11 Premier League youngsters bracing themselves for a massive 2017
1. Harry Winks (Tottenham, 20)
Winks has demonstrated an ability to shift the ball at his team’s demanding pace
Tottenham’s latest academy graduate is Hemel Hempstead-born Winks. The central midfielder has appeared in Spurs’ last 15 games in all competitions, demonstrating an ability to shift the ball at his team’s demanding pace and clearly impressing Mauricio Pochettino en route.
The 20-year-old’s physique is slight but he is rarely dispossessed, having completed almost 90% of his passes in the Premier League (a figure which rises to 93% in Europe). While his fellow young club-mate Josh Onomah struggles to make Spurs’ matchday squads, Winks is kicking on at White Hart Lane.
2. Tom Davies (Everton, 18)
He made his first league start of 2016/17 against Southampton last time out and provided an assist for Romelu Lukaku in the 3-0 victory
Davies made his first Everton start in the final Premier League game of the Toffees’ disappointing 2015/16 campaign – and under Ronald Koeman, the talented 18-year-old has kicked on.
Like Winks, Davies is now a regular call-up from the bench, but he made his first league start of 2016/17 against Southampton last time out and provided an assist for Romelu Lukaku in the 3-0 victory at Goodison Park.
With Gareth Barry nearing the end of his career, there will soon be a void in Everton’s midfield. Davies, having joined the club aged 11 – just like team-mate Ross Barkley – looks well placed to fill it.
3. Ben Chilwell (Leicester, 20)
After the Foxes turned down Jurgen Klopp’s overtures in the summer, Chilwell penned a new five-year contract and is beginning to reap the benefits
Chilwell was the subject of sizeable bids from both Arsenal and Liverpool before he’d even made his Premier League debut for Leicester. But after the Foxes turned down Jurgen Klopp’s overtures in the summer, Chilwell penned a new five-year contract and is beginning to reap the benefits.
After an excellent loan spell at Huddersfield last season, the confident England U21 international is now pushing Christian Fuchs for Leicester’s left-back position and has started two of the champions' last three Premier League games, putting in particularly impressive performances against Everton and West Ham before the New Year.
4. Sam McQueen (Southampton, 21)
McQueen has plenty of reason to believe his time will come – as it has for so many of Southampton’s young upstarts
Since his Premier League debut in October, McQueen has competed with England international Ryan Bertrand for the left-back spot at Southampton. His first start was a big one – at the San Siro, in Saints’ unfortunate 1-0 defeat by Inter in the Europa League – which was followed up by a first top-flight start against Manchester City. How’s that for a full introduction?
Despite strong competition from Bertrand, local boy McQueen has started three of Southampton’s last six Premier League matches and looks to have proven himself as a genuine option for Claude Puel after finishing last season strongly on loan at Southend.