by AFP/ pic by AFP
LONDON – With the new Premier League season kicking off on Friday, AFP Sport takes a closer look at four gifted youngsters who are ready to emerge as breakout stars over the next 10 months:
Despite helping Chelsea win numerous honours at youth level, academy graduate Abraham (picture) has only appeared three times for the first team, having spent the past three seasons out on loan with Bristol City, Swansea and Aston Villa.
However, the 21-year-old will compete with French veteran Olivier Giroud and Belgian Michy Batshuayi to lead the Chelsea attack this term and, in a boost to Abraham’s hopes of featuring prominently, he has been given the number nine shirt by new boss Frank Lampard.
Former Derby manager Lampard knows what he has on his hands in Abraham after the England striker netted twice for Villa against the Rams last season.
“I’ve got a manager here who believes in the young lads and will give you your chance if you work hard in training. That’s all I needed to hear,” said Abraham, who scored 26 goals during Villa’s promotion-winning Championship campaign.
Foden’s status as the jewel of England’s 2017 Under-17 World Cup-winning team is in danger of being tarnished by his lack of game time at Manchester City.
Foden started just three Premier League games for the treble winners in 2018/19 and 11 in all competitions.
David Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne and new club-record signing Rodri all block Foden’s path to more action this term.
But City manager Pep Guardiola continues to lavish enough praise on the 19-year-old midfielder to suggest he will eventually get his chance.
“I have said many times in press conferences, but maybe not said it in front of him, Phil is the most talented player I have ever seen in my career as a manager,” Guardiola said.
“His only problem is sometimes his manager doesn’t put him in the starting eleven. Hopefully in the future that can improve.”
After an impressive spell on loan with Bundesliga side Hoffenheim last season, Arsenal’s England Under-21 winger Nelson could be ready to make a splash at the Emirates Stadium.
The 19-year-old heads a promising group of young talents emerging from Arsenal’s academy that also includes midfielder Joe Willock and forward Eddie Nketiah.
Coming on as an early substitute in the Emirates Cup pre-season friendly against Lyon in July, Nelson provided an injection of pace and trickery on the wings and was at the heart of almost every Arsenal attack.
Nelson remains a work in progress, but is confident of imposing himself this term and said fans would be “shocked” to see his progress.
“Arsene Wenger gave me my first Premier League start (at 18) and I was very immature,” he said. “Now I have a more mature role about me.”
Parrott is a 17-year-old Irish striker tipped for the top after impressing Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino during pre-season.
Pochettino held Parrott back from joining up with Ireland Under-19s for the European Championship in order to fast-track his development during their Asian tour.
Parrott, who started up front against Juventus and Manchester United in pre-season, has scored 20 goals in 30 games at youth level and the Dubliner is versatile enough to also play wide or in the number 10 role.
“If we have the squad that we have today, of course he’s going to have the possibility to be with the first team,” Pochettino said of a player who could benefit if Tottenham’s star striker Harry Kane is beset by more ankle problems.
Parrott featured in several first-team squads in the second half of last season but is yet to make his debut.