Everton: Ross Barkley – Midfielder
Ross Barkley has been talked about by many in the same vein as a young Wayne Rooney, no surprise that he is being labelled as ‘the next Rooney’ despite being a 6ft 2ins midfielder-standard English comparison. However, despite this billing you may not have heard about him too much about him until this season…well unless you are a closet talent scout or watch a lot of youth team football. The main reason you may not have heard too much is due to a triple leg break that halted his assault on Everton’s first team last season.
With the injury behind him, Barkley burst on to the scene this season with an impressive debut display against QPR where he was many people’s man-of-the-match. Such an impact by someone so young will have come as a surprise to many, but not to Everton first teamers Sylvain Distin and Louis Saha. Striker Saha said he is “enjoying training with him (Barkley) and hopefully I will enjoy playing with him because I think he’s got so many talents and he will definitely be a big star if he keeps working hard.”
Barkley is a tough tackling midfielder who models himself on Arteta but plays most like Rodwell, there is no surprise then that rumours have already emerged Chelsea are suitors of the 17 year old. Barkley is stocky in build, confident in nature and lists his best attributes as tackling, heading and passing-the fundamental’s any young centre midfielder needs to base their game around. He is a regular in the England youth setup but is also eligible for Nigeria. If his impressive start continues, every England fans up and down the country will hope he pledges his future to England. Whether Everton will be long-term home remains to be seen, but for now there couldn’t be a better place for to keep developing as he gets first team experience.
Tottenham: Harry Kane – Striker
After the transfer window slammed shut many Spurs fans were bemoaning the fact that only one striker arrived during the window in the form of Adebayor. With Defoe on the back of a troubled season and Pavlychenko consistently disappointing, the Spurs faithful have a right to be worried. But those who have watched closely enough would have noticed the name Harry Kane mentioned in glowing terms and in pre-season he gave Spurs fans a glimpse of what he can do scoring 8 goals in 6 games.
Kane has made good progress in the academy sides, having scored 18 goals in 22 games for Spurs under-18’s in the 2009/2010 season. He spent the second half of last season on loan at Leyton Orient to gain all important senior experience and this could come in handy as he could easily be drafted in as Spurs’ fourth striker this season.
18 year old Kane has a good physique for a forward, he is just over 6ft and is starting to fill out and if he bulks up slightly he will be a handful for most defenders. But Kane, despite his physical appearance is by no means a target man striker; he is at home playing as a second striker and is mobile enough to work around a main striker. He has a good eye for goal and is a dab hand at finishing in all situations whilst being a specialist at set-pieces. Spurs fans will have already seen him denied a penalty in the recent Europa League game against PAOK Salonika, miss a penalty against Hearts and seen him named on the bench on for Spurs also. Kane maybe a couple seasons off a regular first team spot, but there is a buzz around Tottenham about this home-grown youngster, he is defiantly one to watch.
Arsenal: Emmanuel Frimpong – Midfielder
Emmanuel Frimpong has been thrust in to the limelight following Arsenal’s summer midfield exodus and the teams need for a solid defensive midfielder and he hasn’t been shy in making his mark on the Arsenal first team, both off and on the field. Frimpong only made his debut in this seasons game against Newcastle United and since then has gone on to play in the Champions League for Arsenal and also be sent off in a league match against Liverpool which cost him the chance of lining up against Manchester United.
This young midfielder no doubt has a lot to learn and he has learnt some lessons the hard way, but at least he realises. Commenting on his red card: “I think that has changed me as a player, it’s made me more calm on the pitch, but I don’t like to be calm because that’s not my type of game.” It is not just on the pitch where Frimpong has drawn attention to himself, he is a big advocate of Twitter and has already been involved in exchanges with several people on the site. He had a go at a moaning Piers Morgan (no surprise): ‘U should be ashamed to call urself an arsenal fan all u do is moan about ur team y don’t u do ur job and i will do mine,’ and also had a bit of banter with Jack Wilshere over his goodbye tweet to the departing Samir Nasri.
Despite these few blips Frimpong is a player of real talent and many see him as a long-term replacement to Patrick Vieria who many think was never suitably replaced by Wenger. Frimpong is a pacey, aggressive, tough-tackling centre midfielder, but as well as the dirty work he can play ball as well. During a pre-season game against Boca he was picked out by Argentine legend Riquelme as “the most important player for Arsenal” and Boca coach Julio Cesar Falcioni, who said Frimpong has “a power and technique that is very impressive. He could be a great player”. Frimpong will not take his chance for granted and as he aims to steer Arsenal in to the top four this season.