Premier League

Seven teenagers set for a breakout Premier League season

 • by Tom Bodell
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“Remember the name, Wayne Rooney!” Clive Tyldesley exclaimed, instantly coining one of the most iconic pieces of commentary in Premier League history.

Rooney went on to achieve bonafide legend status in England’s top flight, becoming Manchester United‘s all-time top scorer before returning to Everton for a criminally underrated second stint at his boyhood club, 15 years after that moment of magic against Arsenal.

Already we’re counting down the days until the Premier League returns on August 9. Pre-season is well underway, new signings are bedding in and youngsters are getting their chance to impress.

But could any grab 2019/20 by the scruff of the neck and stamp their mark all over it? We’re no strangers to making fools of ourselves by way of prediction so here are seven teenage stars we expect to boss the Premier League this season…

Mason GreenwoodManchester United

Mason Greenwood celebrates scoring or Manchester United against Leeds United

Pre-season is the time to stake your claim and Greenwood, 17, has done just that. Deputising for Romelu Lukaku, the Bradford native scored in the 4-0 win over Leeds United down under and coach Ole Gunnar Solskjær admitted afterwards Greenwood was in his thoughts to start the season against Chelsea.

“He’s got a chance to start that one [against Chelsea] definitely,” Solskjær said. “He’s capable, more than capable. He’ll always be there in and around the box creating chances.

“I won’t say that that’s not a possibility. It’s a good possibility if he keeps going as he does. It’s difficult to keep players out if they keep playing well.”

Already United’s second-youngest debutant, Greenwood was the club’s Young Player of the Year last season after netting 30 goals in 29 appearances for their various youth sides.

Likened to former Red Devil Robin van Persie, Greenwood is quick, can use both feet, plays in every attacking spot and takes set-pieces.

Reiss NelsonArsenal

Arsenal winger Reiss Nelson's 2018/19 Bundesliga stats while on loan at Hoffenheim

Another player who has really made the most of his opportunities this pre-season is Arsenal attacker Nelson. So much so that Gunners boss Unai Emery is having to contemplate whether to send the 19-year-old out on loan again or not.

The speedy winger was a hit in the Bundesliga with Hoffenheim last season, scoring seven times at an incredible rate of one per 90 minutes – a figure enhanced by the fact Nelson only 628 minutes, proving an effective option off the bench.

Hertha Berlin now want the England Under-21 international on loan for the upcoming campaign but, after impressing in International Champions Cup wins over Bayern Munich and Fiorentina, Emery has yet to decide if he will allow the Londoner to move out on loan once more.

If a deal for Wilfried Zaha proves beyond the Gunners’ reach, Nelson could be a ready-made alternative.

Rhian BrewsterLiverpool

Liverpool forward Rhian Brewster in pre-season action against Tranmere Rovers

One of the stars of England’s Under-17 World Cup triumph in 2017, winning the Golden Boot for his eight goals and Bronze Ball for his performances, the next two years have been tough for Brewster who moved to Anfield from Chelsea in 2015.

Having slowly worked his way into Jürgen Klopp’s thoughts in the first half of the campaign, Brewster’s season was curtailed in January 2018 when he had to receive oxygen prior to being stretchered off against Manchester City‘s under-23 side. He suffered a high ankle sprain and ligament damage and had to undergo two lots of surgery to get the all-clear.

Fresh from signing a new five-year deal last summer, the 18-year-old was an unused substitute in the Champions Leagye semi-final win over Barcelona and final victory against Tottenham Hotspur, an indicator of how highly Klopp rates him.

With Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané all playing for their countries through the summer this season is his big chance.

Domingos QuinaWatford

The Portuguese youngster was a late arrival at Vicarage Road last summer, pitching up in the car park at the club’s training ground to offer his services to the Hornets after being told to find a new club by West Ham United.

One suspects the Hammers might live to regret that decision. Quina showed a tantalising glimpse of what he was all about in 344 minutes of Premier League action last term before injury cruelly ended his season early after a string of fine displays between December and February.

Surprisingly strong despite his diminutive stature, Quina can play as a deeper-lying playmaker or further forward as a No.10. A tricky dribbler with an eye for the spectacular, his first Premier League goal was one to a remember – a bending first-team effort from the edge of the box against Cardiff City.

Morgan Gibbs-WhiteWolverhampton Wanderers

Amid the plethora of Portuguese talents on show at Molineux last season, homegrown youngster Gibbs-White – raised locally in Stafford – caught the limelight with a string of impressive cameos for Nuno Espírito Santo’s surprise package.

Limited to five Premier League starts, as well as a further 21 substitute outings, the 18-year-old is hoping for greater involvement in 2019/20. “We’ve only got a small squad so there will be opportunities to start and come off the bench, not just for myself,” Gibbs-White told the Daily Mail. “I’m looking to start in those games and push even more than I pushed last season.”

Another member of England’s triumphant Under-17 World Cup side of two summers ago, Gibbs-White is already going the right way about breaking into Wolves’ side, netting in their Premier League Asia Trophy thrashing of Newcastle United.

Callum Hudson-OdoiChelsea

Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi's stats for the 2018/19 Premier League season

If Frank Lampard achieves nothing else during his Chelsea reign, he will at least have been the man who got Hudson-Odoi to put pen-to-paper on a new deal at Stamford Bridge after months of uncertainty and links with Bayern Munich.

Used sparingly at best by Lampard’s predecessor, Maurizio Sarri, it looked at one stage as though the Blues would lose the electric winger with Bayern making several bids – the most recent at the end of June. But the England international has agreed to sign up for another five years with the Blues on a reported £100,000 per week.

Pacey and direct, Hudson-Odoi showed enough in 391 minutes of Premier League action last term to suggest he could be the man to finally end the Blues’ miserable record of promoting academy graduates into their first team.

Oliver SkippTottenham Hotspur

Oliver Skipp of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the International Champions Cup match between Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur

One man who will be keeping a closer eye on Tottenham’s reported interest in Giovani Lo Celso is Spurs youngster Skipp. The 18-year-old was one of the success stories of the North Londoners’ International Champions Cup triumph last summer and made ten appearances in all competitions last term.

A cool, calm and composed midfielder with a maturity which belies his 18 years, Skipp can count Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino among his fans.

Speaking after his Premier League debut, the Argentine said: “Fantastic, fantastic, I think he played like a 30-year-old man. So relaxed, trying to play forward and trying to give the team what the team needs, plenty of energy, full energy, I am so proud of him.”

This season Skipp will hope for further involvement, even after the club-record signing of Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon. In fact, some Spurs supporters are already calling for the teenager to leapfrog Victor Wanyama in Pochettino’s plans.

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