The breakout Premier League star to watch at your club this season
Southampton (Matt Targett)
Targett might have hoped to be Luke Shaw’s replacement at Southampton, but the signing of Ryan Bertrand meant he continued as the Saints' backup left-back at St Mary's last season.
He needed to wait until midway through the campaign, when Bertrand was ineligible for a match against his parent club Chelsea, for his first league start. And he was hugely impressive, turning in a display notable for his positional intelligence and his well-timed tackles.
Much like Luke Garbutt at Everton, Targett finds himself behind an England international at left-back, and it’s difficult to imagine how Southampton can play both he and Bertrand together. Nevertheless, with the south-coasters involved in Europa League competition this year, manager Ronald Koeman will need to rotate and that could play into his hands nicely.
Stoke (Jack Butland)
Butland has been knocking around for a while now - he made his England debut in 2012, the year he was named in both the European Championship and Olympic squads - but wasn’t able to displace Asmir Begovic as Stoke’s first-choice. He’s still made only six Premier League appearances, and has been loaned out to Birmingham, Barnsley, Leeds and Derby.
Therefore, it’s slightly difficult to gauge Butland’s true level of ability but, with Begovic becoming Thibaut Courtois’ understudy at Chelsea, this is his time to shine. A tall, calm and composed goalkeeper more akin to a traditional shot-stopper than a modern sweeper-keeper, he will be Stoke’s first choice this season.
“He’s a player that we have every confidence in,” said Mark Hughes. “He’s bided his time, he’s been patient. He’s an outstanding young keeper and I think that’s acknowledged right across the board, so we all feel his time is now – he will have an opportunity to really stake a claim.”
Sunderland (Adam Matthews)
The manager said ‘we’ve been watching you for a while, I like what I see but you’ve got to work on a few things and hopefully I can make you a better player’
Having played in Wales with Cardiff, and in Scotland with Celtic, Matthews will now play in England with Sunderland after a £2m transfer. It’s a move that has gone somewhat under the radar, but could turn out to be a canny buy. “I like to attack but the manager has already told me I need to work on my defending so I’ll try my best to do that,” Matthews said at his unveiling. “I like to get on the ball, I like to get forward and hopefully score a few goals.” But in a side like Sunderland, Matthews will spend the majority of the time on the back foot, and it will be his defending that is more closely examined as he aims to end the campaign with a place in Wales’ Euro 2016 squad.