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English Premier League

Five youngsters who won’t make a breakthrough this season; featuring United and Spurs hopefuls



An article that bares on the hinges of a blog writer’s nightmare, The Boot Room has decided to take the plunge and predict the future. With a media frenzy over young talents at top clubs, usually English youngsters, the hype around a breakout revelation is becoming ridiculous, playing culprit to many young men crumbling under the attention and expectation of media and fans. The Boot Room hopes these 5 young men prove us wrong, if they do please feel free to let us know about it (@tbrfootball), but the prediction is that the players mentioned will not be a revelation this season, much to the disagreement of many. Here’s why.

Andreas Pereira

After a strong u20 campaign, calls for Pereira’s integration into the first team squad have since come from the terraces surrounding Old Trafford. The Brazilian talent has since had a pre-season to impress Louis Van Gaal and as will be hoping he has caught the eye to play more first team minutes this year, especially with the exit of fellow South American Angel Di Maria.

However, Pereira’s path to the first team is far from simple. A likely 4-2-3-1 formation is to be operated in Van Gaal’s philosophic footballing ‘balance’ this season with Memphis Depay, a £31 million investment, playing in the hole behind Rooney; he’ll be alternating with ‘false right-winger’ Juan Mata unexpectedly. Pereira’s favourite role is behind the striker, but he can play across the the attacking positions, and with the experienced talent ahead of him; his first team chances look bleak.

His youthful build won’t enable him to drop deeper in his search for first team action either, with a strong defensive midfielder needed in those positions. For this season, his main position could become the bench if a loan opportunity doesn’t arise before the end of the transfer window.

Serge Gnabry

A Theo Walcott type winger from Germany is how many would describe Serge Gnabry with a similar aesthetic look and play style to his teammate, Gnabry possesses slightly more then Walcott did at 20 years old. The German has a stronger upper body allowing him to utilise both his pace and his strength. Although the young man is talented, his lengthy injury means he’s lacking fitness costing him the chance to impress fully during pre-season.

Wenger, being prone to suffering tactically die to injury, is likely to leave him out, especially with fellow youngster Oxlade-Chamberlain scoring a confidence boosting, Community Shield winning goal against Chelsea before the season opened. It’s not that Gnabry is out of favour, it’s just that others are ahead of him. A loan move would enable him to avoid disappointment this season, with West Brom seeming the most likely of destinations.

Coming back from injury will mean a cautious Wenger won’t rush the electric German back into the first team fold.

James Wilson

With a severe lack of firing power at United this season, many have tipped Wilson to flourish. The young English man enjoyed the annual u23 Toulon tournament while arguably he was outclassed by Chuba Akpom, he started and finished as their first choice striker. First choice isn’t a word that will be used for him at his club this season however. Overshadowed by the number of strikers at Old Trafford last season cost him minutes while the consistency of Rooney this season will mean he is again being labelled as a prospect.

An improvement of position and awareness that may well come with experience is needed for Wilson to earn a starting eleven spot, while his innate ability to find the net needs to be shown on every chance he gets this season, if not the media will be stumped as to why a ‘future star’ hasn’t progressed as they predicted over the 2015-16 season.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

One assured performance against Liverpool last season, ending with an 100% pass completion on his debut, famously landed Loftus-Cheek in the swirl of the media’s high hopes for this season. He is a joy to watch, a player fans love since he does the basics right, gets stuck in and has an impressive amount of flair; all while being homegrown.

This youngster may get the most first team minutes out of the 5 players mentioned, however the players currently in the two defensive positions Chelsea play with are world class at what they do. Matic has fit in perfectly since his Stamford Bridge return while last season’s table topping assist leader Cesc Fabregas makes Chelsea tick. There is simply no place for Loftus-Cheek. He hasn’t got the experience or ability of the previously mentioned players meaning a place on the bench is his 2015-16 destiny. Although, do expect a few starts against smaller sides and many bench appearances for this fine young talent from England.

A future England midfielder who will struggle for first team minutes this season.

Alex Pritchard

Off the back of a superbly successful loan spell at Brentford, Pritchard may get his chance at Spurs, thanks to Harry Kane. The striker has shown Pochettino that Spurs have an array of English talent coming through the ranks. At 23 Pritchard has never been given a chance at Spurs but he will be given one this season. Whether he can cut it in the Premier League remains to be seen but he’ll need to show his best form during his time on the pitch otherwise he could be finding a new club come next season.

A first team chance is certain, however he may only appear from the bench. Like Pereira’s situation, Pritchard can operate both wings but prefers a central positon. The problem is Eriksen, Lamela and Chadli all seem to be senior favourites of Pochettino meaning there’s no room for Pritchard. A solid combination behind this attacking trio in Bentaleb and Mason means the former Brentford loan star will warm the bench this season, much to the dismay of many media outlets.


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Journalism student at the University of Sheffield. Freelance for TheBootRoom.


Jack Wilshere’s injury shows why Arsenal shouldn’t renew his contract

The 26-year-old has been struck down by yet another injury.

Jake Jackman



Photo: Getty Images

Jack Wilshere will be pleased with the progress that he has made since returning to Arsenal from his loan spell at Bournemouth.

He was initially nothing more than a squad player that was out in the cold at international level too, but the midfielder worked hard to gain more game-time in North London.

Across all competitions, he has played more than 30 matches and his form earned him a call-up to the England squad.

It looked like he was getting a once-promising career back on track, but almost like clockwork, he has suffered an injury to set him back once again.

Gareth Southgate confirmed that he wouldn’t be travelling to the Netherlands for Friday’s match and the quotes were reported by Sky Sports.

“It is not a specific injury and over time they flare up and they need to settle down over a couple of days.

“We are hopeful it will settle down pretty quickly. It’s an ongoing problem and it’s not something new for him. He’s very disappointed not to be involved in the game.

“He’s trained well though but if you think about the journey he’s had in the last two years and his big injuries then he’s progressing really well.”

Although it is encouraging that it isn’t a serious injury, it is a reminder that Jack Wilshere remains a risk for both club and country.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It is difficult to build a team around a player that is susceptible to miss matches and the quote from Southgate is a worry as he refers to an ongoing problem.

Arsenal have had a difficult campaign and they will be planning a rebuild over the next 48 months as they transition away from the Arsene Wenger era.

They will have to make tough decisions on many players at the club and Wilshere’s future will be brought into focus over the next few weeks as his contract expires at the end of the season.

There have been numerous reports regarding contract talks between the two parties and there is hesitancy on both sides.

This latest injury suffered by Wilshere and the comments from Southgate referring to an ongoing problem show why it is Arsenal who need to end this association.

Wilshere can’t be relied on to stay fit and to feature prominently in a busy schedule. Arsenal will have ambitions of challenging at the very top of the game and will likely be involved in European competition every season. They need to have a squad of players that are reliable and the 26-year-old isn’t that.

Aside from that, Wilshere represents what Arsenal have become over the last decade. He is a player that had a lot of potential, but he has failed to fulfil it and been very inconsistent at the highest level. Of course, he isn’t to blame for the club’s problems, but he is also unlikely to offer the solutions.

This season has been a nice farewell campaign for him. It would have been sad if his Gunners’ career had ended after being shipped out on loan to Bournemouth.

He has returned to earn some of his credibility back, but the club need to move on and progress if they are to get back to the top of the English game.

A lot of contentious decisions will need to be made and the first should be the release of Jack Wilshere this summer.

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Manchester United

Why Jose Mourinho’s treatment of Luke Shaw has crossed the line

The Portuguese manager has been highly critical of Luke Shaw this season.

Rob Meech



Luke Shaw
Photo: Getty Images

The fractious relationship between Jose Mourinho and Luke Shaw plumbed new depths when the left-back was substituted at half-time in Manchester United’s FA Cup victory over Brighton & Hove Albion. The 22-year-old had been handed a rare opportunity to impress at Old Trafford but lasted only 45 minutes.

Speaking about Shaw in his post-match interview, Mourinho said: “Luke, in the first half, every time they came in his corridor, the cross came in and a dangerous situation was coming. I was not happy with his performance.”

The differences between the pair now appear to be irreconcilable. Shaw, who was signed by Louis van Gaal in the summer of 2014, has been used sparingly by Mourinho. The former Southampton starlet has made just 18 Premier League appearances under the Portuguese in a career that has been blighted by injuries.

Being substituted at half-time is almost as embarrassing as it gets for a player and Shaw’s mood will not have improved after being publicly criticised by his manager. It’s certainly not the first time Mourinho has chosen to talk candidly to the media about his concerns with the 22-year-old.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Some players require an arm around the shoulder to perform at their peak, while for others it takes a kick up the backside. Mourinho, opting for the latter, does nothing without reason and has clearly tried to spark a reaction from Shaw, without success.

From being one of English football’s brightest prospects after making his World Cup debut aged just 18, Shaw, who has seven England caps to his name, is in danger of not fulfilling the potential that convinced United to spend what was then a world-record fee for a teenager.

Mourinho’s tactic of singling out individuals who have not met his standards is in stark contrast to Sir Alex Ferguson, who never blamed his players in public. It has divided opinion among pundits, with Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier claiming the United manager is ‘destroying’ Shaw.

Mourinho is an expert at using smokescreens to distract from his side’s unconvincing performances. And this latest controversy has moved the narrative on from United’s shock Champions League exit at the hands of Sevilla.

(Photo by Lindsey Parnaby/Getty Images)

Tough love is one thing, but the sustained, public attack on Shaw is unacceptable. If Mourinho genuinely believes he is not good enough to represent United, then fair enough. But to continually vilify the youngster’s performances is a step too far and one that could irreparably damage Shaw’s confidence.

This is not to say that Shaw is a completely innocent bystander. Mourinho’s predecessor, Louis van Gaal, also questioned his desire and general conditioning when he joined United four years ago. Indeed, the Dutchman signed Shaw up to a tailored exercise regime in an effort to improve his fitness.

But while van Gaal’s treatment had the desired effect, Mourinho’s has done the opposite. Being publicly humiliated on a routine basis does neither party any favours.

In all likelihood, Shaw’s disappointing United career will come to an end this summer. A fresh start away from the toxicity under Mourinho is exactly what he needs.

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English Premier League

Keanan Bennetts has perfect opportunity to impress Mauricio Pochettino this week

The left-sided star has a chance to impress in first-team training during the international break.



Photo: Getty Images

With the international week in full flow, plenty of teams in the Premier League have seen their squads diminished by call-ups to national teams.

Tottenham Hotspur are one such side. Nonetheless, with most of the first-team squad away with their respective nations, work continues at Hotspur Way.

In order for Spurs to have a full complement in training, plenty of young talent needs to be pulled in to the ranks.

Mauricio Pochettino will, therefore,e get a chance to see some of his young players training with regular first-team players such as Fernando Llorente, Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

One player who will be training with the first-team this week is talented wide-man Keanan Bennetts, according to London Live.

The 19-year-old left-winger has been catching the eye for the club’s youth team in recent weeks, making the news after scoring a fantastic goal for the under-19s against Monaco in the UEFA Youth League last month.

Bennetts has also been attracting interest for his positional dexterity. The wide-man has played at left-back in recent times and it could be that is his future best position.

This week he will be up against some excellent players such as Lamela and Moura, who did not receive selection to the Argentina and Brazil national teams, respectively.

If he can prove himself with this calibre of player, Pochettino will have to take notice.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It is coming to a point in his Tottenham career when Bennetts has to make such an impact. The teenager is out of contract at Spurs in the summer and needs to ensure he is kept on for at least one more season.

Tottenham fans who follow the youth teams are certain he is deserving of such a chance. If he can show Pochettino what he is capable of this week, then a new deal will surely be in the pipeline for the talented wide-man.

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