Breaking news: this top ten was not written on public transport.
There are four self-imposed rules when creating a list of Premier League future stars:
1. Players must be under 18 years of age
2. They must be currently at a Premier League club (thus excluding Connor Wickham and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain)
3. I am allowed to use Wikipedia!
4. They are not listed in any order
Joined Chelsea at the end of 8, and has been predicted for stardom pretty much ever since. At the age of only 17 has already played six times for Chelsea in the Premier League and made a couple of appearances for the England U21s. Comfortable both in central midfield and on the left, McEachran is reminiscent of Jack Wilshere as oppose to a replacement for Frankie Lampard.
Left-sided defender that joined from Leeds United. Everton revealed that they paid an initial £600,000 for a player that was sixteen at the time. His move was slightly controversial as the youngster made the announcement of his move via Facebook. Incredibly versatile, Garbutt can play at left-back, in central defence or in midfield. Will be hoping that he can school his talent under Leighton Baines at Everton.
Central defender that has modelled himself of Jamie Carragher, Coady has progressed impressively in the last 18 months. Stepped up to the Liverpool reserves last season, Conor’s career highlight so far is captaining England U17s to the European Championships last year. Coady was also nominated for BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year last year. Kenny Dalglish has recently shown faith by drafting the defender up to the first-team squad.
Not strictly at a Premier League club, though Everton are looking to sign him permanently at the end of the season after his current loan from Sporting Lisbon expires. Moved to Portugal aged 7 years old as his mum got a job during Euro 2004 (God I feel old), and interestingly became the first English player to sign for Sporting Lisbon. A six foot two centre back, England may well gain from his Portuguese schooling, under the mentorship of Portuguese scout Paulo Cardoso.
Acclaimed as better than Rooney was at the age of 15, Sterling moved to Liverpool from QPR. Liverpool have already stated that they believe Sterling will be the best English player of his generation. Scored on his U18 against Everton aged just 15. Sterling is very much in the mould of Theo Walcott, with pace, trickery and guile being his principal assets. Steve Gallen, Head of Youth Development at QPR states his opinions as thus: “this boy can pass, shoot, head it, score goals, tackle, defend, anything”. Seems reasonable.
Striker for Arsenal, Afobe top scored for Arsenal U18s last season, with 20 goals in 25 games for Steve Bould’s sides. Has league experience with Huddersfield Town this season, and scored twice in the Football League Trophy against Rotherham United. Has scored four goals in as many games for England U19s. Will hope that he can score regular goals in the lower league before gaining his chance in the Premier League.
Made famous after a much-investigated move from Le Havre, after which Manchester United were accused of tapping-up. A defensive midfielder Pogba is built like a tank but still possesses a great deal of skill and an incredible shot. You can see evidence of this below:
Sir Alex is looking for players to shape the future of Man United, and Pogba is amongst the chosen few. Will, in time, become a powerhouse in the Michael Essien mould.
I have two facts that will make you feel old as a twenty-something football fan. The first is that the baby referred to in the Bebeto rocking-the-baby 1994 World Cup celebration scored on his debut for Flamengo. The second is that Jack Barmby, left midfielder in the Manchester United Academy, is the son of Nick Barmby. Nick Barmby!! Pass me a Werthers.
The impressively named Chukwuemeka Aneke (Chuks for short) is a box-to-box midfielder, and yet another talent placed within Steve Bould’s Arsenal Academy side. Chuks has been likened to Steven Gerrard in his style, and has made several impressive performances for England U18s. Solidly built, Aneke may wish to follow team mate and friend Afobe in joining a lower league club.
Liverpool stole a march on Real Madrid and Barcelona when they signed Jesus Fernandez Saez “Suso” on a four year deal from Cadiz in 2009. Although signed by Benitez and unused by both the Spaniard and successor Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish has already stated that he may look to phase in his ‘new Torres’ after he scored a 25 yard strike on debut for the reserves. Described by reserve team manager John McMahon as “ a joy to watch, just need to give him the ball because he will create goals as well as scoring them”.
I could not, and have not, mention them all. So which U18 from your club is going to be a star? Let us know below