A lot of teams are known to give young players the opportunity to shine in the Premier League.
Some convert the chance to a permanent spot in the team, some do not. We look at some of the young defenders – in no particular order – breaking into the Premier League in the 2016/2017 season, yet hoping to contend with some of the best players in the world.
First is Rob Holding playing at Arsenal FC. The 20-year old player has the opportunity due to the injury crisis that hit the defence. The centre half already had his debut when he featured in the pre season friendly game against the MLS All Stars in the United States. Coach Arsene Wenger said he was impressed with how he marked two-time former Chelsea forward Didier Drogba. Wenger said: “He reads the game well and understands what’s going on, anticipates well and that’s a quality at such a young age that you do not find a lot.” Holding was signed from Bolton for £2 million and is set to get Premier League matches as the injuries persist.
Ben Gibson of Middlesbrough is another defender set to take on EPL stars this term. The 23-year old player is a key player in the promotion-winning team from the English Championship. His left footedness for a centre half adds to his uniqueness.
West Ham United Reece Oxford was stunning when he played against Arsenal in the opening game of last season despite being just 16 years. There are a lot of queries if he would have more responsibilities under Slaven Bilic this season.
Everton recalled Matthew Pennington from laon on Walsall early in the last campaign as the defenders picked up injuries. He got a lot of first team plays, and has continued his decent campaign in the pre season. As John stones moves to Manchester City, Pennington is set to get more chances for The Toffees this term.