A new Terry and a reminder of Rooney. APL youth are ready
The focus right now is on big players, big deals and the reshaping of entire clubs. However, every season reveals new stars from the ranks of young players. And England have decided to round up the top ten of those young players for whom the coming season could be a breakthrough. They are close to being in the limelight, in the public eye, and potentially the ones who will be hunted down by clubs with offers of big contracts. We won’t pass by and take a look at this top ten.
Charlie Patino – Arsenal
Someone might have heard of Patino by now. Arsenal bought the midfielder when he was 11 from Luton, paying £10,000. He is now 18 and scored in the League Cup game against Sunderland (5-1) in his debut season as an adult, coming on as an 80th-minute substitute. The fans chanted his name when he appeared on the pitch – they follow his career and potential closely. Injury has halted his development somewhat, but he has been in the squad for the last four Premier League games. Patino himself admits his idol was Santi Cazorla. Charlie plays for the England youth team, although he is also eligible to play for Spain.
Jacob Ramsey – Aston Villa
Ramsey enjoyed a breakthrough season last season. He scored six goals in 35 appearances for FC Villa. There was even speculation that the 21-year-old could make the England squad for the World Cup. In February, his coach Steven Gerrard said:
“Ramsey is going to be a fantastic player. Soon the whole country will be watching him. He’s going for it.
There have been hints of Gerrard’s own style in some of his goals. Ramsey’s progress, who recently signed a new five-year contract with Villa, has helped the club survive the loss of Jack Grealish. Another brilliant season from Jacob will make the Birmingham side forget about Jack.
Evan Ferguson – Brighton
The Ireland youth striker played four games for Brighton last season. Interestingly, he made his Irish league debut for Bohemians when he was just 14 years old. And he played in a friendly against Chelsea at the same age.
“You forget he’s only 17 when you watch him every day in training,” said coach Graham Potter. – ‘He doesn’t seem like an extra player. In terms of character, personality and thinking he’s very good. We have a lot of faith in him.”
Levi Colwell – Chelsea
Fans of Huddersfield, where Colwell played on loan last season, are confident he is the future England captain. The talented 19-year-old defender has become one of the heroes of a team nobody believed in before the start of last season. And Huddersfield finished third in the regular season and reached the play-off final, where they lost the right to return to the Premier League to Nottingham Forest.
Calm, confident with the ball and mature beyond his years, Colwell reminds many of John Terry. “Chelsea have high hopes for him, but he could still play on loan next season. Brighton, Everton and Leicester have expressed interest. He is capable of making an impression in the APL as well.
Anthony Gordon – Everton
Gordon’s play was one of the few positives last season for Everton, who nearly managed relegation from the Premier League. Anthony, who plays for the England youth team, became an almost unchangeable player in the main squad when Frank Lampard took over as coach. Gordon was named Everton’s player of the year by his teammates. He is a hard-working talented winger who will be able to take part in the club’s rise.
Joe Gelhardt – Leeds
Leeds, who also narrowly avoided relegation from the AFL, had few moments to rejoice as the season progressed. Gelhardt’s form is one of those moments. He played just 732 minutes, though. During that time, the young forward scored two goals and made four assists. Moreover, his prolific performance came at the most opportune moment.
Without Gelhardt’s input, Leeds would surely have been relegated. The Liverpool-born player reminds many of Wayne Rooney in his constitution and manner of play. It is too early to make such advances, though. Next season, thanks to the formation favoured by Jesse March, Gelhardt may have more chances to prove himself.
Harvey Elliott – Liverpool
He has already played for Fulham and Liverpool in the Premier League and spent a season on loan for Blackburn – it’s easy to forget that Harvey is only 19. Surely a breakthrough could have happened as early as last season had Elliott not missed five months due to an ankle injury. But his return has been productive, showing that he can be quick on his feet. Next season we can expect a spurt if injuries don’t get in the way.
Cole Palmer – Manchester City
The 20-year-old Palmer’s career path is very similar to that of Phil Foden. Therefore, it is logical to assume that Cole, too, expects to break into the main team and become one of the players who define its style. That comes at a high cost at Manchester City. Very expensive. If Raheem Sterling leaves the Etihad, as rumours suggest, Palmer will have a much better chance. England claim that Josep Guardiola wants to use Cole more often in a right winger’s role. Palmer scored three times for the Citizens’ main team last season, against Wycombe, Bruges and Swindon in the League Cup, Champions League and FA Cup respectively.
Anthony Elanga – Manchester United
Again, the young player’s play was a breath of fresh air amid a disappointing season. Not for the first time in the current selection. The 20-year-old Swedish forward has scored twice in the Premier League and marked the Champions League with a goal in 2022. Because of the uncertainty in MJ’s attack, Elanga, who has extended his contract until 2026, may have a better chance next season. Oh, and Anthony’s systematic growth can be seen – he must continue.
Brennan Johnson – Nottingham Forest
Johnson, 21, whose father also played for Nottingham Forest, has been in the club’s system since the age of eight. Last season he was named the team’s best young player after helping the side rise from the Championship to the APL. He then helped Wales win the right to play in the World Cup and scored his first goal for the Welsh team against Belgium.
“He’s a wonderful talent,” said Wales coach Rob Page. – ‘I’m looking forward to seeing him in the Premier League next season, to see his growth. Every time he gets on the pitch his game impresses, he proves his worth. And he still has a lot ahead of him.”