Friday, August 7, 2020

The English starlets who are stealing the Premier League show

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, English Premier League 5 Jul 2020

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While the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Sadio Mane and Jordan Henderson still find themselves leading the race for this year’s PFA Player of the Year award, it has been the Premier League’s brightest starlets who have stolen the show since the return to action last month.

Still with it all to play for in the race to secure Champions League football for next year and the FA Cup still up for grabs, it appears that the next generation still have a huge part to play at the end of the season.

With the European Championships delayed until next summer and another 12 months for England’s most promising talents to progress, Gareth Southgate has three youngsters really making a claim for a senior call-up.

Phil Foden – Manchester City

Although Manchester City might have seen Liverpool snatch their Premier League crown this season, the Sky Blues will already be planning a title reclaim and they have one 20-year-old who could play a critical role.

While Pep Guardiola’s handling of Phil Foden might have raised a string of questions over the past 18 months, the England youth team star has only seen his reputation skyrocket since returning from football’s enforced break.

Once again finding the net in City’s 4-0 romp against the newly-crowned on Thursday night, the Stockport-born star has recorded three strikes since returning to action and has now racked up 30 appearances under the former Bayern Munich boss this season.

Despite many feeling that the life long City fan would be best developing his powers on a season-long loan stint away from Manchester, he now appears to be the new face of Guardiola’s next chapter at the Etihad.

Back in July of last year, Guardiola labelled Foden as “the most talented player” he has ever seen. Not a bad statement for a coach who so famously spent four years working with six-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi.

With David Silva’s top-flight tenure drawing to an end this summer and Guardiola making it clear City have no need to invest in a new play-maker due to Foden’s emergence, the Sky Blues have arguably Europe’s brightest starlet waiting as their heir to the throne.

Mason Greenwood – Manchester United

Although the blue half of Manchester might have one academy graduate gaining a string of plaudits, the Old Trafford faithful have their own starlet continuing to set-alight the Premier League.

Claiming yet another Man of the Match award after a stunning individual display against Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon, Mason Greenwood bagged a spectacular brace over the weekend and is seen to be Manchester United‘s latest budding superstar.

Following in the steps of Marcus Rashford and really bursting onto the scene in his debut Premier League campaign, the 18-year-old has growing comparisons to Robin van Persie and has continued breaking records at Old Trafford this year.

Putting himself on a star-studded list, Greenwood has now scored eight top-flight goals for United in 2019-20; among players aged 18 and younger, only Michael Owen (twice), Robbie Fowler and Wayne Rooney have scored more in a Premier League season.

Almost becoming undroppable on the right-hand side of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s attacking trio, the Norweigan tactician branded Greenwood as a “specialist goalscorer” after his clinical display on Saturday.

Seen to be one of the hottest attacking commodities on the continent, some around Old Trafford believe that they have no need to bring in transfer target Jadon Sancho this summer with Greenwood seen to be as a real generational talent.

Bukayo Saka – Arsenal

While some Arsenal fans might remember Bukayo Saka making his first senior appearance for the Gunners in a Europa League contest against Ukrainian outfit Vorskla Poltava back in November 2018, the 18-year-old has cemented his spot as the Premier League’s hidden gem this season.

Completely bursting onto the scene this year and only going from strength to strength since Mikel Arteta made his North London return over the festive period, the starlet has made 34 appearances across all competitions, including 22 top-flight caps.

Bagging his first Premier League strike in a 2-0 win against fellow European chasers Wolves on Saturday and picking up Arsenal’s Player of the Month award for February, the Gunners couldn’t be more thrilled to see that Saka has put pen to paper on a new long term deal with the former champions.

Seen to be the real future of Arteta’s new wave at Arsenal, the talented youngster has signed a new four-year-deal in North London, fending off interest from Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool.

Showing his versatility across the pitch, Saka’s strike at Molineux over the weekend saw him become the second youngest English player to score in the Premier League for the Gunners, after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in 2012.

Quickly becoming Arteta’s Mr. Reliable and a firm fan favourite at the Emirates, many believe that Saka has played his way onto Gareth Southgate’s shortlist for a spot at next year’s European Championships, despite not making an appearance for the Three Lions’ U21’s.


Tom Dunstan

Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan



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