Young English breakthrough stars
Every year hundreds of academy players get released from the club they have been at for years. Those who do get the contract they have been working for, are often then the subject of a number of loan moves without ever getting close to the first team of their parent club. We often forget just how hard it is for young English players these days. The riches of the premier league ensure that clubs would rather invest in players than invest in time, and let their home-grown players thrive. Every season although, there are exceptions. Injuries can lead to opportunities, and cup competitions can offer a platform for young Englishmen to launch the start of their career. These players have taken the most of their opportunities this year, and it won’t be long until they’re considered for the England senior team.
It has been a season to forget for Sunderland. Poor defence and a reliance on Jermain Defoe has left the black cats rooted to the bottom of the premier league. One shining light however, has been in the form of their 23 year old goalkeeper. After coming through Sunderland’s academy in 2011, Jordan found himself loaned out to a handful of different lower league clubs. His development at those clubs ensured that he began this season as cover to Vito Mannone. When the Italian suffered an arm injury in training, it was Pickford that was chosen to go in between the sticks. He has since gone from strength to strength, and considering he has represented England from U16 to U21, a first senior appearance can’t be far away.
Tottenham’s strong midfield has been made even stronger this year by the emergence of a fantastic young playmaker. Although often overshadowed by fellow Englishmen Dele Alli and Eric Dier, the 21 year old has impressed in the 19 premier league games he’s played. He scored his first goal against West ham, and is regarded as a promising payer for the future. Like Pickford, he has represented England from U17 upwards and that illustrious first senior cap, will surely be coming in the not so distant future.
Another skilful midfielder to feature on this list is Everton’s 18 year old starlet Tom Davis. Although his debut for the toffees came late last season, it has been this campaign that he has really made mark. He bagged his first league goal in Everton’s surprise demolition of Manchester City, a match where he was named man of the match. He has a good range of passing and is an extremely good dribbler, characteristics which will only improve. Having captained England’s U17 he is being touted as a future Everton captain and having already trained with the senior team, an England appearance should be a realistic aim.
The final name on the list is a 16 year old who has taken the championship by storm. Fulham’s 16 year old left back Ryan Sessegnon has impressed not only Championship clubs, but a number of Premier League teams including Liverpool and Tottenham. He is extremely good defensively, a remarkable feat for someone of his age and has proved to be an offensive threat, scoring 6 goals in the 22 games he’s played this campaign. He has already played above his age group for England, and even managed to grab a goal in one of his 5 appearances for the U19s. He is a remarkable talent and without doubt one of the best 16 year olds in world football.