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Premier League: Five youngsters who could take the 2017-18 season by storm

The 26th season of Premier League will begin on Friday with Arsenal taking on Leicester City in the opener.

football Updated: Aug 11, 2017 17:31 IST
Himanshu Dhingra
Himanshu Dhingra
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Premier League,Arsenal,Leicester City
Chelsea are the defending champions of the Premier League which gets underway on Friday night.(Reuters)

The 26th season of the Premier League is upon us, and like in the previous 25 seasons, there will be spills, thrills and surprises.

And just like every season, this season will provide opportunities for players to put themselves on the football map.

Here is our list of players for whom the 2017/18 season could be a watershed moment.

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Robert ‘Rob’ Holding (Arsenal, defender)

Arsenal’s Rob Holding is a promising prospect in defence. (Reuters)

Rob Holding moved to Arsenal from Championship side Bolton Wanderers at the start of last season, and as one would expect, the 21-year old was not the immediate first choice. Nonetheless, he started a number of games because of injuries and unavailability of players. However, at the end of the season, as manager Arsene Wenger shifted to a back three, Holding was a regular feature and even played in the FA Cup final against Chelsea. The Gunners like to play on the ground and passing is one of the youngster’s strengths. Having performed quite impressively at the end of last season, one can expect more playing time for Holding at the Emirates.

Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur, Midfielder)

Harry Winks of Tottenham Hotspur can be a fixture in their midfield for many years. (AFP)

Harry Winks has come through the famed Tottenham Hotspur academy and has represented England at every youth level. The 21-year old was starting to get some taste of first team football on regular occasions last season, but freak injury in April caused a premature end to his campaign due to ligament damage. Winks is a clever little central midfielder who can play either in the attacking third or the defensive third. So good he has been that manager Mauricio Pochettino reportedly calls him ‘little Iniesta’ in private. With Spurs relying on local talent, and money in short supply thanks to the building of a new stadium, Harry Winks will get plenty of game time this season.

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Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace – on loan from Chelsea, midfielder)

Crystal Palace midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, on loan from Chelsea, can help the Eagles finish high up in the table. (AFP)

Much like Harry Winks, Ruben Loftus-Cheek has come through the Chelsea academy and has represented England at various youth levels. He has long been touted as someone who is destined to do well. After earning manager Antonio Conte’s praise at the start of last season, the 21-year old struggled in the second half of the campaign with a back injury. However, now he has a fresh start with Crystal Palace where he will get a lot of game time to show his true potential. He is 6’3, strong, powerful and can help control the game. If he can work on the defensive side of his game, he would be star for years to come.

Andreas Christensen (Chelsea, defender)

Chelsea's Andreas Christensen (2L) impressed at Borussia Monchengladbach last season. (AFP)

Andreas Christensen is already an international for Denmark, having earned 11 caps at the age of 21. He spent the last two years on loan at Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach and impressed a great deal for the Foals. He was named the club’s player of the season in his debut season. Since winning the Premier League in May, Chelsea have sold Nathan Ake to Bournemouth and former club captain John Terry has moved to Championship side Aston Villa. The Blues will also have additional fixtures thanks to their involvement in the UEFA Champions League. Given his attributes and the pace of his development, he could be a regular fixture in the side.

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Dominic Solanke (Liverpool, striker)

Liverpool midfielder Dominic Solanke will want to prove himself in the Premier League. (AFP)

He was on the books of Chelsea, but moved to Liverpool in the summer to get opportunities as a free agent. He was also named the best player at this summer’s U-20 World Cup, where he scored four goals and helped England win the title by beating Venezuela in the final. He is tall and has impressive physique for a 19-year-old. He has pace to burn, a trait that frightens defenders. Liverpool have had problems in the striker’s role with Daniel Sturridge’s injuries and Divock Origi’s inconsistency. Jurgen Klopp is sure to give him game time with four competitions ahead of the Reds this season.

First Published: Aug 11, 2017 17:31 IST