Every Premier League season sees a crop of young players enjoy a break out year which makes the rest of the league sit up and take notice of their talent.
The 2012/13 season is still in its infancy and while Raheem Sterling is the name on everyone’s lips it remains to be seen which emerging talents will announce themselves to the Premier League.
Last season the likes of Kyle Walker, Phil Jones and Danny Welbeck not only displayed their obvious potential but confirmed that despite their tender years they are amongst the Premier League’s most competent performers.
Of course all three could fall into the category of youngsters who could shine this season. But, having already proved themselves we take a look at the young players with undoubted potential who are set to build on that this season.
- The 17-year-old winger has started three of Liverpool’s opening four league games and has arguably been their best performer. Sterling is frighteningly quick and combined with his trickery and willingness to commit defenders, he is a nightmare for full backs. Needs to develop physically but there is no doubt he is one of the country’s best young talents.
- A somewhat ironic inclusion as Hazard is perhaps already in the world class bracket. Still only 21 and in his first season at Chelsea, he is already THE young talent in the Premier League. Clearly full of confidence the winger’s flair and the bag of tricks at his disposal make him a great to watch. Hazard has enjoyed a fantastic start to his Chelsea career and proved he will create and score chances. Will be crucial to the Blues title chances.
- ‘The Ox’ impressed in his first season in the Premier League and again at for England at Euro 2012. The challenge now is for him to build on this, particularly as their will be greater expectations. But Arsene Wenger will have no worries about his young stars ability to cope with the pressure. Strong, quick, a tireless work rate, technically good and very direct, Oxlade-Chamberlain has it all. Wenger will not want to add to expectations but the 19-year-old will be an important player for the Gunners this season.
- This season is crucial for Tom Cleverly and he needs to impress. Much has been made of Manchester United’s perceived weakness in midfield and it is a great opportunity for the 23-year-old to impress. Currently not considered ‘the big name’ midfielder that many say United need, should he play well this season then that could all change. Lauded as the replacement for Paul Scholes, Cleverly has an impressive range of passing and the craft and guile to unlock defences. Injury halted his progress last season but he certainly has what it takes to get back on track this year.
- The highly rated Belgian struggled for first team opportunities following his big money to Chelsea last season. A season long loan at West Brom will be good for his development and he will get the chance to show so why he is held in such high regard. Like his hero Didier Drogba, Lukaku is the ideal striker. Only 19, he is physically imposing, powerful and as he proved as a 17-year-old for Anderlecht a clinical finisher.
- Last season’s loan spell at Swansea proved Caulker is a very competent Premier League centre back. Expectations will be greater this season and he will need to prove he can do it at a big club like Tottenham, where there is much competition for places. Caulker epitomises what it means to be a modern centre back. Tall, physically capable and technically good he has all the attributes to succeed. May not be first choice at Spurs but will see game time and is sure to impress.
- He may not be as high profile as some of the names on this list but Colback has the potential to develop into a fine Premier League midfielder. He features in 35 of Sunderland’s games last season and proved himself to be a reliable option in midfield. Perhaps not one to get the limelight, the 22-year-old is a cultured player. Calm in possession and intelligent with his use of the ball. Will be a regular in Martin O’Neill’s side and could be destined for bigger things if he impresses.
- Barkley will spend a month on loan in the Championship at Sheffield Wednesday. Regular football will be vital for his development but Everton fans should still expect to see him in a blue shirt this season. A fantastic prospect, he is quite similar to former academy graduate Wayne Rooney. That is to say, despite his age he is physically capable and unfazed by playing in the Premier League. Six appearances last season showed his obvious ability and with Everton not blessed with many options in central midfield he will get the chance to prove himself this season.
- Aged only 19, the Japanese winger has previously earned comparisons with Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo for his pace, skill and torment of defenders. Enjoyed a good loan spell at Bolton last season and proved he can cut it in the Premier League. Has yet to start for Wigan but will surely see regular football during his season long loan. Roberto Martinez’s style of play should be well suited to his game and he could be in for a promising season.
- Another one who is perhaps not as a highly regarded as some of the other inclusions. But Aston Villa’s squad features a number of youngsters of which Clark is one of the most promising. He is certain to get regular football this season and which will only aid his progress. Though competent in midfield, Clark is a natural and cultured centre back and has the ability to be one of Villa’s best performers this season.