Five Premier League Youngsters Aiming to Break Through this Season
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In terms of competitiveness and all-round entertainment, the Premier League is widely regarded as the place to watch football. In the same way that fans of cricket follow the IPL closely, England’s top competition is extremely popular and is home to world-class stars and young professionals who are hoping to achieve their dream of turning out for a top-flight giant. In fact, a number of youngsters are already making a splash this season.
For gifted young players, a chance in the Premier League doesn’t come around too often, particularly given the ruthless nature of the sport and the way in which managers can lose their jobs in an instant. It’s, therefore, common to see young players shifted out on loan to clubs lower down the football pyramid. Some talents later return after shining elsewhere and are eventually given a run in the side after a few months, while others go back to their parent clubs and are immediately in the manager’s plans. It doesn’t happen enough, though.
Already this season, we’ve seen some bright sparks force their way in at their respective clubs while other players are capturing the headlines after standing out in academy matches. With many budding professionals having to bide their time and wait for the opportunity they so desperately crave, it can be tough to shine when the chance does eventually come their way. Plenty of youngsters are certainly capable of having their breakthrough season in the campaign ahead, though. Let’s take a look at five gifted players who will be hoping to do exactly that this season.
Destiny Udogie – Tottenham
With fans selecting him in their fantasy football squads and some people backing his Tottenham side during some live betting escapades, Destiny Udogie appears to have an incredibly bright future in the game. With Ange Postecoglou’s impact at Spurs generally hogging the headlines, the young left-back has been able to go quietly about his business and put in a number of impressive displays for the North London club. The 20-year-old, who was signed from Udinese last summer, is clearly enjoying life under Postecoglou and looks set to become a trusted member of the Australian’s squad moving forward. Speaking during pre-season, Udogie said: “I like his idea of football. He wants to play with the ball. It’s not like I defend and counterattack. I want to have the ball.”
Facundo Buonanotte – Brighton
Aged just 18 and already making the odd appearance for Brighton, Facundo Buonanotte is at the perfect side to fine-tune his game and grow as a professional at free-flowing Brighton. After joining the club in January from Argentinian giants Rosario Central, one of the clubs from Lionel Messi’s hometown, Buonanotte probably didn’t expect to feature too much for Roberto De Zerbi’s side, but a string of impressive cameos has enabled him to stay firmly in the Italian’s plans this season. The attacking midfield player is far from the finished article, but his obvious potential means that we could see him playing more and more for the Seagulls this season.
Ian Maatsen – Chelsea
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Chelsea’s problems just won’t go away, but they could certainly be improved if Ian Maatsen is given more of a chance. A key player for Burnley last season as they walked the Championship, the 21-year-old is capable of shining in a number of positions, although he is predominately seen as a left-back given his impressive performances for the Clarets last campaign. A player who is desperate to make the grade at Chelsea and finally nail down a place in Mauricio Pochettino’s underachieving side, Ian Maatsen could break through this season. Eventually.
Matheus França – Crystal Palace
A summer signing for the Eagles, the big-money addition of Matheus França from Brazilian club Flamengo certainly softened the blow of losing Wilfried Zaha to Galatasaray for the Palace faithful. Costing a reported £26 million, the talented teenager could be given plenty of minutes as the season progresses, although he will have to adapt to life in England relatively fast and make the step up to the biggest league in the world fairly quickly. Life under Roy Hodgson will certainly be different to what he grew up on, but Matheus França has the ability to hit the ground running at Crystal Palace.
Ben Doak – Liverpool
Aged 17 but with a mature head on his shoulders, Liverpool fans are getting excited about Ben Doak. The Scottish junior who joined the club from Celtic in 2022 is expected to realise his potential under Jurgen Klopp’s guidance, although it’s unclear exactly when he’ll be given an opportunity to impress at Anfield. Given the Reds’ lack of bodies in midfield, Doak could certainly be called upon in the coming months. His preferred position is out wide as a winger, but Doak has the capabilities to play in any advanced area in the final third of the pitch. A potential star for the future, Ben Doak’s career is worth following.