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Chukwuemeka, Garnacho & the 31 NXGN wonderkids who could become Premier League stars

09:00 BST 05/08/2022
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The talented teenagers you simply have to keep an eye on this season

The Premier League is back, and that means that clubs up and down the country are looking for new heroes who can help make their dreams come true.

Naturally, most eyes will be on big-money summer signings, but there is nothing better than when a teenager breaks into the first team and makes an instant impact.

We've asked our friends at NXGN to help us pick out the most likely players born in 2003 or later to make that leap in 2022-23.

This time last season, they correctly predicted that Anthony Elanga, Harvey Elliott and Tino Livramento were set for breakout seasons, so keep an eye out for these names in the coming weeks and months..

  • Stefan Bajcetic Liverpool 2022-23

    Stefan Bajcetic (Liverpool)

    Liverpool beat both Manchester United and the threat of Brexit to bring Bajcetic to Merseyside in December 2020, and the Spain youth international's progress has been mightily impressive ever since.

    The 17-year-old, who can play in either defensive midfield or as a centre-back, has spent pre-season training with Jurgen Klopp's first team and impressed in his friendly appearances.

    Regarded as a potential long-term replacement for Fabinho at Anfield, do not be surprised to see Bajcetic make his competitive debut for the club at some stage in 2022-23.

  • Sammy Braybrooke Leicester City 2022-23

    Sammy Braybrooke (Leicester City)

    Captain of England's Under-18s, Braybrooke has been likened to Luka Modric due to both his physical likeness and his role as a playmaking midfielder.

    The 18-year-old reportedly turned down interest from the Bundesliga to sign a professional deal at Leicester, and played a full season of Under-23s football last term.

    Braybrooke has trained with Brendan Rodgers' first-team on a number of occasions over the past year, and now seems ready for a step up to first-team football, though perhaps that will come out on loan rather than straight away at the King Power Stadium.

  • Carney Chukwuemeka Chelsea 2022-23

    Carney Chukwuemeka (Chelsea)

    The most experienced player in terms of Premier League appearances on this list, it looked for a long time this summer that Chukwuemeka would not be playing in England in 2022-23.

    The 18-year-old was left out of Aston Villa's squad for their pre-season tour after rejecting a new contract, leading to Barcelona and AC Milan stepping up their push to sign the star of England's Under-19 European Championship-winning side.

    Chelsea, however, stole in to agree a £20 million deal for midfielder Chukwuemeka, and though he could yet be loaned out again to ensure he gets plenty of first-team opportunities, English football fans should be glad that they will get to see him perform close up for a while longer.

  • Levi Colwill Chelsea 2022-23

    Levi Colwill (Chelsea)

    Though owned by Chelsea, Colwill's breakout Premier League season is now set to come at Brighton, whom he has just joined on loan.

    The 19-year-old shone for Huddersfield Town as they reached the Championship play-off final last season, and the centre-back is now primed to make his mark on the top-flight.

    Already an England Under-21 international, many Chelsea fans believed he was ready to step up at Stamford Bridge, but the prospect of more minutes elsewhere is set to see another academy graduate depart the Blues.

  • Liam Delap Manchester City 2022-23

    Liam Delap (Man City)

    Last season was expected to be Delap's breakout campaign in senior football, but injuries put paid to that, leaving him hungry to prove himself this time around.

    Previously compared to Erling Haaland, the 19-year-old is unlikely to get a look-in at City following the arrival of the Norwegian this summer, and the club are open to him leaving on loan.

    Southampton have reportedly had a permanent bid turned down, and it is hoped that Delap will get top-flight experience this term, rather than dropping down to the Championship.

  • Alfie Devine England 2022

    Alfie Devine (Tottenham)

    Another of England's stars from their Under-19s Euros triumph, midfielder Devine is already Tottenham's youngest-ever player and scorer after netting against Marine in the FA Cup in early 2021.

    That remains the 18-year-old's sole first-team appearance since joining from Wigan in a £300,000 deal in the summer of 2020, but he has continued to impress in the U23s.

    He could yet follow fellow Spurs prospect Dane Scarlett out on loan after the striker joined Portsmouth, but if he does remain in north London, then do not be surprised to see him work his way into Antonio Conte's squad.

  • Malcolm Ebiowei Crystal Palace 2022-23

    Malcolm Ebiowei (Crystal Palace)

    Palace beat off competition from Manchester United to sign Ebiowei this summer as the winger joined on a free transfer from Derby County.

    The 18-year-old shone for Derby despite their relegation from the Championship last term, and his performances in pre-season have led to Patrick Vieira halting plans to send Ebiowei back out on loan.

    Instead, he will have the chance to compete with and learn from the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Ebe Eze and Michael Olise at Selhurst Park.

  • Julio Enciso Brighton 2022-23

    Julio Enciso (Brighton)

    Already a full Paraguay international and a veteran of almost 70 first-team games for boyhood club Libertad, Enciso was signed by Brighton in an initial £9.5 million deal this summer.

    The 18-year-old is known primarily for his shooting and dribbling ability, and is able to play both as a central striker and out wide.

    He could yet be loaned out to gain more experience of European football before making an impact for the Seagulls, but if he stays, he has the potential to make an instant impact on the Premier League.

  • Josh Feeney Aston Villa 2022-23

    Josh Feeney (Aston Villa)

    Captain of England Under-17s, Villa beat the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal to sign Feeney from Fleetwood Town a year ago, and the centre-back has wasted little time in catching the eye.

    The 17-year-old has already made Steven Gerrard's matchday squad in the Premier League and continued to impress after being a surprise inclusion on Villa's pre-season tour of Australia.

    Still requiring physical improvements to become a regular in senior football, he could yet earn his first professional minutes before the campaign is out.

  • Evan Ferguson Ireland 2022

    Evan Ferguson (Brighton)

    The second-youngest player to appear in last season's Premier League, striker Ferguson was a regular in Graham Potter's squad through the second half of 2021-22.

    The 17-year-old turned down Liverpool to join Brighton from Bohemians in 2021, and has scored freely at youth level ever since.

    And Ireland Under-21 international, expect Ferguson to earn more first-team minutes, either at the Amex Stadium or out on loan, in 2022-23.

  • Alejandro Garnacho Manchester United 2021-22

    Alejandro Garnacho (Man Utd)

    The star of United's Youth Cup-winning side last season, Garnacho was rewarded with his first-team debut during the final weeks of the campaign.

    The 18-year-old forward has become a popular figure among supporters due in no small part to his eye for the spectacular, as well as his habit of imitating classic goal celebrations.

    Part of the United squad in pre-season, the aim for Garnacho now is to continue catching the eye in the Under-21s so as to force his way into Erik ten Hag's plans.

  • Kaide Gordon Liverpool 2021-22

    Kaide Gordon (Liverpool)

    The youngest player to appear in last season's Premier League, Gordon has already given Liverpool fans a glimpse of his ability when scoring in the FA Cup back in January.

    The 17-year-old, who joined Liverpool from Derby County in 2021, can play either as an attacking midfielder or a wide forward, though the latter looks likeliest to be where he plays for Jurgen Klopp's team.

    And while arrival of Fabio Carvalho and continued emergence of Harvey Elliott means Gordon remains down the pecking order at Anfield, further top-flight minutes should not be beyond him in 2022-23.

  • Archie Gray Leeds United 2021-22

    Archie Gray (Leeds United)

    Gray may have only turned 16 in March, but Leeds manager Jesse Marsch has already confirmed that he will be considered a first-team player in 2022-23.

    Described by Marsch as being "the full package", the midfielder looks set to become the third generation of his family to represent Leeds, with his grandfather and father having both played for the Elland Road outfit.

    Gray made the bench for Leeds last season, and would have become the Premier League's youngest-ever player if he had made it on, but now finally looks set to make his mark in West Yorkshire.

  • Luke Harris Fulham 2022-23

    Luke Harris (Fulham)

    Despite being a midfielder, Harris was a goalscoring revelation for Fulham's Under-23s last season, netting 13 times in just 18 games.

    Only three players scored more times in Premier League 2 than the 17-year-old, and he has caught the eye during pre-season for the Marco Silva's newly-promoted side.

    A Wales youth international, Harris could well be about to follow Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho in reaching the top after emerging from the academy at Craven Cottage.

  • Leo Hjelde Leeds United 2022-23

    Leo Hjelde (Leeds United)

    Hjelde made three appearances for Leeds last season, and he has a chance of adding to that tally in 2022-23, especially early in the campaign.

    The versatile defender, who can play as a centre-back or left-back, could be required to fill in for Junior Firpo and Stuart Dallas as they both sit out the early weeks of the season with injuries.

    Hjelde, who will not turn 19 until the end of August, was likened to Virgil van Dijk during his time at Celtic before joining Leeds in the summer of 2021.

  • Zidane Iqbal Manchester United 2022-23

    Zidane Iqbal (Man Utd)

    The breakout star of Manchester United's pre-season, Iqbal caused plenty of excitement with his confident substitute appearances over the summer.

    Already a full Iraq international, the 19-year-old could barely have done more to catch Erik ten Hag's eye, and it could yet be enough to earn a regular place in the Dutch coach's matchday squad.

    If not, he is likely to go out on loan and earn first-team experience elsewhere with a view to him breaking through at Old Trafford in the years to come.

  • Tim Iroegbunam Aston Villa 2022-23

    Tim Iroegbunam (Aston Villa)

    Chukwuemeka might be gone, but he was not the only talented teenage midfielder on Aston Villa's books, with Iroegbunam having already earned a Premier League start towards the end of last season.

    The 19-year-old was also key to England U19s winning the European Championship earlier this summer, and the ex-West Brom academy star has a fan in Steven Gerrard.

    More defensively-minded than the departed Chukwuemeka, he will likely start the season as back-up to new signing Boubacar Kamara.

  • Kayky Manchester City 2022-23

    Kayky (Man City)

    City could end up paying over £20 million for Kayky if he reaches the very top, with such an investment a sign of the freakish ability the Brazilian possesses.

    Dubbed 'the left-footed Neymar' while at Fluminense, the 19-year-old has had limited opportunities to show off his skills in English football thus far.

    But given the money spent on him, expect Kayky to feature every so often for Pep Guardiola's team.

  • Kacper Kozlowski Union Saint-Gilloise 2021-22

    Kacper Kozlowski (Brighton)

    Signed for £8 million back in January, Kozlowski spent the second half of last season loan in Belgium with Union Saint-Gilloise.

    The 18-year-old midfielder fought back from being forced into a back brace following a car accident to become the youngest player in European Championship history when representing Poland last summer.

    Now, with Yves Bissouma having left for Tottenham, there is a chance for Kozlowski to earn minutes in midfield at the Amex Stadium this season.

  • Romeo Lavia Southampton 2022-23

    Romeo Lavia (Southampton)

    Though Lavia is yet to make his Premier League debut, Southampton were still willing to fork out an initial £10.5 million to sign him from Manchester City this summer, such is the midfielder's obvious talent.

    At 18, Lavia has the potential to become one of the most well-rounded holding midfielders in world football, and he is likely to be given plenty of opportunities to impress by Ralph Hasenhuttl.

    Last season, it was Tino Livramento who broke out at St. Mary's after joining from a 'Big Six' club. It would not be a shock if Lavia followed a similar path in 2022-23.

  • Marquinhos Arsenal 2022-23

    Marquinhos (Arsenal)

    Arsenal's first signing of the summer, Marquinhos arrived from Sao Paulo in a deal worth up to £3m back in June.

    The 19-year-old has been tipped to follow in the footsteps of Gabriel Martinelli in north London, with his pace and finishing ability not dissimilar to his new Brazilian team-mate.

    That said, Marquinhos will still likely have to wait for his opportunities this season given the depth of attacking talent Mikel Arteta has at his disposal.

  • Luke Mbete Manchester City 2022-23

    Luke Mbete (Man City)

    While fellow homegrown centre-backs CJ Egan-Riley and Taylor Harwood-Bellis were leaving Manchester City to join Burnley this summer, Mbete was putting pen to paper to on a new five-year contract at the Etihad Stadium.

    That is an illustration of the regard the 18-year-old is held in, and Pep Guardiola has previously singled him out in press conferences when talking up the club's academy talents.

    The challenge now for Mbete, who was previously on the books at Brentford, is to force his way into contention at what is City's deepest position.

  • Hannibal Mejbri Manchester United 2022-23

    Hannibal Mejbri (Man Utd)

    Given Manchester United's midfield issues, it is something of a surprise that Hannibal has not been given more first-team opportunities over the past 12 months or so.

    The 19-year-old who joined from Monaco to much fanfare in 2019 has made just three first-team appearances thus far for United, though he is a 16-time capped Tunisia international.

    He certainly showed against Liverpool late last season that he is up for the fight, while he possesses masses of technical ability. Now he just needs a coach to believe in him a little more.

  • Stanley Mills Everton 2022-23

    Stanley Mills (Everton)

    A surprise call-up to the Everton squad for their pre-season tour of the United States, Mills thrilled supporters with his performances and could now force himself into Frank Lampard's plans.

    The 18-year-old, who is the son of former England defender Danny Mills, can play as either a winger or wing-back, predominantly down the right-hand side.

    Lampard is set to start the season with a back three, meaning an opportunity for Mills to earn minutes is certainly there.

  • Brooke Norton-Cuffy England 2022

    Brooke Norton-Cuffy (Arsenal)

    Norton-Cuffy became the name on a number of Arsenal fans' lips during the second half of last season as the full-back put in a series of eye-catching performances while on loan at Lincoln City.

    The 18-year-old backed that up by playing a starring role for England as they won the Under-19s Euros, and looks primed for a full season of senior football.

    With Takehiro Tomiyasu and Cedric Soares ahead of him in the pecking order at the Emirates, he may well have to move on loan to earn such experience, but Arsenal do believe he is a first-team player of the future.

  • Calvin Ramsay Liverpool 2022-23

    Calvin Ramsay (Liverpool)

    Liverpool beat off stiff competition from other Premier League sides to land Ramsay this summer, paying Aberdeen £4 million to bring the right-back to Anfield.

    The 19-year-old is set to slot into the squad role that was vacated by Neco Williams after his move to Nottingham Forest and provide back-up for Trent Alexander-Arnold.

    A player who provided plenty of assists during his first full season of senior football in 2021-22, expect Ramsay to get the odd run out as a substitute in the early months of the campaign.

  • Aaron Ramsey Aston Villa 2022-23

    Aaron Ramsey (Aston Villa)

    When the Ramsey brothers were both in the Villa academy, it was Aaron, not Jacob, who was most regularly tipped to become a star.

    Jacob has, of course, gone onto great things at Villa Park, and now there is some pressure on 19-year-old Aaron to follow suit.

    An attacking midfielder, he certainly has the ability to become a Premier League player, and showcased that as part of England's triumphany Under-19s team at this summer's Euros.

  • Shola Shoretire Manchester United 2021-22

    Shola Shoretire (Man Utd)

    The youngest player to ever appear for Manchester United in European competition, Shoretire did not quite kick on as many hoped he would during the 2021-22 season.

    The 18-year-old spent the majority of the campaign with the Under-23s, and did not make his first Premier League appearance of the season until the final day.

    He was left out of Erik ten Hag's pre-season tour squad in the hope he could secure a loan move and earn first-team experience elsewhere, but if he stays, expect him to be pushing for a place in the Dutch coach's matchday squad.

  • Dale Taylor Nottingham Forest 2022-23

    Dale Taylor (Nottingham Forest)

    Already a full Northern Ireland international at the age of 18, Taylor was one of the stars of the Forest side that reached the FA Youth Cup final last season.

    The forward is yet to make his first-team bow at the City Ground, but did sign a new three-year deal with the club in July.

    There has been plenty of player turnover at Forest this summer, but Taylor will be hopeful of forcing his way into Steve Cooper's plans.

  • Harvey Vale England 2022

    Harvey Vale (Chelsea)

    The captain of the England Under-19s who won the European Championship, Vale was voted Chelsea's Academy Player of the Year last season.

    The versatile 18-year-old is now ready to make the step into first-team action, though minutes at Chelsea are likely to prove tough to come by.

    That said, there may be other Premier League sides out there who could do with an on-loan squad player capable of filling in at left-back, in central midfield and on the wing.

  • Reece Welch Everton 2022-23

    Reece Welch (Everton)

    Another who has caught the eye during pre-season, Welch appeared on the bench for Everton on multiple occasions towards the end of last season.

    The 18-year-old centre-back has all the tools to make it as a Premier League player, and Frank Lampard's team could well be looking for fresh faces in defence if performances do not improve from 2021-22.