Every season there are more and more talented youngsters emerging into the Premier League to showcase their abilities for their clubs. The last few years has seen the rise of U21?s playing in the Premier League, whether they are homegrown or signed.
Every year I take a look at these young stars and compile a list of 5 players that I believe are the ones to watch this season. These players all have the potential to do really well. Given the criticism of the current England team, these youngsters could provide a brighter future for the National team.
5. James Ward-Prowse
This talented youngster started his career at Southampton at the tender age of 8 years old when he joined the youth team. He made his way through the Academy stages, before making his debut in a league cup game in 2011. He was promoted to the first team last year when they returned to the Premier League. Ward-Prowse is 18 years old and plays in a central midfield role. His biggest strength is passing, control and linking play. His stamina is good and when you watch some of the decisions he makes during a game, you forget he is only 18 years old.
4. Marco Van Ginkel
Chelsea signed this 20-year-old Dutch player during the summer transfer window after agreeing a fee of £8million with Vitesse Arnheim. He made his debut during the first game of the season when he came on as a substitute. Van Ginkel started his career at Vitesse and worked his way through the Academy before making his debut in 2010 at the age of 17.
He plays in midfield and describes himself as a “box-to-box player”. He is incredibly fast-paced and runs up and down the pitch with ease, as well as scoring goals every now and then. I definitely think we’ll see a lot more of him in the future and he could become a key player for Chelsea.
3. Wilfried Zaha
Wilfried Zaha has been playing football since he was younger and earned a full contract at the age of 17. Zaha established himself in the Championship last year when he played for Crystal Palace and he won the Football League Young Player of the year. It wasn’t long before a Premiership team came knocking and that club was Man United. Zaha is best known for his creative play and his ability moving forward. He has bundles of stamina and he will provide a lot of assists and help with linking play within the United team.
2. Ross Barkley
Ross Barkley is a bright prospect brought up through the Academy at Everton after joining at the age of 11. He was set to make his debut in the 10/11 season, but he suffered a horrific leg break. Despite a nasty injury early on it hasn’t phased the youngster and he has bounced back with ease. He is tenacious, positions himself well and has the ability to play as a holding midfielder whilst still managing to make inroads further up the pitch.
For someone who hasn’t played much first team football he has an air of experience that some other players lack. On the opening day of the season he scored his first goal for Everton and he also won man of the match. He has played in every game since and he’ll really thrive under Martinez after being somewhat hindered by Moyes, who lacked confidence in the teenager.
1. Luke Shaw
If you haven’t seen Luke Shaw play then you are missing out, he is absolutely amazing to watch and could possibly be the best defender this country has produced for a while. Luke Shaw is another product of the success that is Southampton’s youth system and he has been constantly watched by the top clubs for the past two years. Thankfully, the Saints have refused to sell him so far and I don’t blame them.
At just 18-years-old Shaw guards the goal box with the aura of someone who has been playing with experienced defenders for a lot longer. He can not only can contend with aerial challenges, he’s a strong tackler and gets the ball most of the time. Southampton are definitely the envy of a lot of clubs who wish they had Shaw in their team.
So that’s my top 5 for this season. I think each and every youngster on this list will excel this year.
Thank you as always for reading. What are your thoughts?
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