Every season there are more and more talented youngsters emerging into the Premier League to showcase their abilities for their clubs and the last few years has seen the rise of under 21’s playing in the league whether they are homegrown or signed. Every year I take a look at the U21’s appearing in the league 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 and given the criticism of the current England team 4/5 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 and 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 Winkel
Chelsea signed this 20-yeal old Dutch player during the summer transfer window after agreeing a fee of £8million with Vitesse Arnheim and he made his debut on 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 and he has continued to thrive throughout his club career there. He plays in midfield and describes himself as a “box-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 came running and that club was Man United. Zaha is best known for his creative play and his ability at moving forward in his position as an attacking winger. 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 and 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 Ross Barkley and he has bounced back with ease and still displays phenomenal talent. He is tenacious and intercepts the ball from the opposition with ease, he has the ability to play as a holding midfielder and a still manages to go forward without it affecting his play, for someone who hasn’t played much first team football he has an air of experience that some other player 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 I think he could possibly be the best defender this country has produced in 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 but the Saints have refused to sell him so far and I don’t blame them. At 18 years old Shaw guards that goal box with the aura of someone who has been playing with experienced defenders for a lot longer, he not only can contend with aerial challenges he tackles with ease and gets the ball majority of the time. He is regular member of the team and gives his all in every game, 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.