A great start to this year’s Premier League has seen some excellent displays from certain teams that are benefiting from their young English contingents. Swansea are looking towards European football following their narrow miss last year with Jonjo Shelvey (23) in particular exhibiting great form. John Stones (21) produced a solid display in Everton’s win against Chelsea and Manchester City’s new recruit Raheem Sterling has started the season well. The so-called ‘new breed’ of English players are performing well in the early stages, and with the European Championships looming at the end of the season, the timing could not be better.
Manchester City have strengthened well this summer and whilst their late acquisition of the Bundesliga player of the year 2014/15 Kevin de Bruyne may have stolen a few headlines, Raheem Sterling looks to be a fine addition to the City starting line-up. Hitting his first Etihad goal against Watford , the twenty year old has hit the ground running, giving the Blues some invaluable width and pace going forward. A regular in the England line up, the former QPR and Liverpool winger looks set to have his best season yet. England fans will have to hope that they too can benefit from his pace and goal threat, to the same extent that The Citizens have.
Everton duo Ross Barkley and John Stones; both at a tender 21 years of age, were the stand-out performers against Chelsea in their 3-1 win, with Barkley grabbing an assist in either half. Often criticised for his lack of consistency and decision making in the final third, the attacking midfielder has had a direct hand in a goal in each of his five starts this season and scored a fine header against San Marino at the start of September. Following the transfer speculation surrounding him, John Stones kept his head down and proved his worth in an excellent showing against Chelsea last weekend. His growing stature at centre-back has indeed not gone unnoticed. Real Madrid are said to be interested if certain reports are to be believed, and Everton will do well to keep him at Goodison Park for the foreseeable future despite the stoic attitude of Messrs Martinez and Kenwright.
Man of the match against San Marino, Jonjo Shelvey looks to have regained his place in the England fold for the foreseeable future, with a fine passing display in the Euro qualifier. Swansea have had a great start to the campaign and I believe that this is due in no small part to the ex–Liverpool midfielder. He has already produced great performances in the Swan’s win at Stamford Bridge and at home to Newcastle. Prepared to sit slightly further back in midfield, Shelvey is still more than willing to get forward and demonstrate a potent range of passing and eye for goal. With Jack Wilshere’s questionable fitness record; drawn into even sharper focus with his most recent lengthy lay-off, the 23 year old looks set to be on the plane to France this summer.
Yet to get off the mark for Tottenham Hotspur this season, Harry Kane (22) is still searching for last year’s form following his tally of 21 goals for the North London club in the 2014 season. For his country however, Kane is staking a firm claim for a role in the starting 11, scoring against both San Marino and Switzerland in September. As the saying often goes, form is temporary and class is permanent – the Spurs striker will be looking to hit form as soon as possible to remind us all what he is capable of.
Rounding up this crop of players is Manchester United’s Luke Shaw (20), who seems to have put last season’s fitness and form concerns behind him following a stand out display against Switzerland in both attack and defence. The £30 million full back was back to his best for the Red Devils in a more stable looking back four who have achieved three clean sheets thus far. Hit by a catastrophic injury against PSV, fans of Manchester United and The Three Lions will be desperate for him to return in time for the Premier League run-in and to have hit top form by Euro 2016.
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