2013-09-30

A look at the most impressive young stars of the Premier League.

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Ben Davies (Swansea City)



Swansea youngster Ben Davies has made great strides since being introduced into the first-team setup at the Liberty Stadium by Michael Laudrup last year, slotting in perfectly at left-back and aiding the club in their technical and attack-minded approach. Still only 20 years old, the young Welsh international has looked in particularly impressive form so far this season, as he netted his second goal of the campaign at the weekend with a fine individual effort against Arsenal.

The likes of Manchester City have been linked with Davies in recent months, and if he carries on playing like this it won't be long before more big clubs start to step up their interest in this outstanding prospect.

Luke Shaw (Southampton)



Already a well-established Premier League star, Luke Shaw is the latest exciting product of Southampton's famed youth academy, which has recently also produced stars such as Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Shaw's attack-minded displays at left-back have drawn comparisons with a young Bale, and the 18-year-old has already attracted big interest from the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham in recent months after a great breakthrough season last term.

Some rumours suggest Shaw is already worth over £20m to his club, and although prices for young English players are often rather inflated, that may not prove so much to pay for a player who looks set to star for club and country for the next decade or more.

Serge Gnabry (Arsenal)

Considered one of the brightest prospects coming through at Arsenal at the moment, we have all been treated to an early glimpse of German winger Serge Gnabry, who has been fast-tracked into the first-team following injuries to Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The 18-year-old has shown no signs of fear though, and has made a great start to life as a senior Arsenal player, putting in strong performances against Stoke and West Brom before firing a crucial goal in Arsenal's 2-1 win away at Swansea.

Gnabry looks like a player with a bit of everything, using his pace and dribbling to good effect in the wide areas, but also looking more than capable of drifting centrally to link play, or track back to help out his defence. Arsene Wenger will be delighted with the maturity he has shown after his sudden introduction to the starting lineup.

Gerard Deulofeu (Everton)

Although we haven't seen a lot of Gerard Deulofeu in the Premier League just yet, Everton have undoubtedly snapped up a star of the future on loan from Barcelona this season. The 19-year-old Spaniard has been a prolific player for Barcelona's youth teams, and is considered one of the best talents coming through at the club at the moment.

Still young and raw, he will be hoping for more first-team experience during his loan spell at Goodison Park, and he has already managed a goal in the Capital One Cup against Stevenage. It may still be a little early to see the best of Deulofeu, but he's certainly one to watch out for over the next few months, and perhaps one day lining up alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar in a Barcelona shirt.

Steven Caulker (Cardiff City)

After an outstanding loan spell with Swansea a couple of seasons ago, Steven Caulker now finds himself at their fierce rivals Cardiff City after somewhat surprisingly failing to establish himself as a starter for Tottenham. The 21-year-old looks a complete defender, solid and intelligent and able to provide the odd goal as a useful bonus. Caulker managed to find the back of the net in his side's impressive win at Fulham at the weekend, and also has one goal to his name in his single appearance for the England national team.

There is a lot more to come from Caulker for sure, who will no doubt be back at a top club one day if he continues to show such top potential.

Robbie Brady (Hull City)

A former Manchester United youth player, Robbie Brady has found his way back to the Premier League with Hull City, and looks to be fitting in perfectly after a great start to the season in front of goal. The 21-year-old Republic of Ireland international has already scored four goals in seven games in all competitions, and looks a tricky customer on the wing for Steve Bruce's newly-promoted side.

A set-piece specialist, Brady's trust left foot makes him a reliable player from free-kicks and penalties, and his composure and maturity make him look like a good player for Hull to have as they look to fight relegation this season.

Matija Nastasic (Manchester City)

Injuries have disrupted his start to this season, but Manchester City youngster Matija Nastasic looks a great prospect after a very assured first year with the club last season. The 20-year-old played 25 games in all competitions, forming a fine partnership with Vincent Kompany even if the season was ultimately one that ended in disappointment for the club. Still, they have missed him so far this season and his return can't come soon enough for new manager Manuel Pellegrini, with City's defence looking worrying vulnerable in the first few games of the new campaign.

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool)

Although Raheem Sterling is also sadly well known for some of his off-the-field problems, the 18-year-old winger is undoubtedly an exciting prospect for Liverpool, and already a key member of Brendan Rodgers' squad. With great pace, dribbling and trickery, Sterling has the raw ingredients to go on and become a very dangerous attacking player, and he already looks to have impressed England manager Roy Hodgson, who handed him his first cap against Sweden last year.

With a bit of fine-tuning, Sterling can definitely adapt his game and fit in alongside many of the other highly talented attacking players on show at Anfield.

Jonjo Shelvey (Swansea City)

After never quite managing to claim a regular starting place for Liverpool, Jonjo Shelvey made the move to Swansea City this summer and has already had an eventful time with the Welsh club. Although it already feels like Shelvey has been around for a while, he is still only 21 and continues to show plenty of promise, and there's no questioning that he is a player who is guaranteed to make something happen on the pitch.

Shelvey recently scored his first goal for the Swans with a well-taken effort against his old club Liverpool, before then making two mistakes which led to the Reds going 2-1 in front. His clever nod into the path of Michu then set up an equaliser, in what was one of the most bizarre and exciting individual performances to date in the Premier League. If Shelvey learns to cut out the mistakes, there's no reason the young Englishman can't go on to become a top midfielder, and add plenty more to his solitary cap for the national team.

Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United)

A player who looks like he is just starting to establish himself as a regular part of the Manchester United team is Belgian wonderkid Adnan Januzaj. The 18-year-old is one of United's most highly rated youngsters at the moment and has looked a dangerous and threatening attacker every time he's been introduced into the fold by David Moyes.

With pace, skill and vision to burn, Januzaj could be the answer to so many of United's current problems in midfield, though they will have to be careful he isn't snapped up by someone else, as rumour has it that fierce rivals Manchester City are keen to convince him to swap Old Trafford for the Etihad Stadium as he continues to stall on signing a new contract with the Premier League champions. United would certainly do well to hold on to this exciting young talent, and learn a lesson from how they missed out on Paul Pogba, who is now a star player at Juventus having never really been given a chance at United.

Nathan Redmond (Norwich City)

Nathan Redmond has made a highly promising start to life in the Premier League with Norwich City after signing from Birmingham this summer. The 19-year-old already has his first goal for the club, a fine effort to win the game against Southampton, and looks like he can go from strength to strength in the top flight having already impressed as one of the best young players in the Championship over the last couple of seasons.

Redmond is a versatile attacker, able to play on either wing to good effect, particularly adept at cutting in onto his favoured right foot from the left flank, and is a regular for England's Under-21 side. Several Premier League sides were keen on him this summer before Norwich did well to snap him up for just £2m.

Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)

Already an established name for club and country, it's easy to forget that Arsenal and England star Jack Wilshere is still only 21. Injuries have hindered his progress somewhat, but Wilshere recovered very well from a year out of action last season to continue his remarkable rise as a key player for the Gunners. Blessed with great touch, technique and vision, Wilshere is somewhat of a rarity among English players in the silky way he plays the game, though his drive and aggression are also a valuable asset of his and make him a player always guaranteed to give you 110%.

Now playing alongside some big names in Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil, Wilshere doesn't look out of place among the best attacking midfielders in the world, and their presence at Arsenal will surely help him to develop his game even further.

Phil Jones (Manchester United)

Another player who has been around for a while despite his youth, Phil Jones remains a key player for Manchester United. The 21-year-old looked an instant hit when he joined the club from Blackburn in 2011, and although injuries disrupted his second campaign with the club, he looks to have established himself as first choice at right-back for United under David Moyes this season. Still, Jones remains a player learning the game and learning his best position, as the versatile England international can also operate at centre-back or central midfield to good effect. When he truly matures and finds his best role, there's no doubt Jones will be a key player for club and country for many years to come.

Saido Berahino (West Brom)

A new kid on the block this season, Saido Berahino announced himself to the world this weekend with a superbly-taken winning goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford. The 20-year-old showed great ability and composure to slam home a low shot past David de Gea to seal an historical result for the Baggies and ensure that he will be on the radar of many top clubs from now on.

With five goals in six games in all competitions in total, Berhino is surely going to earn himself a Premier League start before long, as he continues to feel his way into life in the West Brom first-team. Still, with his prolific record for England at youth level, Steve Clarke will know he has a top talent on his hands here, and this exciting young striker is already showing signs that he could be an unexpected star of this season.

Ravel Morrison (West Ham)

Like Paul Pogba, Ravel Morrison is one that got away for Manchester United, as he finally looks to have put his off-the-pitch disciplinary problems behind him to show the kind of talent that saw him earn rave reviews for United in his days in their youth team.

The skillful attacking midfielder was sent out on loan by West Ham to Birmingham last season, and it looks like the Hammers have dealt with his progress well as he looks like repaying the faith shown in him by Sam Allardyce with his displays this season. With three goals in six games already this season, Morrison has been one of the club's best players, and questions have been raised over whether United could look to bring this prodigal talent back to Old Trafford in the near future.

Erik Lamela (Tottenham)

Things haven't quite got going yet for Tottenham's record signing Erik Lamela, but the £30m man is definitely up there with the most exciting young players in the world after starring for Roma in Serie A last season. The skillful Argentine attacker managed 15 goals and 6 assists for the club before attracting a great deal of attention this summer.

While Lamela continues to find his feet in English football, he is still one well worth watching out for this season, as he certainly has the natural ability to make sure Gareth Bale isn't too badly missed at White Hart Lane. One of many exciting signings made by Andre Villas-Boas this summer, Lamela can play either out wide, or behind the main striker, with a wide range in abilities in crossing, passing, dribbling and shooting.

Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)

One player who has made an explosive start to life at Tottenham is their other main exciting signing of the summer Christian Eriksen. Another 21-year-old, Eriksen has been around for a long time after breaking through at former club Ajax as a teenager. The Danish starlet plays with a maturity well beyond his years, and is already off the mark for the north London club with a good goal in the Europa League.

Eriksen is mostly lauded for his creativity and vision though, and will ensure the club finally have an ideal replacement for Luka Modric after the Croatian midfielder left the club for Real Madrid last summer. For only £11m, Spurs have done brilliantly to land one of the most highly-rated young players in the world, who had attracted interest from the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Juventus before moving to Tottenham this summer.

Ross Barkley (Everton)

Compared by his manager Roberto Martinez with a young Michael Ballack, it has been a fantastic start to the season for Everton starlet Ross Barkley. The 19-year-old's fine displays in the Premier League have seen him earn his first England call-up, and he is now thought to be attracting serious attention from the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea. Valued by his club at around £20m, there is no doubt that whoever eventually signs Barkley will be getting potentially one of the finest English midfielders for the next decade or so.

With great technique and work-rate, Barkley is an all-round complete midfielder, and it may still take some time to work out his very best role, but at the moment he is developing well at Everton under Martinez.

Coutinho (Liverpool)

A real gem in Liverpool's crown, Coutinho is already one of the club's most important players after joining the club from Inter Milan last January. The 20-year-old Brazilian is a joy to watch and a highly promising playmaker, who fits into Brendan Rodgers' footballing philosophy perfectly.

Sadly out injured at the moment, it is already clear that Liverpool are missing his quality, and he will be hoping to enjoy a good run of fitness and form when he returns as he aims to break into Brazil's squad for next summer's World Cup in his home country. Even if he doesn't make it this year, he is sure to be star for club and country for many years to come with the outstanding potential he has shown so far in his short career.

Romelu Lukaku (Everton)

Although the Premier League boasts some truly world class talent these days, Romelu Lukaku is perhaps the best of the lot, as the strong, fast and powerful striker showed absolutely deadly form in front of goal in his loan spell with West Brom last season. Now on loan at Everton, many are surprised he wasn't given the chance to become first choice for Chelsea this season, as he looks far better than their current, more senior options upfront.

Comparisons with Blues legend Didier Drogba are obvious, but Lukaku arguably looks like he could become even better, as he has certainly progressed better at a younger age than his Ivorian counterpart. One of many talented young Belgians at the moment, the 20-year-old is already off the mark for Everton and looks set to be among the top scorers in the Premier League again this season. A superb signing by Everton in the closing hours of transfer deadline day.

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