Over the last few years, there has been a decline in the number and the quality of young English talent being given a chance in the Premier League, which some believe is one of the reasons for the continued struggles of the English National Team. I believe this is something which may be changing over the next couple of seasons, and in this article I will look at the three most exciting young talents which I believe may well take their chance this year.
Luke Shaw- Left Back- Southampton
Shaw is yet another incredibly exciting young player to come through Southampton’s famed academy. The last left back they produced turned out to be one of the best players of his generation, Gareth Bale, which leaves Luke with enormous boots to fill as he looks to establish himself in the Premier League. Last season he got his chance in the first team at the tender age of 17, and immediately looked at home, with 28 appearances in all competitions. The boy is quick, agile, tackles well, and looks direct and ambitious going forward, but with that great appetite for defending, which a lot of young fullbacks these days seem to lack.
Having got himself a good number of starts last season, only losing his place to the odd injury and slight loss of form, Shaw will surely look to cement his place in the starting line-up at Saint Mary’s this season. There is already talk of a big move next summer looking likely if he keeps progressing at this rate, and surely he can’t be too far away from rumours of an England call up over the next couple of years, as with Cole aging we may see him in a Roy Hodgson squad not too far down the line.
One thing is for certain, England’s left back spot certainly looks to be in safe hands when Father Time eventually catches up with Ashley Cole, and my personal tip is for Shaw over Baines in the not too distant future. Impressive.
Ross Barkley- Central Midfield/Attacking Midfield – Everton
Whisper it quietly, but this lad could well be the successor to Steven Gerrard at the heart of England’s midfield. Without putting pressure on the youngster, he is certainly one of the most exciting young players I have seen come through the youth ranks in this country since a certain other Evertonian, Wayne Rooney. Barkley is big, strong, quick, agile, extremely comfortable on the ball, and possesses a range of passing rarely seen in an English midfielder. Not to mention his ability to strike a ball from distance, a prime example of which was his first premier league goal the other week. Touch, control, shift, bang. It wasn’t until I watched it again that I realised just how special that strike was, as not only is he a youngster playing in the best league in the world attempting to make an impression, but he is right footed. He scored that with his left. If that had come from Van Persie or Bale, it would be up there for goal of the month, if not season, but from a teenager, on his wrong foot, stunning.
There is however a slight question mark over his consistency and his fitness. Over the last couple of seasons I have followed his progress avidly and was often disappointed to see him missing game after game through slight niggles or injuries, and when he did play and things didn’t go his way, it sometimes got to him. But that could just be youth and he may well grow out of that. But if he can nurture the talent he undoubtedly has, which I think will be helped with Roberto Martinez now in charge, he could well become one of the lynchpins of a future England team, and we could be looking at something special. Only time will tell. Raw Talent.