→ Which young player–and by young we mean much younger than James Milner–will have a breakout year?
Shaun, TSG: The obvious ones who will have a major impact on their teams and the league will be Chicharito (United) and Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea). Both players inject pace into an older frontline. They’re skilled, fast and determined and will be determining factors for their teams.
The not so obvious ones are Victor Moses for Wigan Athletic and Dani Pacheco for Liverpool. Moses came from Crystal Palace in last years January transfer window after having a great spell of scoring 5 goals in 8 games. He didn’t get too much playing time but he did end the year with a goal and an assist. This year look for him to get a good run out out wide and giving plenty of service to Rodallega. If Wigan are to survive the drop it will be mainly due to the play of Moses.
Though not so young, also look for Stuart Holden to have a breakout year at Bolton. They need him and he will get the playing time! Lets hope he can make that spot his!
• Jay Bell: Jack Rodwell. He was getting better each and every game last year with Everton. Unfortunately for him, they have a ton of depth in the middle of the field, but when he gets his opportunities he’ll take advantage of them.
• Eric, Followtonians: I would look for Jack Rodwell to have a break out year. He is 19 and already captaining the England U21 squad. Should have been called in to play Hungry. He has pace and seems to find the back of the net in important moments.
• GeorgeCross: With the pressure on EPL managers to deliver now and not down the line, I do feel that it’s going to be hard for youngsters to break into the Contenders’ team unless it’s a substitute appearance when the game is safe or against ‘lesser’ opponents.
However, I feel that Joe Hart (City), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Jack Rodwell (Everton), Lee Cattermole (Sunderland) and Fabrice Muamba (Bolton) will be regular starters for their teams and will start to fullfil their potential and really aquit themselves well. But the two players I am going to go with are Hart and Walcott.
Hart and a great season on loan last year, and he will convince two Italian’s to be Manchester City’s and England’s No. 1. Not bad for a player who cost GBP1.5M. I have always said that Walcott has been unfairly criticised, but now there cannot be any excuses – he’s fully fit, has had a rest, and had a proper pre-season. Time to deliver son.
The reason why I haven’t included Jack Wilshere, Kieron Gibbs, Mario Balotelli, Chris Smalling, Federico Macheda, Victor Moses, Marc Albrighton, Carlos Vela and Phil Jones amongst others is that they won’t feature enough, unless there’s an injury to the first teamer who’s ahead in the pecking order. Disclaimer: Unless the go out on loan to get playing time.
Matthew, TSG: I wish…heck…first choice for me is Nani. I know, big star, big location. However, after a row with Sir Alex last year, a committed and rested Nani might be the Ronaldo Jr. everyone expected when he was signed. This is the year of Nani.
On Monday I mentioned Steven N’Zonzi who is now locked in for five years at Blackburn. My two cents? Manchester City could have acquired N’Zonzi instead of Yaya Toure and fans would have said, “My Yaya has improved since his days at Barca.”
I don’t believe in Sturridge yet or certainly Carlos Vela. My real big sleeper–that I’ll claim if he truly impresses–Stoke City hometown boy Louis Moult. He’s a mature 18-years-old who might start in the reserves, but midseason should make the senior side.