Premier League: 20 players ready to make a breakthrough next season

Premier League: 20 players ready to make a breakthrough next season

Arsenal: Reiss Nelson

The 17-year-old was trending on Twitter last Thursday morning during his first appearance for Arsène Wenger’s first team – against Sydney FC – and it was because his pace, power and trickery are always going to be popular. The attacking midfielder played in an unfamiliar right wing-back role but there were no nerves, only a determination to show what he could do. Will Wenger give him his professional debut this season? According to the manager, Nelson is “very, very close”. David Hytner

Bournemouth: Connor Mahoney

The club has a habit of developing rough gems and Mahoney, a summer signing from Blackburn Rovers, could be the next relatively unknown quantity to showcase his talents at the highest level. Eddie Howe has been integral to the upward trajectory of the careers of Harry Arter, Steve Cook and Ryan Fraser, among others, and the 20-year-old winger arrives with exciting potential. Mahoney, an England youth international, was a team-mate of last season’s top scorer for Bournemouth, Joshua King, when he was at Rovers. Meanwhile, there are high hopes for the 19-year-old midfielder Matthew Worthington, who finished the season by making his Premier League debut at Leicester City. Ben Fisher

Brighton & Hove Albion: Solly March

The midfielder scored the goal that effectively secured promotion towards the end of last season, reward for the patience he had shown over an 11-month recovery from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament. The former Lewes youth-team winger progressed initially in Brighton’s academy and, having made his senior debut in 2014, has started 35 league games. The injury served to check eye-catching progress but the England Under-21 international will be eager to make a mark at the higher level. Quick and inventive, he will also put in a shift for a team who may find themselves defending for prolonged periods. The potential is there for him to thrive. Dominic Fifield

Burnley: Chris Long

Long joined Burnley from Everton’s academy in 2015 and has made 10 appearances in the Championship but has yet to make his Premier League debut because of spending last season on loan at Fleetwood then Bolton. A 22-year-old striker, Long has scored goals wherever he has played, including Brentford, Milton Keynes Dons and several England youth teams, though has rarely been awarded enough games to make a real impact. That is unlikely to change massively this season, though he is in Ireland with the Burnley first-team training camp, has been given a squad number rather than directions to a new club and must he hopeful of at least breaking his Premier League duck. Paul Wilson

Chelsea: Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Loftus-Cheek’s career with Chelsea amounts to six Premier League starts, none of which was secured in last season’s championship success. Yet he remains a player of considerable potential, an impressive performer for England Under-21s and an attack-minded midfielder ready to step up his workload at the higher level. Crystal Palace do not have a great track record when it comes to Chelsea loanees but the 21-year-old will have opportunities under Frank de Boer over his season-long switch. He has the tools to impress but needs to find the right position in which to thrive, whether as a box-to-box worker or a creative No10, and justify the reputation he has gained as a player capable of breaking into the full England set-up. DF

Crystal Palace: Luke Dreher

The talented midfielder had impressed Alan Pardew sufficiently to earn a place on the bench in a Premier League match at Manchester United in April 2016 and might have gained greater opportunities last term had his progress not been badly interrupted by calf and hip injuries. That restricted the former Whitgift school pupil to 15 appearances for Richard Shaw’s under-23s but, while he may not gain first-team game time at Palace, he could well have a chance to prove his credentials on loan at a Football League club. A talented passer and midfield creator, the 18-year-old boasts an eye for goal and appears the most promising player in his age group at the club. DF

Everton: Jonjoe Kenny

The current absence of a squad number plus the arrival of Cuco Martina on a free transfer do not bode well for the 20-year-old at Everton but there is no question he has the ability and opportunity to push himself into Ronald Koeman’s plans this season. The right-back was an influential and impressive figure throughout England’s triumphant Under-20 World Cup campaign and, with Séamus Coleman recovering from a double leg fracture, the academy graduate merits the chance to rival Mason Holgate and Martina for a regular role. Andy Hunter

Huddersfield Town: Kasey Palmer

The 20-year-old is back at Huddersfield for a second successive season on loan from Chelsea, having impressed David Wagner with his performances last term before a serious hamstring injury ended his campaign in February. After scoring within 90 seconds of his Huddersfield debut last season, Palmer showed the talent that made him a star of Chelsea’s youth teams, offering dynamism, flair and a goal threat from an advanced central midfield role. Now fit again, he could flourish this season. Paul Doyle

Leicester City: Harvey Barnes

Aged 19, Barnes is viewed as Leicester’s brightest prospect. He has football in his blood – Paul, his father, played for Birmingham, Burnley and Huddersfield – and there will be no shortage of Football League clubs keen to take the teenager on loan. Barnes has yet to make his Leicester debut but the attacking midfielder was among the substitutes for the Champions League tie in Porto and enjoyed an excellent 2016-17 season, winning the MK Dons’ young player of the year award after a superb loan spell. Barnes has also made an impression at international level, finishing as top scorer in last month’s Toulon tournament, which England won on penalties, and earned praise from Craig Shakespeare, Leicester’s manager, who said that he sees “a real hunger and desire” in the youngster to succeed at the club. Stuart James

Liverpool: Rhian Brewster

The 17-year-old went close to becoming the first player born in the 21st century to appear for Liverpool’s first team when named as a substitute against Crystal Palace last season. The striker did not get on during the 2-1 defeat but his selection reflected a rapid development with the under-23s side and Jürgen Klopp’s thoughts on the teenager signed from Chelsea. A foot injury, requiring an eight-week lay-off, has derailed Brewster’s hopes of a full pre-season with Klopp’s squad but he will aim to secure a slice of history upon his return. AH

Manchester City: Jadon Sancho

The 17-year-old forward has been named by Khaldoon al-Mubarak, City’s chairman, as a youngster who will be promoted to Pep Guardiola’s squad and he is considered the brightest prospect at the club. He was named Golden Player at the European Under-17 Championship, scoring or creating a goal in each of the six games as England reached the final. Previous winners of the accolade include Wayne Rooney, Mario Götze, and Toni Kroos. There is reported interest from other Premier League clubs but it seems highly unlikely City will allow Sancho to depart. Jamie Jackson

Manchester United: Axel Tuanzebe

Primarily a defender, Tuanzebe also turned in an impressive midfield display against Crystal Palace in the fourth of his senior league appearances last year. Following United’s 2-0 defeat by Arsenal on 7 May, the United manager, José Mourinho praised how he had shackled Alexis Sanchez. “The kid did an amazing job. I think Alexis now knows his name. The kid played very well,” said the Portuguese. Although Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who is also 19, has played more times for United Tuanzebe may be the one to make the serious breakthrough next term. JJ

Newcastle United: Freddie Woodman

Gareth Southgate’s godson shone in this summer’s Under-20 World Cup in South Korea, with his penalty save helping England to a 1-0 win in the final against Venezuela. Named goalkeeper of the tournament, the 20-year-old’s attitude and professionalism have impressed Rafael Benítez, who will almost certainly loan Woodman – who has been borrowed by Hartlepool, Crawley and Kilmarnock – to a Championship side this season. That should help him add to his one under-21 cap before a return to Tyneside as Newcastle’s potential first choice in 2018-19. Louise Taylor

Southampton: Sam Gallagher

The striker has already burst on to the scene once – in 2013-14 under Mauricio Pochettino – before a difficult couple of years, typified by a goalless loan stint at MK Dons. But after a fruitful loan at Blackburn Rovers last season, the 21-year-old seems ready to return to the first-team fold with a bounce. Gallagher signed a new four-year contract this month and will hope to impress Mauricio Pellegrino as he wrestles with Manolo Gabbiadini, Charlie Austin and Shane Long for game time. Elsewhere, the England Under-20s midfielder Callum Slattery, who joined from Chelsea aged eight, has been training with the first team. BF

Stoke City: Ramadan Sobhi

Stoke run more of an old folks’ home than a creche – Peter Crouch, Charlie Adam and Stephen Ireland are all still around – so respect is due to Sobhi for last season becoming the first teenager to start a game for the Potters in nine seasons. Now 20, and with a handful of Premier League starts behind him, the Egyptian winger is well on his way to establishing himself as a fans’ favourite and could feature much more prominently this season if Marko Arnautovic gets the move he desires. Many believe Sobhi can more than fill the gap; in fact Stoke’s only worry may be the number of bigger clubs already tracking his progress. Not only English teams either. They don’t call him Ramadona for nothing. PW

Swansea City: Oli McBurnie

The first thing to flag up is that McBurnie has five Premier League appearances to his name. At times last season the 21-year-old was getting picked ahead of Borja Bastón, Swansea’s £15m club-record signing, and he has wasted no time in developing a rapport with the supporters. A tall, lean striker who plays with his socks rolled down to his ankles, McBurnie has some impressive statistics to go with his distinctive look. He scored 23 times in all competitions last season and was the driving force behind the club’s successful under-23 team. The challenge is to take that goalscoring form into the Football League, assuming that Paul Clement believes a loan spell would be more beneficial to McBurnie than spending another season on the fringe of the Swansea squad while turning out for the under-23s.

Tottenham Hotspur: Marcus Edwards

The 18-year-old attacking midfielder made his Tottenham debut last season, as a substitute against Gillingham in the EFL Cup, and there can be no doubting the wow factor that has built around him, which is down, in large part, to his ability to trick past opponents – hence, the ‘Mini Messi’ nickname. Injury held him up last season but Mauricio Pochettino is a big fan and he wants to work with him more closely. Edwards has conjured a few moments of magic for the England Under-19s at the European Championship. DH

Watford: Steven Berghuis

Quiqué Sánchez Flores did not give Berghuis much of a chance to make an impression in his one season as Watford’s manager, restricting him to nine substitute appearances because “he needed to suffer at the training ground”. There were, however, occasional glimpses of the winger’s abilities, particularly a wonderful dipping cross to create a goal for Troy Deeney against Aston Villa in April 2016. He returned to the Netherlands last season, winning the league on loan at Feyenoord. The Dutch club want him back and say the desire is reciprocal but the 25-year-old could shine if Marco Silva convinces him to stay. Simon Burnton

West Bromwich Albion: Sam Field

Field made four Premier League starts, two at each end of the season, for West Brom in 2016-17 and his development is expected to step up a gear. Tony Pulis says that technically the 19-year-old is “as gifted as any footballer I’ve seen at that age”; he is certainly an astute distributor of the ball and his manager has had the chance to see plenty of him this pre-season after pulling him out of England’s Under-19 squad for the European Championship. Regular first-team football, even if on loan in the Championship, is a logical next step and Field has genuine hope of a long-term future at a club he has represented since the age of seven. Nick Ames

West Ham United: Declan Rice

Josh Cullen excelled during a loan spell with League One’s Bradford City last season and the promising 21-year-old midfielder looks likely to be sent out to gain more experience in the Championship. Reece Oxford, meanwhile, has joined Borussia Mönchengladbach on loan, so Rice could be the youngster to make a breakthrough this year. The 18-year-old Irish centre-back made his Premier League debut as a substitute on the final day of last season before receiving his first international call-up in the summer. Jacob Steinberg

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