Five Premier League youngsters who could rise like Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold

Tom Biggs 23/07/2018
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There’s no denying that Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold was the breakout star of the 2017/18 Premier League season. But who is ready to make the step up from youth football to the big stage this time around?

With key players absent from pre-season tours due to the World Cup, youngsters are being given the chance to show first-team bosses what they have to offer. Here we look at five players who could make a big impact this season …

CURTIS JONES

Club: Liverpool
Age: 17

Position: Midfielder
First-team appearances: 0

Curtis Jones has been compared to Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.

Curtis Jones has been compared to Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard and worked with him last season

After Alexander-Arnold’s impressive rise to Liverpool’s first-choice right-back, it’s only right that we start at Anfield. Who can follow in the 19-year-old’s footsteps this time around?

Midfielder Curtis Jones may well be one to do just that. Aged just 17, and having impressed at Under-18 and Under-23 level, there’s plenty of expectation on the youngster.

Jurgen Klopp has eased that pressure. “We don’t expect anything, we are only happy we have another one,” said the Liverpool boss after Jones impressed in a pre-season game against Bury.

A dynamic midfielder capable of playing from deep or in an advanced position, Jones, who has been compared to Steven Gerrard, was a substitute in Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with Everton towards the end of last season.

PHIL FODEN

Club: Manchester City
Age: 18
Position: Attacking midfielder
First-team appearances: 10

Phil Foden's breakthrough came last season, but he'll be hoping for more this time around

Phil Foden’s breakthrough came last season, but he’ll be hoping for more this time around

Phil Foden is arguably the most high-profile name of those among our five to watch, but having made somewhat of a breakthrough during Manchester City’s title-winning campaign, there’s no doubt the 2018/19 season will be a vitally important one for the youngster.

A loan spell at a Championship club could be on the cards, but with so many of City’s players featuring at the World Cup, the England youth star could get chances early in the campaign.

Ever since winning the Under-17 World Cup and Golden Ball with England, Foden’s stock has been on the rise, with Pep Guardiola hailing his talents: “He grew up in the academy, he loves the club, he’s a City fan and for us he’s a gift.”

Foden made ten appearances in all competitions for City last season, and will be hoping to build on that this term. An eye for a pass and possessing excellent close control, Foden is one to watch out for again this season.

ANGEL GOMES

Club: Manchester United
Age: 17
Position: Attacking midfielder
First-team appearances: 2

Angel Gomes is the youngest player to play for Manchester United in the Premier League era

Angel Gomes is the youngest player to play for Manchester United in the Premier League era

On the red side of Manchester, three seasons on from Marcus Rashford announcing himself to the Premier League in style, it’s another attack-minded starlet who could get a chance to impress under Jose Mourinho.

With just four minutes of competitive first-team football to his name, spread across two seasons, Angel Gomes will hope a positive pre-season gets him chances early in the campaign.

Gomes scored five goals in 17 youth appearances last season, and came off the bench for the first-team in their 4-0 win against Yeovil Town in the FA Cup. An attacking midfielder who is a gifted creator, he’s been compared to United legend Paul Scholes in the past thanks to his intelligence on the ball, while academy director Nicky Butt has said ‘Angel Gomes is a young talent that we have massive hopes for’.

ETHAN AMPADU

Club: Chelsea
Age: 17
Position: Defensive midfielder
First-team appearances: 7

Already a senior international for Wales, Ethan Ampadu is highly rated at Chelsea

Already a senior international for Wales, Ethan Ampadu is highly rated at Chelsea

Already a senior international for Wales, and with seven first-team Chelsea appearances to his name, Ethan Ampadu, at just 17 years old, has already made quite an impact.

An injury towards the end of last season halted Ampadu’s progress somewhat, but the youngster is part of new boss Maurizio Sarri’s pre-season tour squad.

Able to play in midfield or defence, Ampadu’s composure on the ball and reading of the game have been praised by coaches. In Chelsea’s League Cup quarter-final against Bournemouth last season, Ampadu completed 87 of his 88 passes from the heart of the defence, picking up the man of the match award in the process. The former Exeter City star also made his Premier League debut last season.

EMILE SMITH ROWE

Club: Arsenal
Age: 17
Position: Attacking midfielder
First-team appearances: 0

Arsenal youngster Emile Smith Rowe has been likened to Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne

Arsenal youngster Emile Smith Rowe has been likened to Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne

New Arsenal boss Unai Emery has been so impressed with Ethan Smith Rowe, he has already promoted the 17-year-old to the first-team during pre-season.With attacking midfielders like Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi, Smith Rowe will hope to seize any opportunity presented to him by Emery.

A central figure in Arsenal’s run to the FA Youth Cup final last season, Smith Rowe can play from the left-wing or centrally. He netted 13 times across all youth levels last season, highlighting his ability to get into goalscoring positions from attacking midfield. His direct style of play, coupled with an eye for a pass, make him the sort of player Arsenal fans have loved in years gone by.

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