As the new Premier League Under-21 season edges ever closer, we take a look at three exciting young players that supporters should look out for this season as the pool of young talent looks to blossom once more.
James Wilson – Manchester United
The young talent hoping to stick around at Old Trafford this season and fight for a first-team place could remain a prominent fixture in the Manchester United Under-21 team next season as the Red Devils look to knock Chelsea off their perch as champions.
Talking to the press after smashing an incredible four goals past Manchester City at the weekend, the youngster said: ‘’I hope I’ve impressed the gaffer. I showed him what I can do and hopefully I can get a call-up to do it in the first-team as well.’’
Ryan Giggs, who took over as Manchester United interim manager towards the end of last season, gave the 18-year-old the chance to shine in the first team in the last game of last season, and he certainly didn’t disappoint. Nevertheless, the youngster is currently behind the likes of Van Persie, Rooney and Hernandez in the pecking order as first team chances look incredibly limited.
Warren Joyce, Manchester United’s Under-21 manager, will no doubt be hoping that instead of loaning the young talent out this season, he will get another year out of him at youth team level as he looks to put together an assault on the title.
Dominic Solanke – Chelsea
The 16-year-old Chelsea striker, who has been tipped by Jose Mourinho as a future England international, could look to graduate into the Under-21 Premier League champion’s side for the upcoming campaign after an excellent pre-season looks to have done his reputation the world of good.
Jose Mourinho in late July commented: ‘’My conscience tells me that if, for example, [Lewis] Baker, [Isaiah] Brown and Solanke are not national team players in a few years, I should blame myself.’’
‘’They are part of a process the club started without me. In this moment, we have players who will be Chelsea players. And when they become Chelsea players, they will become England players, almost for sure.’’
Killing any possibility of the youngster heading out on loan this season, Mourinho added: "At 16 or 17 I don’t think it’s good for them to go somewhere else to play, like in the Championship. At 17 they have to train with us and they have to learn with us. They will learn a lot.’’
The talent, who was key to England’s Under-17 European Championship campaign this summer, has netted 20 goals in 25 appearances for Chelsea’s youth sides so far and will be looking to carry on in a similar vein this season, just at a higher level.
If he does get the chance in the Chelsea Under-21 side, as opposed to the Under-19 side, then he most certainly has the ability to end up as one of the Young Premier League’s top goalscorers at the end of the season despite his young age.
Milos Veljkovic – Tottenham Hotspur
The versatile 18-year-old, who has had first-team experiences at White Hart Lane, shows promise to be one of the top defenders in the Under-21 Premier League next season and may be one looking to break into the first-team during the upcoming campaign.
The Serbian youth international made his debut last season, appearing in the 88th minute as Tim Sherwood found his side ahead comfortably enough to risk the young player taking to the pitch in place of Brazilian international Paulinho.
In years to come, the name Veljkovic will unquestionably become one better known with Spurs supporters and this season may just be the making of him. If nothing else, the quality of attacker in the Under-21 Premier League should give him a great amount of experience regardless of whether he plays as a central defender or defensive midfielder.
Who are your tips to shine in the Under-21 Premier League?