2012 was an incredible year in sport. From Europe’s Miracle at Medinah and the summer’s Olympic story, to ‘Aguerooooo’ and the unbelievable scenes in Manchester on the final day of the Premier League season, 2012 was a year of records. 2013 may be a slightly quieter year in sport but there will certainly be no time for a come down in the world of football. And for many players, this will be there year to break records.
With competition as high as it’s ever been, it’s an incredibly tough bridge to cross between youth team and first team football at the elite end of English football. The reality is that players will need to prove themselves on a loan basis in order to kick start their professional career.
With this in mind PitchSideTalk takes a look at potential young players who could break through into first team football this calendar year…
Andros Townsend – Tottenham Hotspur: No one can claim Townsend has sat and waited for his career to kick off in England. The 21-year-old has already endured loan spells at no less than eight clubs in his quest to seek regular first team football. With this movement, settling into a set up is near on impossible and although Townsend has enjoyed good moments on his travels, he has found it hard to learn his trade. However, he returned to join Spurs for pre season before the 2012/13 campaign and impressed enough for the club’s new manager to retain his services. Whilst his game time has been limited to a few sub appearances this season, the quick wide man has shown he can more than cope with the demands of the Premier League. If he can progress from merely coping to strongly affecting games, he should be one who gets more chances as the year goes on. It is not the time for another loan move for Townsend, who sits behind Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale in the winger’s pecking order, now is the time to deliver on a consistent basis at Spurs.
Lucas Piazon – Chelsea: Having initially began his football career playing Futsal, he switched to the grass form of the game at the age of 11 where his talent began to blossom. At 14 years old he moved away from his family in Cortiba to join Sao Paulo where he quickly progressed and caught the eye of a number of International scouts. Chelsea agreed to sign the Brazilian teenager in 2011 after fighting off competition from a number of clubs. At just 18 he has already been heavily involved with the clubs first team set up, making his Premier League debut against Aston Villa just before Christmas. He came on in the second half and looked more than comfortable in Chelsea’s midfield, assisting Rameires’ goal with his first few touches before winning a penalty which he subsequently took but unfortunately missed. With game time likely to be limited in the mega-star Chelsea side, a loan spell could be the thing to trigger the career of this hugely talented youngster.
Nick Powell – Manchester United: A product of the highly productive Crewe Alexander academy, Powell shone last season
with his first team performance at the club at just 18, prompting swift interest and a move to Manchester United. Since the move he has, as expected, had limited opportunity’s but is surely a future star at Old Trafford. The teenager, who can operate as a forward or anywhere across the midfield, will see an opportunity in and ageing United midfield, with players like Scholes and Giggs no longer playing as regularly. However, as always with United, he faces tough competition and will have to be patient with his progress.
Who do you think could be the break-through player in the Premier League this calender year? Comment below or tweet @PitchSideTalk to have your say!