Friday, August 11, 2017

Five youngsters to watch in EPL

With the Premier League season getting underway on Friday, AFP Sport takes a closer look at five youngsters set to emerge as breakthrough stars this term :

GABRIEL JESUS ( Manchester City)
Despite an injury- hit debut season with City following his January move from Palmeiras, Jesus still scored seven times and produced four assists in his 10 Premier League games .

That impressive burst of productivity convinced City manager Pep Guardiola to select the Brazil forward at the expense of Eastlands icon Sergio Aguero at times .

The 20 - year - old is now recovered from his metatarsal injury and City followers are wondering whether Guardiola can find room for both Jesus and Aguero in his starting line -up.

Hailed as the Brazilian prodigy most likely to hit the heights reached by his compatriot Neymar , the driven Jesus says : “ I’ m always training, playing or even playing video games , something connected with football. I ’ve seen that Pep Guardiola lives football 24 hours a day. ”

TAMMY ABRAHAM ( Swansea City)
Having signed a new five - year contract at Chelsea, the England Under - 21 international striker has headed out on loan to Swansea to gain Premier League experience .

The 20 - year- old looks ready for the challenge after scoring 26 goals while on loan at Championship side Bristol City last season .

Swansea boss Paul Clement beat off several other top - flight sides to land Abraham and he expects the move to pay rich dividends as the youngster aims to prove he has a long - term future at Chelsea.

“He’s a goalscorer and that ’s why I worked hard to get him here . I believe he can do well in the Premier League, ” Clement said.

Signed for £ 11 million from Charlton Athletic just eight months ago, the 19 - year - old winger quickly caught the eye at Everton with some scintillating displays in his eight league appearances last season.

Lookman scored on his debut against Manchester City with a cool finish that belied his tender age and Everton manager Ronald Koeman believes the Londoner can make a difference for his team this year .

Representing England at the Under - 20 World Cup in the close - season was another sign of Lookman ’s emergence as a potential game -changer .

“It was an amazing feeling to score against Manchester City . I can ’t really describe it. But I need to kick on from that . I want to have 100 more moments like that in my career ,” Lookman said.

The 18 - year - old right - back made his Liverpool debut last October and showed such maturity that seasoned Anfield observers believe he could unseat first - choice Nathaniel Clyne sooner rather than later .

Alexander - Arnold showed he wouldn ’ t be overawed by his step up when he flattened Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery during a recent pre - season friendly .

And with Clyne set to miss the start of the season through injury, boyhood Liverpool fan Alexander - Arnold has an opportunity to underline his development to Reds boss Jurgen Klopp.

“You just hope for the opportunity . If I do get told I am playing against Watford (on Saturday) I will look to take that chance ,” Alexander - Arnold said.

DEMARAI GRAY ( Leicester City)
After a slow start at Leicester following his move from Birmingham City halfway through the 2015 - 16 season, Gray is beginning to make his presence felt at the King Power Stadium.

Gray made only nine Premier League starts last season, sparking talk of a move to Tottenham Hotspur as he pined for regular first - team action .
But , with Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez keen to leave Leicester, there could be an opening for the 21 - year- old in Craig Shakespeare ’s team in the near future .

“Hopefully he can get more game time . He’s a player of huge potential who is rated very highly here among the coaching staff and his own players ,” Shakespeare said after Gray impressed for England at the European Under - 21 Championships this summer.


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