For football fans, there are few feelings which equate to seeing a homegrown player make it to the big stage. In modern football, as transfer prices continue to soar, the role of football academies has become even more important.
The transition from the academy to professional football is arguably the biggest challenge for any youngster. Every season, several youngsters explode onto the big stage while even more fade away. We expect the upcoming season to be the same.
Here are five English youngsters we are backing to light up the Premier League in 2019-20:
5 – Joe Willock (Arsenal)
The young midfielder has been waiting in the wings for quite some time, and this might finally be his season. He was impressive in his cameo off the bench in Arsenal’s defeat to Chelsea in the Europa League final last season. He has continued to impress during the pre-season with eye-catching performances against Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. The 19-year-old even earned praise from Zinedine Zidane following Arsenal’s friendly against Real Madrid.
4 – Mason Greenwood (Manchester United)
Manchester United have consistently produced world-class players through their academy in the Premier League era. The latest star to have emerged from the academy is Mason Greenwood. The 17-year-old forward made a substitute appearance against PSG in Champions League last season to become the youngest ever player to represent United in the tournament. He has only increased the hype by scoring in pre-season friendlies against Leeds United and Inter Milan. Manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer is already a fan of the youngster, and we expect him to progress under the guidance of the Norwegian.
3 – Mason Mount (Chelsea)
Mason Mount is coming on the back of an impressive loan spell at Derby County, where he worked under Frank Lampard. The Chelsea legend has taken charge at Stamford Bridge, and that could only work to the advantage of the England U21 international. Chelsea are currently serving a transfer ban, and hence, it is imperative for Lampard to get the best out of youth players. We are backing Mount to get a lot of playing time with the Blues this season.
2 – Reiss Nelson (Arsenal)
Any mention of Reiss Nelson is enough to cheer up even the most pessimist of Arsenal followers. The English winger is coming on the back of an impressive loan spell with Hoffenheim. The 19-year-old scored seven goals in 19 Bundesliga appearances last season. Furthermore, he has been one of the star performers in the England U21 side. The majority of the Arsenal fan base believes that he is ready to feature in the senior squad.
1 – Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea)
Callum Hudson-Odoi is not really an unknown name in the footballing world. The 18-year-old is one of the best talents to come out of Chelsea academy in recent years. He is already a senior England international and he made ten Premier League appearances for Chelsea last season. He was also greatly involved in Chelsea’s successful Europa League campaign. We expect him to become a regular feature in Chelsea’s side under Lampard.