“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them,” remarked William Shakespeare. Well, this season’s EPL will see a couple of youngsters battling for greatness having wormed their way into the first team. There will be challenges, triumphs and disappointments but those who are resilient and consistent will carry the day.
1. Adnan Januzaj
The 19-year old Belgian professional made a sensational debut in the Premier league, scoring a brace against Sunderland in Manchester United’s 2-1 win last season. In the face of hopelessness amid Man Utd’s disastrous campaign, he was a glimmer of hope. His fantastic passing, brilliant dribbling skills and unmatched foot-works caused unrest among defenders of the opposing teams. He is a match-winner and a game-changer with a knack for scoring goals. He has been handed the legendary no. 11 shirt, an irrefutable proof of the confidence bestowed upon him by the team.
Last season he scored four premier league goals and was nominated for BBC’s Young Sports Personality in October 19 2013 having played 10 matches for Man Utd. His amazing performance saw him get a call-up for Belgium for the World Cup barely a month after deciding to play for Belgium. The fact that new coach Louis Van Gaal didn’t chop him from the team as a few other stars left means LVG believes in this young star.
2. Raheem Sterling
Brendan Rodgers recently remarked that Sterling reminds him of a younger Lionel Messi. The 19-year old England international had a fantastic season that saw him score nine EPL goals. He also secured a call-up in England’s squad in the recently concluded Fifa World Cup. Mostly deployed as a winger forward alongside Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, Sterling was a big cog in Liverpool’s title contention last season.
His pace and wonderful dribbling skills saw him pose incessant threat especially while on the attack. His versatility gave Liverpool a lot of depth and some unpredictability as he could switch wings as well as play as a midfielder. He has had a wonderful pre-season and put in a sterling performance. With the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, Sterling will be given more responsibility and is expected to contribute immensely in the team’s firepower.
3. Ross Barkley
The 20-year old English international made his Premier League last season and scored his first goal for Everton in their 2-2 draw against Norwich City. He was chosen man-of-the-match in a number of games especially in their 3-0 win against Arsenal at Goodison Park. His form was so impressing that he played for England in the 2014 World Cup. He is a disciplined and excellent attacking midfielder. He scored a total of 6 goals last season including one against Manchester City that was voted goal of the season for Everton last season. He is creative, clever and good at free-kicks. He has been backed to be one the best players in England many likening him to Wayne Rooney.
4. Romelu Lukaku
The21-year old netted 15 goals in thirty-one appearances for Everton helping them secure a top five finish with record seventy-two points while on a season-long loan from Chelsea. He is now an official Everton player having been signed from Chelsea. He is sharp striker with an eye for goals. He is a fighter, who stands out in big matches. His superb finishing and good positioning on the pitch has seen him strike when the opponent least expects. He played a key role in Belgium scoring in their 2-1 win against United States in the 2014 World Cup.
5. Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain
He spent some time in the sideline because of injuries. However, he put in excellent performances when was in good form. This is why he was nominated for the Golden Boy Award in 2013 in recognition for his performances prior to the injury. He scored a brace in Arsenal 2-0 win against Crystal Palace. He got a call up for England in despite missing the last few weeks of the season due to injury. His pace, agility, athleticism and brilliant dribbling skills defy the ability of a 20-year old making him an imperious winger. He provided lots of assist especially to Olivier Giroud in their 3-1 defeat against Aston Villa.
Could these be stars that shine brightly but briefly? Only time will tell.