyon and speculation at Barcelona.
If the Catalan giants are to convince Messi than he can achieve his ambitions at Camp Nou, their ceiling for this summer must be raised higher than Depay’s profile, even with the financial constraints caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
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