Naby Keita and Jorginho among five best Premier League debutants

Chris Bailey 20:15 13/08/2018
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With a fresh season comes fresh faces looking to prove their worth in the so-called best domestic league in the world.

Some, ultimately, fare better than others. Below we sift the sand from the Premier League gold and pick out five top debutants – either for new clubs or as complete newcomers – from the opening weekend’s action.


NabyKeitaLiverpoolWestHam (1)

Liverpool did their homework on Naby Keita long before he stepped foot on to the Anfield turf and, given his display against an admittedly poor West Ham, the backroom staff get provisional top marks.

Perhaps typecast as a box-to-box midfielder to the uninitiated, the Guinean used his destructive qualities high up the pitch – suggesting he is a player ready-made for Jurgen Klopp’s Gegenpressing.

Most promising of all was at the finish of every dribble there was a delicately weighted pass, such as the ball which led to Andrew Robertson’s assist for Mohamed Salah’s opener. Far better opposition lie in wait but it was a fine start.



Jorginho went walkabouts at Wembley against a dizzying Manchester City side in the Community Shield but it was clearly unfair to judge him on one display against the Premier League champions, who have reduced many a midfield to rubble.

The Jorginho that Maurizio Sarri knows from his time at Napoli appeared in Huddersfield, nestled deep into Chelsea’s midfield and helping to grind down the relatively stubborn Terriers.

Indeed, the Blues did not wholly dominate – Jorginho as the central hub would have been made more than 66 passes if so – but his pass success rate of 94 per cent, allied to his strength defensively, bodes well for the future. And clearly he’s a handy back-up penalty taker to Eden Hazard


Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton FC - Premier League

For all the talk of how preposterous it was for Everton to spend potentially spend £50 million on Richarlison, what largely went noticed was his obvious talent.

If he keeps playing like this then certainly the Brazilian, at 21 years of age, is a sound investment. His goals, one opportunistic and the other measured, prove he has a goalscoring eye despite not previously hitting the net in 2018.

It wasn’t just his goals, either.

His voracious work ethic in that 2-2 draw with Wolves – churning out 13 sprints and even three tackles – make him the perfect Premier League winner even when putting aside that Brazilian flair. Finally, a bit of excitement is making its way to Goodison Park.



It was a fine day for debutants all round at Molineux and Raul Gimenez was no exception. Gimenez, unsurprisingly another Wolves player with a Portuguese connection on loan from Benfica, showed he too has the work ethic for the English top flight.

The 6ft2 striker gives oomph to an attack that was a little short on physicality. He held the ball up intelligently against Everton to bring the nimble Helder Costa and Diogo Jota in play, and his headed goal screamed classic No9.


Southampton FC v Burnley FC - Premier League

Southampton versus Burnley wasn’t exactly the banner match of the opening weekend. Still, as the Clarets pounded on the Saints’ door, Jannik Vestergaard ensured the bolt remained shut.

Standing at two metres tall, it’s hard to miss him. And Burnley know all about him now as the Dane made 12 clearances and two blocks in his first competitive appearance since moving from Borussia Monchengladbach.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise – Southampton have always had a knack for finding centre-backs. He’ll be important in what could otherwise be a difficult season.

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