The summer may well be time for transfer gossip, but once pre-season begins it’s also an opportunity for fans to see the vast array of young talent on the books at the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.
So far this year we’ve seen a particularly exciting batch of young players making a real impression in pre-season friendly matches, and we’ve picked out eleven who we think could be ready to make a big impact at senior level this season.
Of course, exciting young players come through all the time and many won’t make it, but for the moment we think this lot will be worth keeping an eye on in 2019/20…
Mason Greenwood (Manchester United)
A 17-year-old with a big future, Mason Greenwood has two goals in pre-season so far, including a very well-taken winner against Inter Milan.
Having produced incredible figures at youth level, it looks like Greenwood is now ready to become a first-team regular as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shows faith in him with some encouraging quotes.
The Norwegian was recently quoted by the Manchester Evening News as saying: “Mason’s never been on my mind to send out on loan, he’s one we have to keep at our place, keep him and play him when we feel it’s good for him and at the moment he’s fine.
“He reminds me a little bit about the Giggsy story, you can’t really send him on loan and for me he’s ready to be in this squad.”
Surely a big hint he’s set for a first-team role in the season ahead? If so, keep an eye on him as he looks like he’s going to be a real joy to watch.
Joe Willock (Arsenal)
Having made some impact in the senior Arsenal side last season, Joe Willock showed what he’s capable of and should now get even more opportunities to shine.
The Gunners have lost attacking midfielder Aaron Ramsey on a free transfer, and with the likes of Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan not exactly convincing, that should mean there’s a role there for Willock.
The 19-year-old comes from a footballing family and seems to be one of the most exciting talents currently coming out of the Arsenal academy.
Rhian Brewster (Liverpool)
After a difficult time with injuries, it looks like it could finally be Rhian Brewster’s time to shine at Liverpool.
Daniel Sturridge has just left the club on a free transfer, meaning this exciting teenage forward should now be bumped up the pecking order.
Brewster has made a good scoring start to pre-season, and one imagines he may get chances to fill in for the likes of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane up front, with all three having not had much of a rest this summer due to heavy involvement at international tournaments.
LFC fans love seeing a youngster coming through, and in Brewster they do look like having a major talent on their hands.
Bobby Duncan (Liverpool)
The cousin of Steven Gerrard, Bobby Duncan looks another huge prospect coming through at Liverpool.
Still only 18 years of age, the Reds forward is another youth player to make an impact on the first-team in pre-season so far, even if results haven’t exactly gone Jurgen Klopp’s side’s way so far.
It could be between Duncan and Brewster to make the step up into the senior Liverpool side, so it will no doubt be intriguing to watch the development of both players in the months ahead.
Oliver Skipp (Tottenham)
An 18-year-old midfielder who we look likely to see more of very soon, Oliver Skipp has shown plenty of promise in pre-season with Tottenham.
Skipp was actually a nominee for the most recent Golden Boy award, despite only playing ten times for the senior Spurs side in his career so far.
Still, it’s clear he’s something special as some fans have been impressed with trickery like this in the video below…
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) July 20, 2019
Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal)
A player who could prove a fine summer signing, young Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli recently joined Arsenal and has already got off the mark for them in pre-season.
The 18-year-old scored an impressive chested goal against Colorado Rapids, and has generally shown great pace and ability on the ball in his appearances so far.
While some Gooners were perhaps not expecting Martinelli to make an immediate impact on the first-team, we think he could be one to watch as he surely puts himself in Unai Emery’s plans.