While the relegated trio of Fulham, Cardiff City and Norwich City are favourites to go up, a few star performances from some of the league’s younger faces could inspire an otherwise unfashionable outfit to promotion glory.
That was so nearly the case for Will Hughes and Derby last term and while the Rams remain the hunt for a Premier League place, we’ve picked out five youngsters who could emulate the blonde-haired maestro on the pitch.
Tyrone Mings – Ipswich Town
Aaron Cresswell’s departure for West Ham may have left a hole in the Tractor Boys back-line but one man more than ready to fill it is 21-year-old Tyrone Mings, who has usurped Elliott Hewitt as the natural successor to the Hammers-bound full-back.
On the books at Southampton in his younger days, Mings was discovered at non-league Chippenham Town but has impressed so far for Ipswich with 16 league appearances last term demonstrating his excellent ability in the air and fine passing range. Could be key to their play-off hopes.
Alex Mowatt – Leeds United
Though Sam Byram has garnered much of the attention, one other Leeds prospect flying a little closer to the radar is Mowatt, a midfielder by trade who enjoyed a breakthrough season with the Whites during which he made 29 appearances in the Championship scoring a goal along the way.
Seven yellow cards last term suggests he could do with displaying a little more discipline but at just 19 that is a small price to pay for an Under-19 England player with the ability to one day match the likes of former club legend Alan Smith by playing for England.
Cauley Woodrow – Fulham
One of a crop of extremely promising young stars coming through the ranks for the Cottagers, Woodrow left Fulham fans with a smile on their face on the final day, scoring a sensational last-gasp equaliser against Crystal Palace in an otherwise meaningless fixture.
Recent call-ups to the England Under-21 side attest to his ability and having earned his stripes with on loan at Southend, the hope is that Felix Magath can effectively integrate the youngster alongside summer signing Ross McCormack as Fulham go in search of an immediate return to the top flight.
Duane Holmes – Huddersfield Town
A leftfield choice, Holmes has generated plenty in the way of online attention having moved from the USA at the age of four, rising through the ranks at Huddersfield ever since. Born in Georgia to an English mother, the 19-year-old has set a target of representing the States at the 2016 World Cup.
An attacking midfielder also capable of playing in a deeper role, this could be the season where Holmes finally makes a major impact on the first-team, having benefitted from a brief loan spell at Yeovil last term and several Championship appearances at the back-end of the campaign.
Jordan Cousins – Charlton Athletic
Once linked with a move to Arsenal, Cousins was a shining light for Charlton last term in an otherwise dark campaign that saw Chris Powell depart. A total of 47 appearances in all competitions underlined Cousins’ progress and even better things could come this term.
Capped for England at four different youth levels, the midfielder, who can also play in defence, is the kind of player that could one day captain the Three Lions. Contracted to the Addicks until 2016, impress and we could see a big money move for Cousins come this time next year.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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