Spotlight on Premier League’s young players to watch

The Premier League is awash with stars but there are always more young talents knocking on the door.

Monday, 11th January 2021, 5:05 pm
Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe celebrates his FA Cup goal on Saturday against Newcastle United. Pic by PA.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at 10 players that could make a big impression in 2021.

Amad Diallo

(Manchester United)

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The 18-year-old is set to arrive at Old Trafford in January from Atalanta in deal worth up to 41 million euros (£36.3million) – a pretty penny reflecting his potential.

The fleet-footed winger is one of the most exciting talents in Italy.

Eberechi Eze

(Crystal Palace)

After lighting up the Championship with QPR last season, the 22-year-old has made a promising start to life in the Premier League.

Expect Eze to quickly build on his goal and assist figures in top-flight appearances to date.

Nathan Ferguson

(Crystal Palace)

The full-back impressed during his breakthrough season at West Brom before moving onto Selhurst Park in the summer.

Injuries have so far prevented the 20-year-old making his debut but big things are expected of him.

Wesley Fofana


The pre-season talk was about William Saliba at Arsenal, but it his defensive team-mate at St Etienne last term that has shone in England.

Fofana, 20, has looked assured in the Foxes’ backline and is already improving.

Tariq Lamptey


The flying full-back left Chelsea, having just made his first-team debut, for Brighton last January in a £3million deal that quickly looked a steal.

Defensively assured and brilliant going forwards, the 20-year-old has a big future.

Curtis Jones


The 19-year-old is an old head on young shoulders, displaying maturity that complements impressive midfield work for his hometown club.

Jones has enjoyed some big moments for Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp will lean on him more in 2021.

Gabriel Martinelli


A relative unknown when he arrived at the Emirates Stadium in the summer of 2019, the forward saw an exciting start detailed by injury.

But the 19-year-old is back fit and proving an important option within Mikel Arteta’s armoury.

Emile Smith Rowe


Having spent time on loan at RB Leipzig and Huddersfield, the 20-year-old finally looks ready to make an impact in north London.

It is early days for the attacking midfielder but the academy graduate is highly thought of at Arsenal.

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has backed Smith Rowe to continue his fine form after the youngster helped the FA Cup holders beat Newcastle 2-0 after extra-time on Saturday.

The 20-year-old was introduced just before the hour mark at the Emirates and grabbed the opener in the 109th minute with a smart finish into the bottom corner.

Smith Rowe had seen red at the end of normal time, but referee Chris Kavanagh was told by VAR to review the decision and after the pitchside monitor was used, the challenge on Sean Longstaff was deemed only worthy of a yellow card.

Xhaka told Arsenal Media after victory: “He’s a lovely guy, a very good guy who wants to improve, he listens to us experienced players a lot and he’s so important to us.

“You can see how many balls he recovers, how many key balls he plays at the front and for the front guys as well he’s so important.

“He has to keep going like this, to improve day-by-day but he has a good mentality and that’s very important as well.”

Mohammed Salisu


While the 21-year-old defender has yet to establish himself at St Mary’s, the summer signing from Valladolid remains tipped for big things.

Patience has been required after injury but Salisu will soon surely make strides.

Fabio Silva


When you become a club-record signing at the age of 18, there comes pressure. Silva has yet to justify the 40m euros (£37m) price tag but the talented teenager will continue to get a chance to hone his game under compatriot Nuno Espirito Santo.