Casting an eye over the matches so far in the Premier League this season, various youngsters are impressing for a whole host of top flight clubs.
Some on loan, some discarded completely and others given full trust within the set-up, it’s hard to take your eyes away from the wealth of young talent littered amongst the top flight teams currently. In a league that often prioritises the big statement signing over giving youth a go, it’s a refreshingly new outlook from many of the big-hitters this time around.
Tino Livramento – Southampton
The first youngster under the microscope is summer signing Tino Livramento, the highly rated youngster swapping Stamford Bridge for St Mary’s in a deal that surprised a few Chelsea fans. Highly regarded as an exciting young full-back by The Blues, Tino’s contribution to the Chelsea youth teams throughout his time in the Chelsea Academy made him a very hot property for various clubs.
A full-back by trade, his plaudits came too through his attacking output for The Blues as a daring wing-back option – finishing a full season with the Chelsea U23’s with 10 goals to his name, proving Tino’s talent as an attacker as well as an out and out defender. Named on the bench multiple times by Thomas Tuchel, after initially being invited into the first team picture by Frank Lampard, it seems the Croydon born prospect wanted to test himself at the men’s level far more than warming the bench. A club notoriously infamous for allowing huge prospects to leave for peanuts, Livramento’s signing at Southampton did raise eyebrows.
Purchased for £5 million, Hassenhuttl has a steal on his hands in Livramento. Already featuring against Manchester United and Newcastle United, Tino looks a readymade first teamer for Southampton. Stylish, assured and confident, Livramento’s game looks far above his 18 year old self would suggest. Handed his first U21 England call-up a matter of days ago, and Chelsea ensuring a 25 million buy-back clause was present in the deal, the future is bright for Tino.
Conor Gallagher – Crystal Palace
Following in the same vain as Tino before him, another youngster with connections to Chelsea has been lighting up the Premier League so far this season. A wiser head with more experience, Gallagher is three years older than his ex-Chelsea counterpart Livramento and has proven himself in men’s football already. Starring on loan, as multiple Chelsea youth prospects have to, at Charlton springs to mind out of all his stints at Football League clubs – winning EFL Young Player Of The Month when featuring for The Addicks, an exciting prospect to watch at The Valley.
Gaining experience further afield at Swansea and with recently relegated West Brom, Gallagher’s creative spark has been utilised to devastating effect in his latest loan to date. Joining the new Patrick Vieira revolution at Selhurst Park, Gallagher has been a lively component to the Frenchman’s lukewarm beginnings as manager. In his first taste of action in a Palace shirt, he rattled the bar at home against Brentford after a passing move broke to the young midfielder. Cited as an ‘all-round midfielder’ by ex-boss Lee Bowyer, his performance at The London Stadium a few games later proved just that.
Unafraid to get stuck in and win the ball back, his two goals ensured Palace would pick up a point after a stuttering start to the campaign. His first was a difficult finish put past Fabianski, his second a goal of real skill – taking the ball after a pass found its way to him in the area, swivelling and placing a wonderful strike past the Polish shot-stopper for two apiece.
If the Chelsea loanee continues to impress for Palace at this same level, he could prove to be a crucial player for The Eagles as Palace transition from Hodgson to Vieira.
Harvey Elliott – Liverpool
Arguably the most impressive youngster has been left to last, 18 year old Harvey Elliott has been given so much faith under Jurgen Klopp so far this season. Featuring in the starting line ups against Burnley and Chelsea at Anfield, his performance against Sean Dyche’s side winning him praise from the Kop at Liverpool.
Wearing the number 67 shirt for The Reds, his performance stood out as one of great maturity – fouled countless times by the combative away side, yet still plugging away with great pieces of skill. He had a huge part too in Liverpool’s game-clinching second goal, orchestrating the passing move that allowed Sadio Mane to fire home. Facing up against the likes of Jorginho and Kante in the Chelsea clash, Elliott isn’t phased by constantly defying expectation as a kid amongst seasoned professionals.
At Fulham in 2018, he made his first-team debut at Craven Cottage as a wide-eyed 15 year old off the bench against Millwall. Likewise, a year later, he became the youngster ever Premier League player for The Cottagers as a late substitute against Wolves. To make your debuts so early, it shows the amount of faith managers have in Harvey to perform at the highest level. His performances at Blackburn Rovers last season also proved that this faith in putting him into the men’s game so young was more than justified, nominated for EFL Young Player Of The Season in a fruitful spell at Ewood Park.
Learning his trade in a league others could potentially shy away from at his age, preferring the luxuries of playing youth football, Elliott seems destined for greatness. With the trust Jurgen has in him, and two 90 minute matches under his belt now in Liverpool red, he is very much the talk of the town at Anfield so far this campaign.
Countless other names do spring to mind here in going over young players making a name for themselves at the highest level – Trevoh Chalobah and Carney Chukwuemeka for their respective sides – but the ones above feel to me like the pick of the bunch. All three in and around the England youth team picture too, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the likes of Harvey Elliott star for the national sides in the not so distant future.