Premier League’s 2021 Rising Stars
With a revolving influx of talent and a steady outgoing number of retirees, the Premier League is one of the most interesting and dynamic football leagues in the world. Not only is it the top-tier of football talent according to certain pundits, but it’s also got some of the most spirited athletes and spectators in the world.
For fans and pundits alike, rising talents like Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka and Wolverhampton’s Pedro Neto provide an exciting topic of conversation with each match. For analysts who provide betting advice on top leagues around the world, young players who provide extra striking power or reliable defense can turn around a team’s odds.
Naturally, the Premier League is one of the toughest leagues in the world to excel in, but those who succeed aren’t forgotten quickly. Each year, fans and pundits alike look forward to seeing which talents will rise to the top. Keep reading to take a look at five of the Premier League’s breakout 2021 stars.
Recently called to play for England’s U21 national team, midfielder Curtis Jones has a bright future ahead of him. Under Jurgen Klopp, the player has quickly become a reliable fixture at Anfield since making his first team debut in 2019.
Though the Liverpool squad isn’t short on players under 20, Jones managed to slide by the competition and sign a long-term contract last July. Shortly after, he was named the Premier League 2 Player of the Season. The midfielder is known for his tactical skill and ability to read the field, a foundation laid by Klopp himself.
Leicester City, Defense
Also called up to England’s U21 team, Fofana has garnered attention from international groups who follow the Premier League. As a newcomer to the league, signed from Saint-Etienne in France’s Ligue Un for a whopping $43 million, Fofana is celebrated for his judgment, pace, and ability to recover the ball.
Though he’s also got speed, it’s his maturity on the backline that has attracted other clubs. Recently, Man U retiree Paul Scholes opened up to ESPN, hinting that those at Old Trafford should make a bid for the young player—and he’s not the only one.
Though Pedro Neto may not have quite the impressive record as others on this list, he certainly has the confidence. Recently, he made headlines for reminding the football world that Neto bested Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for the youngest scorer in Primeira Liga history.
However, he’s got more to tackle than a ridiculous goal count and packing on muscle. At the moment, his fearless on the ball is one of his main selling points, as it helps him net goals. However, he’ll need to continue developing himself beyond his time with the Wolves if he hopes to advance in the Premier League.
Much like others on this list, forward Bukayo Saka has stood out from the competition for his ability to read the field. A combination of healthy eating and the right training has seen him improve his game. Some pundits feel he’s a direct result of England’s improvements in its Academy system.
After spending years in Arsenal’s Hale End school, Saka is able to play in various positions with relative ease because he has a holistic understanding of the game. So far, Saka has started in 35 Premier League games, behind only three other players in terms of minutes played.
Manchester City, midfielder
Much like Saka, midfielder Phil Foden is a clear-cut case for homegrown academies. Developed at Man City’s academy and led now by Pep Guardiola, Foden is expected to be one of the leading talents in the coming years.
Now that David Silva has left, Foden may be afforded more time in the midfield—though it seems Guardiola is still hellbent on giving the player more time to learn. After ample input from pundits and fans, whatever Guardiola’s plans for Foden, he’ll need to find the perfect position for the midfielder. Fortunately for Foden, versatility is one of his most enviable qualities.