Introducing The Boot Room’s 2018/19 One to Watch series…
Over the course of the summer we have handpicked 20 of the finest young players plying their trade across the England and Scotland, in the English Premier League, Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership and the Sky Bet Championship.
Join us throughout the season as we each individual’s progress in their attempts to establish themselves as a household name, both at their current club and within their respective divisions.
To view each player profile, simply click on the player button as you scroll down the page.
Now the completely undisputed first-choice right-back at Liverpool, Trent Alexander-Arnold will look to build on an outstanding debut season as a senior regular at Anfield.
Still just 19 years of age, the English defender almost seems like a veteran presence despite only becoming a regular starter after the turn of the year.
But that was before Liverpool’s incredible Champions League knockout run.
It was before he was afforded the chance to go the World Cup with England and make his senior competitive debut.
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Not many people saw Daniel Arzani menacing down the flanks of many an A-League pitch in the last 12 months.
Millions of people did, however, see the raw talent that the Australian possesses after three impressive cameos off the bench at this year’s World Cup – a tournament at which he was the youngest player.
And now he will head to Celtic on loan, playing in a league that will provide a sterner physical test while still allowing him to develop in the comfortable surroundings of a strong, attacking team.
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There are high hopes for Harvey Barnes at Leicester City.
Earlier this summer, Barnes signed a new four-year deal before being loaned out to West Bromwich Albion for the upcoming Championship season.
He already has second-tier experience, after scoring five goals and assisting four in 1,408 league minutes on loan for the first half of last season with Barnsley.
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Being a Lille player last season was not easy.
As a young team that seemed to implode under the tutelage of Marcelo Bielsa, both Yves Bissouma and Lille felt the effects of the instability and uncertainty the Argentine brought to the club.
Only playing inconsistent minutes and routinely being played out of position, Bissouma did not truly flourish until the latter stages of the season under new manager Christophe Galtier.
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Ben Brereton is one of the younger strikers regularly starting in the second-tier of English football.
At 19, he is quite experienced at senior level with over 50 senior appearances to his name. It has not always been smooth sailing, though, with only eight goals to his name for Nottingham Forest in his career thus far.
His first season as a starter was handicapped by being played out of position at times on the wing before the arrival of Aitor Karanka, who played him at striker, but in an ineffective attacking system that produced just 19 goals in 21 games after the Spanish manager took the reins at Forest.
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David Brooks’ move to Bournemouth has slightly gone under the radar. While its magnitude was not understated, the shrewdness of the move was.
At £11.5 million the Cherries went nowhere near breaking the bank to sign the 21-year-old but, nonetheless, was a productive impact substitute in the Championship last season – a role he will likely play this season too.
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From League One to the Championship to the Bundesliga to the Premier League; Oliver Burke has seen a lot for a 21-year-old.
It has not always been positive. His bright debut season in the Championship was followed by a difficult spell in Germany after RB Leipzig decided to spend over £13 million on the Scottish winger.
Back in England last season, after being bought by West Bromwich Albion for the same price, Burke was caught in another difficult situation – in a terrible team that also afforded him a lack of opportunity.
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Lewis Cook is an accomplished 21-year-old. Already he has won an Under-17 European Championship, a Toulon Tournament, and has been an Under-20 World Cup winning captain.
Additionally, he has won a Football League Young Player of the Year award, and has now compiled over 120 competitive senior appearances and an England cap.
This season, Bournemouth will increasingly look towards Cook as their most important midfielder after he finished off last season as an undisputed starter as the Cherries finished strongly and propelled themselves into a mid-table finish.
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Everton were active over the summer, but positions in midfield still seem extremely open for their academy graduate Tom Davies to continue to develop.
Heading into his third season as a first-team regular now, the 20-year-old has impressed in his ability to play multiple roles in midfield and fill gaps under previous managers.
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Issa Diop arrives at West Ham at just 21, yes.
But, contrary to the average 21-year-old centre-back, the Frenchman is a veteran of almost 100 senior appearances in Ligue 1.
For that reason, Diop did not come cheaply for the Hammers.
His £22 million club record fee presented a sizeable outlay, but also a commitment to the future – whether that be years of service, or resale value remains to be seen.
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Odsonne Edouard became the most expensive signing in the history of Scottish football this summer.
Celtic spent £9 million making his loan deal from Paris Saint-Germain permanent after he bagged 11 goals in just 1,259 minutes in all competitions last season.
His three goals in four Champions League qualifying matches have been crucial in the absence of the perennially injured Moussa Dembélé.
With Dembélé, there is potential for Edouard to be part of one of the most dangerous strike pairings in recent Scottish football memory.
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It is amazing that Jack Grealish is still only 22.
The Aston Villa midfielder has had a tumultuous career so far, marred by off-field incidents, but capped by some incredible on-field achievements in recent times.
One of those achievements was his form in the second-half of last season.
Arguably the best player in the Championship in that period, Grealish almost single-handedly lifted Villa to promotion.
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It still seems slightly shocking that other clubs did not put up more of a fight for James Maddison.
Now at Leicester, and ready for his first stint in the Premier League after a £20 million move from Norwich City, the Englishman seems ready to hit the ground running at his new club.
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Mason Mount has arrived on loan at Derby County as a well-known quantity.
The Englishman spent a number of successful years in Chelsea’s youth academy, featuring under the Rams’ new assistant coach Jody Morris.
As a Blue, his progress has also been closely monitored by Derby’s new manager Frank Lampard, who was keen to bring Mount on loan after his stunning season in the Eredivisie with Vitesse.
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The signing of Rúben Neves was a stunning coup for Wolves.
A product of Porto’s academy, Neves made his league debut for the Portuguese club aged just 17. A week later, he also featured in a Champions League game and a season later became the youngest player to captain a team in the competition, aged 18.
Evidently, his credentials seemed a level above a Championship side. However, the power Jorge Mendes made the dream a reality for Wolves, and Neves went on to propel them to the top of the Championship and Premier League promotion.
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Fulham teenager Ryan Sessegnon, still only 18 years of age, is about to undergo his first season as a Premier League footballer after helping guide the Cottagers to a promotion from the Sky Bet Championship last season.
There, the Englishman started the season playing at left-back before transitioning into a left-wing role in the second-half of the season, scoring 14 times in the last 29 games of the season.
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Kieran Tierney epitomises the roots of Celtic.
At the club since he was eight, the unassuming 21-year-old has established himself as Celtic’s first-choice left-back through a mix of both stylish and rugged football.
There is something about the Scottish international that harks back to bygone generations.
While the low socks and black boots of his debut season have since been replaced with more modern attire, Tierney still retains some of the hallmarks of an old-school left-back.
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Ruben Vinagre’s move to Wolves has been one of the moves that flew under the radar this summer.
On one hand, it is understandable. He was already at the club last season and the acquisition was the activation of an option to buy clause.
Furthermore, he only played 967 minutes of senior football last season.
He has the potential to be a more integral figure this time around. However, he now faces a battle with Wolves’ loan acquisition Jonny for minutes at left wing-back.
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Harry Wilson returns to the Championship on loan again this season with Derby County after a positive start to senior football career last season at Hull City.
His fruitful return of seven goals and three assists in 996 minutes for Hull was a healthy return after arriving on loan in January.
Not only that, the Welshman notched his first senior international goal with a tidy left-footed curler that looks as though it could become a trademark of his.
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Ben Woodburn has showed clear glimpses of a bright future already.
Despite struggling for first-team minutes in a loaded Liverpool attacks, Woodburn’s few performances in the senior team have been compounded on either side by excellent UEFA Youth League form and early signs of a sterling international career with Wales.
His first international goal against Austria last season was a vital one, scored minutes after coming on for his international debut in World Cup qualifying.
Now, he truly begins his senior career in the Sky Bet Championship with Sheffield United.
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