The Superleague’s top ten Greek players to watch in the future

The Superleague’s top ten Greek players to watch in the future
 

2017 proved to be a tough year for Greek football. Alongside the Ethniki Omada’s failure to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, clubs struggled on the European stage, as Greek teams earned just the one victory in twelve group stage matches in continental competition.

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Nevertheless, there is hope for the future. In a thrilling first half of the 2017/2018 Super League season, plenty of young Greek players caught the eye. AGONAsport analyses who has made a serious impression in the national championship so far, pointing out what we can expect from them in 2018.

Konstantinos Mavropanos, 20 years old, defender, PAS Giannina

Well, he isn’t a PAS Giannina player anymore. In the first few days of January, English giants Arsenal announced the signing of the powerful, strong Greek centre-back. Mavropanos has only played in sixteen Super League matches over the past two seasons, but he’s shown enough to be picked up by a major European club.

Mavropanos possesses a perfect physique for a defender, stands his ground well and makes life difficult for forwards. He’s dangerous at the other end too, scoring three goals for Giannina this campaign. Without doubt, Mavropanos has the potential to become just as successful as Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Kostas Manolas, defenders who have made a name for themselves in Europe. It’s expected that Arsenal will loan him out for more top-level experience.

Lazaros Lamprou, 20 years old, forward, Panionios

Greece lack tricky forwards, but Lazaros Lamprou is eager to buck the trend. Emerging from the Panathinaikos system, the 20-year old has long impressed with his superb technical skills and ability to create goalscoring chances. Lamprou is an important component of the Panionios set-up, however it’s worth remembering that his rights are actually owned by PAOK Thessaloniki. In 15 Super League matches this season, Lamprou currently boasts three goals and three assists. Can become a seasoned national team player in the future.

Konstantinos Galanopoulos, 20 years old, central midfielder, AEK Athens

Given the terrible injuries suffered by Petros Mantalos and Jakob Johansson, AEK are crying out for capable midfielders. Luckily for the Kitrinomavri’s fans, they have Konstantinos Galanopoulos on their books. A diminutive figure standing at just 172 cm tall, Galanopoulos made his senior AEK debut in May 2016. Since then, he has earned a regular place in the starting line-up with promising performances. Galanopoulos partners Andre Simoes in midfield to good effect, always giving 100% in every match. Isn’t afraid to join the attack and take a shot at goal.

Dimitris Nikolaou, 19 years old, defender, Olympiacos

The only player to find the net against Barcelona in this year’s Champions League group stage, Dimitris Nikolaou also scored an own goal in the same match. The tall defender has made ten appearances this season, displaying his huge potential. Nikolaou is prone to the odd mistake, but that can be explained by his inexperience. A key member of the Greece U21 side, Nikolaou does struggle for game time in Piraeus with Alberto Botia, Pape Abou Cisse and Bjorn Engels ahead of him in the line-up. Will have to gain the trust of new coach Oscar Garcia.

Athanasios Androutsos, 20 years old, attacking midfielder, Olympiacos

Another excellent Olympiacos prospect. A product of the Greek champions’ successful academy, Athanasios Androutsos forced his way into the Olympiacos team in the 2016/2017 campaign, participating in seventeen Super League fixtures and scoring one goal along the way. An attacking player, Androutsos loves to have the ball at his feet and drive at the opposition defence. He hasn’t featured much this season due to the club’s wide range of options for the midfield, but Androutsos will expect to eventually be a first teamer for Olympiacos. A high point of Androutsos’ year was his surprising call up to the senior Greek national team.

Dimitris Limnios, 19 years old, forward, PAOK

Making his debut for Atromitos Athens when sixteen, Dimitris Limnios is the third youngest player to have ever competed in a Super League match. He was then signed by PAOK for just under one million euros in April 2017, playing in seven domestic championship matches this year. Head coach Razvan Lucescu constantly gives Limnios chances, even starting him in the recent derby with Panathinaikos. Limnios can play either as a striker or on the wing, and has been compared to Konstantinos Mitroglou in terms of playing style. In 2015, The Guardian selected Limnios as Greece’s most talented young player.

Anastasios Chatzigiovannis, 20 years old, attacking midfielder, Panathinaikos

As recently featured on AGONAsport, Panathinaikos do have a future. The Greens are in financial turmoil at the moment, but their brilliant youth teams have dominated in the Greek leagues. One player who has already progressed into the senior side is skillful winger Anastasios Chatzigiovannis. Mostly used as an impact substitute by Marinos Ouzounidis, the midfielder causes real problems with his flashy moves. Chatzigiovannis is hungry for more opportunities in the new year.

Giorgos Manthatis, 20 years old, attacking midfielder, PAS Giannina

A Greek champion with parent club Olympiacos in 2017. The Thrylos opted to send Giorgos Manthatis on loan to PAS Giannina this season, wanting the winger to have more experience of playing in the first team. Manthatis has done well at Giannina, often playing the full 90 minutes in Super League games and gradually improving. In 14 league matches, Manthatis has two assists to his name. A player which Olympiacos are certainly counting on for the coming years.

Manolis Patralis, 20 years old, defensive midfielder, Platanias

Born in Nea Raidestos, a village not far away from Thessaloniki, Manolis Patralis predictably came through the PAOK academy. He was handed to Platanias on loan for this campaign, standing out as a leader in the Super League’s bottom club. A competent passer of the ball, Patralis reads the game well and is always looking to get the attack started. His vital experience at Platanias will help Patralis keep progressing. 

Anastasios Douvikas, 18 years old, forward, Asteras Tripolis

Last summer, Anastasios Douvikas was awarded his first professional contract by Asteras Tripolis. Douvikas is only eighteen, but he is already a regular for Asteras in the Super League. In the 2017/2018 season, Douvikas has one goal and eleven matches under his belt in Greece’s top division. His noticeable talent has reportedly interested PAOK, Olympiacos and foreign clubs. 

 
by Shaun Nicolaides
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