A number of young players burst onto the scene and made an impression in the Premier League last season, and many more youngsters will be hoping that 2016/2017 will be their season to show the world just what they are capable of.
Looking at players aged 23 and younger, here’s the player we tip to shine at each Premier League club this season, starting with AFC Bournemouth through to Manchester City.
AFC Bournemouth – Jordon Ibe, 20
Bournemouth broke their transfer record, believed to be around £15 million, to bring in winger Ibe this summer and the 20-year-old now has a great opportunity to fulfil his potential.
After Raheem Sterling left Liverpool to join Manchester City, Ibe was thought to be a perfect replacement for him as he was also young, quick and had bags of skill.
However, Ibe only started 12 games in the Premier League, and managed one goal and two assists in that time. He is now one of the bigger names in the Bournemouth squad though, and because of the money they spent on him, the pressure is now on to kick on and have a good season.
Arsenal – Alex Iwobi, 20
Another 20-year-old winger is my player to watch from Arsenal. Iwobi came out of nowhere towards the end of last season for the Gunners, and managed to score two goals and assist a further two in eight games.
The winger became a big hit with Arsenal fans for his direct running and good link-up play, and even forced Arsène Wenger to start him ahead of his more well-known and experienced players. Iwobi will be hoping to carry on his form into this season and have a substantial impact on the Gunners’ title chances.
Burnley – Jon Flanagan, 23
The English full-back came into the spotlight in the 2013/2014 season in a Liverpool squad that only narrowly missed out on winning the league. After that season, however, Flanagan’s growth has been curtailed by injuries, and last season he only made five league appearances for the Reds.
The tough tackling defender now has a fresh start as he has joined newly promoted Burnley on a season-long loan. Manager Sean Dyche will be hoping that Flanagan will stay injury free for the season and aid the Clarets’ hopes of staying up.
Chelsea – Michy Batshuayi, 22
The Belgian striker has quite some pressure on him to be a star at Chelsea. Not only did he cost the club around £33 million, Batshuayi also scored over a goal every other game with Marseille last season as well as bagging for Belgium in the European Championship this summer.
In addition, the last striker that went from Marseille to Chelsea, Didier Drogba, is now a Chelsea legend and a cult hero. Batshuayi does seem to have a lot of talent and if he is able to get enough playing time, he will score plenty of goals for the Blues and help them in their trophy hunt this season.
Crystal Palace – Wilfried Zaha, 23
Unbelievably, as he seems to have been around for years and years, Zaha is still only 23. After earning a move to Manchester United in 2013, many fans thought that he would impress and become a star at Old Trafford. This did not pan out for the young winger as he only made two appearances for Man United.
He was loaned back to Crystal Palace in the summer of 2014 and moved back permanently in 2015. Last year in the Premier League he only managed to score two goals in 34 appearances, a disappointing return for a player of his quality. Zaha has no more excuses this season, and should be trying to reach at least 10 goals as well as trying to add to his two England caps.
Everton – Gerard Deulofeu, 22
After joining Everton on loan for the 2013/2014 season from Barcelona, Deulofeu rejoined the Toffees last summer in a permanent deal. There was quite some hype about the winger while he was a youngster at Barcelona, and he was touted to be a starter for them further down the line. However, he did not get much playing time and wisely decided to leave.
After having a decent season last year in a struggling Everton team, the Spaniard must be hoping that he can really impress this season under new manager Ronald Koeman. He has the quality to score 10 + goals in a season, and with Romelu Lukaku up front, there are also plenty of opportunities for assists.
Hull City – Andrew Robertson, 22
There are not many players to pick from at the moment in this Hull side, but one of their more impressive is Scottish left back Andrew Robertson. Signed from Dundee United in 2014, this is now Robertson’s third season with Hull. The defender has been through relegation and promotion with the Tigers, but will be hoping to have some stability this season.
His performances for Hull have attracted several suitors with Liverpool and West Ham linked. Reports claim that West Ham even had a £7 million bid rejected by Hull and though the Hammers have now bought a left back themselves, Hull might still face an uphill task to keep the talented defender before the transfer window closes.
Leicester City – Demarai Gray, 20
Gray, who has played in all the England age group teams from U18, made a positive impact in many of the games that he came on as a substitute last season. After only buying him from Birmingham City in January, Leicester fans will be hoping that Gray has properly settled in now and will start contributing more in front of goal.
The main aim for the winger this year must be to start more games. He only started one Premier League last season, but came off the bench 11 times. With Leicester now in the Champions League, Gray will most likely get more opportunities to start as they rotate their team. Gray is still very young, and will also hope to learn off the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy this season.
Liverpool – Divock Origi, 21
The Belgian striker will be hoping to really find his scoring boots this year having threatened to do so last season for Liverpool. Unfortunately for him, the Reds did not make it into Europe for this season, so chances to start regularly might only come in the domestic cups. However, if he manages to impress when he does start, which he has the potential to do, he could well find himself as their number one striker.
With Daniel Sturridge’s ever-present injury problems and Christian Benteke’s sale to Crystal Palace complete, Origi is not facing too much competition for a starting berth, although manager Jurgen Klopp has put Roberto Firmino up front before. Now 21 years old, the youngster can really kick on this season and make an impact in the Premier League.
Manchester City – Kelechi Iheanacho, 19
One of the youngsters that really burst onto the scene last year with some impressive performances and goals, Iheanacho will be pushing for an even better season this time around. The Nigerian striker scored 15 goals in all competitions, while only starting 12 games for Manchester City. Iheanacho also has the advantage of being able to learn from one of the best strikers in the world at the moment in Sergio Agüero.
With City aiming to compete for all four competitions they are involved in this season, Iheanacho will get plenty of playing time. With his pace and his ability to score from distance and close range, the striker can really impress this season and score many goals.
Reuben Gready, Pundit Arena