The kids are alright
It’s not always easy to predict where the next emerging talent will come from, as Aaron Wan-Bissaka proved in the last 18 months leading up to his £50 million Manchester United move.
But we’ve got a good feeling about the following youngsters, who could be ready to make waves in 2019/20. Some of them already have – but much more awaits them...
Tanguy Ndombele (Tottenham)
Tottenham’s record signing has started as he means to go on with a stunning strike against Aston Villa on the opening weekend of the season.
That performance, combined with those he put in for Lyon last season, suggest that Mauricio Pochettino has got his hands on a player who'll be well worth the £55 million they shelled out to bring him to north London this summer.
Mason Greenwood (Manchester United)
Greenwood’s performances at youth level have been full of craft, guile, confidence and reliability; characteristics that suggest he could transform pure talent into Premier League consistency.
Where he fits into the United first team is another matter. He has the qualities needed to become a top-level false nine, but for the time being he’s likely to be relying on making the most of relief appearances and doing his best to use his attacking talents in whatever space he has.
Moise Kean (Everton)
The reaction of Juventus fans to losing their 19-year-old talent was telling, and Everton will profit from their agony. Kean is one of Europe’s most exciting young strikers and boasted an excellent minutes-per-goal ratio last season as he scored six times in 13 games (eight as a substitute).
Marco Silva has been looking for a top-notch marksman to complement the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison behind him, and now they seem to have got one for the reasonable price of £29 million.
Mason Mount (Chelsea)
Mount might just be the most promising of all young English talents – and the good news for him, Chelsea and Gareth Southgate is that Frank Lampard has taken him on at the precise moment he’s ready for the Premier League.
Lampard’s faith in him will be tested this season, but Mount creates attacking momentum and opportunity. If the Blues great can help add some of the characteristics from his own phenomenal career, his young midfielder can go far.
Youri Tielemans (Leicester)
Half a season was all it took for Leicester – and Brendan Rodgers – to be convinced that the Belgian’s loan move from Monaco needed to be made permanent. In fact, it was more of a surprise that the Foxes were able to land him at all ahead of bigger clubs in the end.
A classy operator, the former Anderlecht man’s craft and vision from midfield will makes the Foxes tick.
Joe Gomez (Liverpool)
A fractured ankle meant Gomez barely featured for Liverpool in the second half of 2018/19, but he is fit and firing again now.
The 22-year-old should benefit from the influence of Virgil van Dijk alongside him and is about as close as Jurgen Klopp will get to a new signing this term after a summer of inactivity on the transfer front. His return and continued development is good news for Liverpool and England.
Phil Foden (Manchester City)
Pep Guardiola may have called Foden the “most talented player” he’s ever seen, but the Spaniard has form for that kind of hyperbole. Plus, it’s not much use if he doesn’t play.
The midfielder started just three league games last season but there are more openings now with David Silva getting on a bit and Kevin De Bruyne looking fragile. It’s now up to Foden to force his way in when he gets those chances.
Dean Henderson (Sheffield United)
The Manchester United youngster returned to Bramall Lane on loan this season for his first crack at top-flight football – and he’s likely to be kept busy.
A reliable keeper is a must for a newly-promoted side and last season the England Under-21 international proved to be just that, winning the club’s Young Player of the Year award and the Championship Golden Glove. But the step up to Premier League football will be a big one and Henderson must prove he has what it takes to be the future No.1 that the big wigs at Old Trafford hope he can be.
Lloyd Kelly (Bournemouth)
The £11 million Bournemouth splashed out on a player from the Championship is unlikely to be as risky as it might seem, as he’s already better than a lot of Premier League full-backs.
Kelly will improve Eddie Howe’s defence immediately and an England cap could well be on the way soon. He’s not quite there yet, but Gareth Southgate doesn’t have as many options on the left as he does on the right, and has shown loyalty to players who have come through the international age groups.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United)
Given his £50 million transfer fee and his new club’s ubiquity, Wan-Bissaka is about to become one of the most highly scrutinised youngsters in European football.
He’ll need to learn to cope with that kind of pressure quickly, as well as developing the attacking side of his game, but he has bags of ability. United are in need of a complete overhaul though, so his personal progress will depend on more than just his own qualities.
Harvey Barnes (Leicester)
There’s no shortage of Leicester players who could be added to this list, with the likes of Wilfried Ndidi, Ben Chilwell and Hamza Choudhury missing out despite all having a strong claims for inclusion.
But the 2019/20 campaign could be Barnes’s time to shine, with the Leicester academy product finally ready for a crack at a full top-flight season after featuring regularly in the second half of last term.
Max Aarons (Norwich)
The right-back’s energetic displays were a key part of the Canaries’ run to the Championship title last season, and earned the 19-year-old places in the PFA and EFL Teams of the Season – not to mention the EFL Young Player of the Year award.
Now he has the chance to show he can show off that ability in the top tier. The teenager can be forgiven if there are teething problems early on, but his ability on the ball and bombing runs forward could make him a standout performer for the newly-promoted side this season.
Sean Longstaff (Newcastle)
Longstaff’s name featured heavily in the gossip columns over the summer as Manchester United looked to pinch the talented midfielder from St. James’ Park.
It was one of the more surprising developments of the summer, given that the 21-year-old has a total of 10 Premier League appearances to his name and spent much of last term on the bench or the treatment table. It was, however, evidence of the qualities that could take him to the next level this season: work rate, intelligence, vision and an eye for goal.
James Maddison (Leicester)
Some eyebrows were raised at the £25 million fee Leicester were willing to fork out for Maddison last summer before he'd even played a minute of Premier League football, but the former Norwich playmaker quickly silenced any doubters.
The 22-year-old enjoyed an impressive debut season in the top flight, chipping in seven goals and seven assists, and his development could accelerate during Brendan Rodgers’ first full season in charge at the King Power.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
We don’t really need to justify this pick at all, because the right-back dispelled any doubts about his ability last season.
Alexander-Arnold has grown as an individual over the last year, improving defensively and making a big contribution to Jurgen Klopp’s game plan. If he stays fit, the right-back spot for club and country is his for the next 10 years.
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