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The Best Young Footballers
It’s tempting to think that, these days, many top-tier football clubs effectively ‘buy’ titles and silverware more than earn them. After all, it often seems that once a club has splashed big money on great players, that tantalising shiny trophy is soon within touching distance. That would threaten to make football betting more straightforward than it actually is.
However, young players throw a spanner in the works, as assessing their potential can be hard – although we’re still going to have a go.
10. Noor Husin (Crystal Palace)
The Afghan midfielder was released by Reading last year, leaving the now 20-year-old to join his current club Crystal Palace. However, Reading’s decision has been a real head-scratcher given the former Accrington Stanley man’s creative ability and joy in dictating play. He has recently reached the substitutes bench in Crystal Place matches, having impressed boss Alan Pardew, who has said that the club’s ex-Arsenal man Mathieu Flamini could help Husin’s development.
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9. Reiss Nelson (Arsenal)
If you choose to bet at one of the football betting sites that we most recommend, you should keep an eye out for winger Reiss Nelson on Arsenal’s squad sheet. Arsene Wenger clearly thinks the 17-year-old has a bright future, having confirmed that he will be promoted to the first team for 2017/18. Nelson has, however, already trained with the first team since he was 15. We think Nelson is worth watching particularly due to his aptitude for beating defenders one-on-one.
8. André Green (Aston Villa)
The 6ft 2in winger has spent his entire domestic career at Aston Villa, despite having drawn interest from Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City. He really appeared to be getting into his stride at Villa earlier this year. However, he was later out of the squad due to injury – leaving a lot of his potential still to be realised, possibly in the 2017/18 season.
7. Jadon Sancho (Manchester City)
The attacking midfielder moved from Watford to City for up to £500,000 two years ago. Today, that price looks an absolute steal, with Sancho now sometimes deemed one of Europe’s brightest talents. Although he has played for the England under-17s, his defender-beating ability has been likened to that of a Brazilian player. This year alone, Arsenal and Celtic have been linked with moves for him.
6. Domingos Quina (West Ham)
At 17, Quina is so young that West Ham has been his sole senior club. However, his boss Slaven Bilic has enthused about the central midfielder in words quoted by the Daily Mail: “He is one of those players that you think if he doesn't make it, then which player will?”
The Portugal international has shown great skill, vision and dribbling ability; thus, you shouldn’t overlook him if you want to become good at football betting.
5. Dele Alli (Tottenham)
The 21-year-old’s rise has been extraordinary. Having been a Milton Keynes Dons player until as recently as two years ago, the midfielder is another Spurs starlet to have proved that his sparkling form in the 2015/16 season was no accident.
He took that form into the season after, when he netted 13 times across 26 league games. Two of those goals came in the 2-0 win against Chelsea that halted the Blues’ winning run. It’s little wonder that there has been talk of interest from Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, who would undoubtedly pay much more than the £5m outlay that Spurs paid for him in 2015.
4. Harry Kane (Tottenham)
He’s still only 23, but the Spurs striker has netted 78 goals over 113 appearances for the North London giants. In fact, he’s been the Premier League’s top scorer in both 2015/16 and 2016/17, leading him to pick up two consecutive Golden Boots. He’s also fared impressively at international level, including with his recent 93-minute equaliser in the 2-2 draw against Scotland.
While his playing career has included loan spells at Norwich City and Leicester City, he is now a certain starter at Spurs, having proven that he is more than simply a one season wonder.
3. Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)
While his gaffer expressed concern about Jesus’ ability to adapt to the Premier League after arriving from Palmeiras, he needn’t have worried. The Brazilian international forward has been a class act, starting his Premier League tenure by clocking up three goals in four matches.
It’s a sure sign of his impressive credentials that, until a major injury struck, he long prevented Sergio Aguero even starting in the lineup. The 20-year-old Jesus quickly climbed through the youth ranks at Brazil to score four goals in six matches for his country’s national team, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see him making a similarly spectacular ascent at Manchester City. The £27m – excluding add-ons – that they originally paid for him looks like excellent value.
2. Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
A world record £89.3m transfer fee brought Pogba back to Manchester United from Juventus, but the France international initially struggled to meet expectations in 2016/17. That’s what can easily happen when a player arrives due to an exchange of hefty money, but we reckon that he will come good.
The midfielder has already missed some glaring chances to score during his second United stint, so we’re anticipating soon seeing better things from the 24-year-old. He’s also impressed United legend Bryan Robson, who has tipped him as possibly a future club captain.
1. Ross Barkley (Everton)
The 23-year-old attacking midfielder underwent something of an “ugly duckling” transformation in the 2016/17 season. He recovered from an uninspiring start and started playing what he went on to call his best football. Managers and players have likened Barkley’s playing style to those of legends Paul Gascoigne, Michael Ballack and Wayne Rooney.
Nonetheless, Barkley has not yet put pen to paper on an extension to his current Everton contract set to expire next summer – leading the club to slap a £50m price tag on the ex-Leeds United man.