Coutinho has made a positive start to life at Inter

About a month ago we took a look at five young players that we thought could be making a big impression in Europe football this season. Every few weeks we will be bringing you a progress update on this group of exciting young talents, reporting on how they are faring at their respective clubs.

Here’s the first instalment:

Jordan Ayew (Marseille)

Ayew, who turned 19 a matter of days ago, has made a quiet start to the Ligue 1 season as Marseille have struggled for consistency during the opening rounds of the campaign.

The young Ghanaian forward is yet to start a game for Didier Deschamps’ side, but has made three appearances from the bench and will be looking to establish himself further in the coming months.

Grade: C

Yann M’Vila (Rennes)

Rennes have made an excellent start to 2010/11, taking eleven points from a possible fifteen and recording useful wins over the likes of Nancy and Sochaux. Having missed the first game of the season, M’Vila returned to the line-up in the second fixture and has started every game since.

His all-action performances as a defensive midfielder in Rennes’ 4-2-3-1 have been impressive, and he has gained a further two France caps since we first highlighted him a month ago.

Grade: A

Marco Reus (Borussia Mönchengladbach)

M’Vila aside, Marco Reus is arguably the most established first team player of our group of five. Having started two of Mönchengladbach’s three Bundesliga games thus far, the young striker set up Mohammadou Idrissou for his team’s only goal in their 1-1 draw with Nürnberg and, just a week later, got on the score sheet in Gladbach’s thrilling 6-3 win over Bayer Leverkussen.

Add into the equation Reus’ goal against in the DFB-Pokal and it has clearly been a superb start to the season for the 21 year-old.

Grade: A+

Philippe Coutinho (Internazionale)

It was never going to be easy for 18 year-old Philippe Coutinho to break into the first team at European Champions Inter, but the Brazilian has set about his task with an admirable application.

An impressive cameo in the UEFA Super Cup was rewarded with a substitute appearance against Bologna on the first day of the Serie A season and, although he may have some way to go before he becomes a regular, is clearly a part of Rafael Benitez’s plans.

Grade: B

Fran Mérida (Atlético Madrid)

Atlético have been the early pacesetters in La Liga this season, but former Arsenal midfielder Mérida has struggled to break into the first team during his time at the Vicente Calderón thus far.

A brief substitute appearance during the successful UEFA Super Cup is as good as it’s got for Merida, the 20 year-old apparently not a major part of Quique Sánchez Flores’ plans at the current time.

Grade: C-