First let me start off with an apology. This blog was originally supposed to go live on Saturday afternoon but due to unforeseen circumstances I wasn’t able to write it in time. Don’t worry though because I’m going to make it up to you all. “How are you going to do that, Kelsey?” I hear you ask. Well, starting next Monday I will be doing a blog EVERY day until next Sunday. Glorious. Before that though, let’s get into part 2 of the list of England’s Top 10 Youth Prospects!
6) James Ward-Prowse – Midfielder – Southampton
Any Football Manager players out there know just how good this guy can become and in the last few seasons he’s shown glimpses of the footballer I know he’ll develop into. I believe it’s testament to how much he’s rated by Ronald Koeman that despite playing 11 matches less last season than in 2013/14, the 20 year old has only played the equivalent to 2 matches less (minutes-wise) due to injury. That means he’s playing 90 minutes week in, week out near enough; and at 20 years old to be playing 90 minutes consistently in the Premier League is an incredible feat. Sit up and take note. It’s not like he’s inexperienced at international level either; Ward-Prowse has only missed 21 minutes in 14 England Under 21 appearances and personally I think he’s ready for the senior side, although I doubt Butler will agree me.
7) Jordon Ibe – Winger – Liverpool
Personally I’m very excited for Jordon Ibe going into this season, he has a massive year ahead. Touted by many as the next Raheem Sterling he has a lot to live up to and the onus will be on him to pick up where Sterling left off following his big money move to Manchester City. After showing great promise during Liverpool’s pre-season fixtures, fans have started to sit up and notice even more that this is a young player who can develop into a senior figure for the team. The confidence in which he plays has been evident in increasing, taking the responsibility to bring the ball forward and make something happen. At the same time, he’s bringing that flair and creativity to the team, taking that step up from being a young player who has potential, to making a mark in Brendan Rodgers’ side.
8) Alex Pritchard – Midfielder – Tottenham Hotspur
The 22-year-old impressed during a loan spell at Championship side Brentford last season; his performances earning him a place in the England Under-21 squad for the European Championships. Having played regularly for the Bees last season, Pritchard will be keen to play as often as possible next term and may seek assurances over his level of game time when he returns for pre-season following injury at the Euro U21 Championship, but Pochettino is very keen to give him a chance and I’m very pleased about this. The level of maturity he’s shown following his injury is superb and is commendable, I’m very excited to see where he fits into that Spurs team following his impressive spell at Brentford last season.
9) Isaiah Brown – Forward – Chelsea
After joining West Brom as a schoolboy, Brown was named on the bench for the first time in March 2013 – interestingly against Chelsea. He made his debut in May the same season, replacing Youssouf Mulumbu for the final few minutes against Wigan. That brief cameo saw Brown become the second-youngest player in Premier League history at the age of 16 years and 117 days, behind former Fulham defender Matthew Briggs. Alongside his success at club level, Brown was also part of the England side who that won the European Under-17 Championships in 2014. The teenager failed to notch in the competition though as clubmate Dominic Solanke topped the scoring charts with four. He has since stepped up to the England Under-19 team, scoring a brace against Italy in November. This lad has potential in absolute abundance, he’s captained the Chelsea youth team in their FA Youth Cup success and also shone in their UEFA Youth Cup final win over Shakhtar.
10) Reece Oxford – Defender – West Ham
Became West Ham’s youngest ever player after making his debut in the Europa League first qualifying round win over Lustians. The England Under 17 captain usually operates in defence but was deployed in the heart of midfield as he broke Billy Williams’ 93-year record. Confident and assured when in possession, Oxford always looks comfortable in the middle of the park despite emerging as a defensive hopeful. During that game against Lustians, he was not afraid to ask for the ball and rarely wasted possession when given the chance to be involved, Oxford showed his versatility by moving back into his more natural position of centre back during the second half as West Ham made alterations to give other youngsters a run out. I can’t wait to see how he develops and I’m going to say right now, he will be the next Rio Ferdinand. End of.
That’s that then, make a note of these players. Bookmark this page for when England win the World Cup in a few years. Trust me.
Kelsey De Maria
The new episode of the Severn Sport Puncast is available now, as is our brand new Android app on the Play Store! We’ll also have LIVE commentary of Gloucester City vs FC United of Manchester this Saturday, 8th August.