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10 of the hottest young prospects in English football to watch out for in 2017

Date Posted,December 21, 2016

The new year is just around the corner.

And that means the transfer window is getting ready to reopen.

But sometimes, splashing the cash simply isn’t the answer. Sometimes, it’s better to look closer to home.

With that being said, Mirror Football’s Adrian Kajumba picks out 10 young talents who could make 2017 their big breakthrough year, and have a chance of establishing themselves in the first-team setups of their respective clubs.

Domingos Quina

Quina recently was named on the West Ham bench (Photo: West Ham United via Getty Images)

Club: West Ham

Position: Midfielder

Age: 17

One comment from Slaven Bilic sums up Domingos Quina’s potential.

“He is one of those players that you think if he doesn’t make it, then which player will?” said Bilic after Quina signed a three-year West Ham deal in November.

West Ham snapped up Quina, 17, from Chelsea at the end of last season after he chose to leave the Blues due to fears about a potential lack of first-team opportunities.

He has already had a couple at West Ham, featuring in their friendly against Juventus and a Europa League tie against NK Domzale.

Those appearances came after he underlined his reputation as one of the brightest talents around by helping Portugal win the under-17 Euros in the summer.

Quina also showcased his ability by scoring an audacious 40-yard chip for West Ham’s under-23s.

Bilic believes he has got “everything” he needs to make it as a creative central midfielder at West Ham namely skill, a first touch so good he doesn’t haven’t to think about it, vision, close control and dribbling ability.

Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho of England U16
Sancho is on a fast-track at City (Photo: Getty Images)

Club: Manchester City

Position: Attacking midfielder

Age: 16

An outrageously talented prospect. Sancho was bought from Watford as a 14 year-old in a deal worth up to £500,000.

If all goes to plan, that should prove to be a bargain. Considered by some to be not just one of the best talents in England, but Europe.

Such is the England under-17 international’s level of skill and the way he uses it to beat defenders, Sancho is described as being more like a Brazilian player than an English one.

Stick his name into Twitter or You Tube and it won’t take too long to find video evidence of why. He’s trained often with City’s first team, something that is expected to step up in the new year.

Sancho, who turns 17 in March, is one of a number of exciting teenage talents City have high hopes for. Midfielder Phil Foden, labelled the next Jack Wilshere, attacking midfielder Brahim Diaz and goalkeeper Angus Gunn could also make big strides in 2017.

Harrison Chapman

Club: Middlesbrough

Position: Attacking midfielder

Age: 19

Chapman in action for England Under-20s (Photo: The FA via Getty Images)

Boro boss Aitor Karanka is keeping a close eye on Harrison Chapman’s development and with good reason.

The 19 year-old midfielder is considered one of the best talents of his age.

He was marked out as one to watch after his displays for Boro’s youth teams last season before he joined Barnsley in loan.

One performance in the UEFA Youth League featured a stunning solo goal against Torino and led to Chapman being labelled a “phenomenon” by one Italian publication.

He has featured for England’s under-20s and caught the eye of Arsenal’s scouts.

Hartlepool-born Chapman finished last season on loan at Barnsley and is at Sheffield United this season but has yet to play for Boro.

Andre Green

Green made his Villa debut in the Premier League last season (Photo: Neville Williams)

Club: Aston Villa

Position: Winger

Age: 18

The most experienced on this list with seven sub appearances – two in the Premier League, including his debut – and a league cup start to his name.

But 2017 could be the year winger Andre Green really starts to make a name for himself.

Jet-heeled, skilful Green is big for a winger, standing at 6ft 2in, and is a bit of a dying breed of a wide man who likes to get to the byline and get crosses in.

Also takes set-pieces with both feet. Green is highly-thought of at Villa but has had to be patient after injury while new boss Steve Bruce opts for his tried and tested more experienced players.

But the door could open in January when three of Villa’s attack-minded players head off to the African Cup of Nations.

England under-18 attacker Green has caught the eye of Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool but signed a new three-year deal in August.

George Hirst

Hirst in action for England Under-18s (Photo: 2016 The FA)

Club: Sheffield Wednesday

Position: Striker

Age: 17

Following in the footsteps of a famous footballing father has proved to be a difficult task for many down the years. George Hirst is one who many experts believe can buck the trend.

Hirst is the son of former Sheffield Wednesday legend David Hirst and one of the most talked about teenagers at academy level. He is now trying to make the grade at the same club where his father became a fans’ favourite.

Hirst Jnr made big strides in 2016 – signing his first pro contract in March, making his senior Owls debut in the EFL Cup in August and then graduating to England’s under-18s. His progress should continue in 2017.

The younger Hirst is a different proposition to his dad; 6ft 3in, fast and with a bit of an edge to his game.

He is also a little more prolific – he has four goals in just five games for England’s under-18s for example – and that is no mean feat as his dad scored a more than respectable 128 times in 359 appearances for the Owls.

That March-signed contract runs until 2018 but the Premier League sides are already circling. Chelsea, West Ham, Newcastle and Southampton are among the clubs to have shown an interest in Hirst.

Noor Husin

Husin left Reading and joined Palace in the summer (Photo: Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Club: Crystal Palace

Position: Midfielder

Age: 19

Reading’s loss appears to have been Crystal Palace’s gain.

Not long after being released by the Royals in the summer, Noor Husin moved to Palace after a successful trial and has already forced his way into Alan Pardew’s first team plans. He has been named as a sub for their last two games

Reading’s decision has baffled many who have seen Husin play.

Husin was born in Afghanistan before leaving the war-torn country to move to the UK.

A talented, creative midfielder who loves getting on the ball and dictating play, Husin made a quick impression on Pardew who revealed one of the reasons he snapped up experienced free agent Mathieu Flamini was to help develop youngsters like Husin.

Another youngster Pardew rates highly is defender Michael Phillps who has also made the first-team bench this season for the game against Hull.

Reiss Nelson

Nelson has impressed at Arsenal (Photo: Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Club: Arsenal

Position: Winger

Age: 17

Next off Arsenal’s conveyor belt of wingers/attacking midfielders is set to be Reiss Nelson.

Given the way Nelson, 17 this month, has been fast-tracked through the Gunners system a first-team debut ahead of schedule would be little surprise.

He played for their under-19s as a 15 year old and featured for the under-23s as a 16 year-old.

Nelson joined Arsenal as a six year old and has represented England at under-18 level. He is one academy product who has been put in the same bracket as Jack Wilshere and Hector Bellerin were, as one they believe has what it takes to have a long career at Arsenal.

Nelson first trained with Arsene Wenger’s first team when he was 15, an indication of how much the Gunners boss rates him.

Speedy Nelson can play on either flank and believes his dribbling and ability to beat defenders in one-on-one situations are his biggest strengths.

Kyle Walker-Peters

Walker-Peters in action against Man United (Photo: 2016 Getty Images)

Club: Tottenham

Position: Full-back

Age: 19

Spurs are blessed with promising talent and have the ideal manager to give them a chance in Mauricio Pochettino.

Exciting teenager Walker-Peters is among the batch of youngsters just below first-team level and is rated as having a good chance of making the grade in 2017.

The 19 year-old is an versatile raiding full-back who can play on both sides and also operate further forward on either flank.

Kyle Walker and Danny Rose have cemented themselves as Spurs’s first-choice right-backs but Walker-Peters has the talent to challenge understudies Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies next year.

He made the bench for last season’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth and played for England’s under-20s.

Tashan Oakley-Boothe, a graceful central midfielder who makes the game look easy is another whose claims are being pushed at Spurs.

He has already featured for their under-23s at just 16, though 2017 maybe a year too soon.

Billy Gilmour

Rangers and Scotland starlet Billy Gilmour

Club: Rangers

Position: Midfielder

Age: 15

Billy Gilmour is already causing quite a stir both in Scotland and England.

He shot to prominence in October’s Victory Shield and is rated as one of the best talents Scotland has produced in 20 years.

Rangers are keen to fast-track him and he made his debut for their under-20s, despite his tender years, this month.

But the Premier League and Europe’s giants are already on the trail of a player likened to how Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere were at his age – significantly better than their peers.

If Rangers can persuade him to stay at Ibrox, which is believed to be the preference of his family, a first-team debut could come in 2017.

Chelsea, Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Barcelona may have other ideas though.

Josh Maja

Josh Maja celebrates the first Sunderland goal with Rees Greenwood
Josh Maja celebrates scoring in the Checkatrade Trophy (Photo: Sunderland AFC via Getty)

Club: Sunderland

Position: Striker

Age: 17

With limited money to spend in January David Moyes will have to look within for first-team reinforcements.

That could open the door for clinical young striker Maja.

London-born Maja used to be on Manchester City’s books and has the ideal mentor in Jermain Defoe, who has taken the youngster under his wing.

Maja made the Sunderland bench for last week’s 1-0 defeat to Chelsea. A day later he scored twice in his first under-18 appearance of the season in the FA Youth Cup and was described as being “head and shoulders above everyone else on the pitch.”

He could soon get the chance to test himself at the very highest level.

Swedish forward Joel Asoro, 17, is another Black Cats prospect to keep tabs on.

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