Every year in football someone is branded the ‘next best thing’ and more often than not they don’t live up to expectation but here I have 4 players who are more than capable of living up to their hype and are going to shine this year in their respective leagues.
Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool FC
The player I’m focusing on first is rapidly becoming one of my favourite players around. But from a non-biased point of view he is a really special player. Coutinho is a right footed Attacking Midfielder but can also play out wide. His dribbling is one of his main key strengths, his dribbling made a former Inter team mate to liken it to a Ferrari. Yes it’s that good. Philippe has lightning quick speed and an immense technical awareness which can have defenders in knots in seconds. You can tell he’s a special talent by Inter signing him when he was 16 for £4million despite the fact he couldn’t play for the first team for another 2 years. His ability to spot a killer ball can split a defence and cause a goal scoring opportunity is what makes him one of the best talents around.
Julian Draxler – Schalke 04
Julian Draxler is a 19 year old midfielder playing for Bundesliga side FC Schalke. Despite being a young player Draxler made his debut in 2011 for Schalke and has since made just under 80 appearances scoring 13 goals at the age of 19. Julian is known for his superb technical ability and awareness of teammates around him. Julian also has keen eye for goal and is somewhat a long range specialist. In the past weeks there has been several reports linking Draxler away from Schalke but rubbished these rumours when recently signing a new deal with the German giants.
Lorenzo Insigne – Napoli
Insigne is a 22 year old attacker/striker who plays for Napoli in the Italian Serie A .With the sale of Lavezzi last summer Lorenzo has some big boots to fill and he is more than capable than doing that if not exceeding Lavezzi. Insigne can play anywhere in attack from centre forward to out-wide in the sort of role we saw David Villa play in for Barcelona. He was played out wide in his days for Pescara. His low centre of gravity means he can wriggle around situations with ease to advance and play the key pass for his teammates. One of the drawbacks to his game is he isn’t a goal scorer, he’s more the creator than the finisher. His dribbling and pace also makes him a better winger than striker. With big boots to fill this could be this season to make a name for himself around the world, watch out for Lorenzo this year.
Kevin Strootman – AS Roma
Strootman is a 23 year old midfielder for AS Roma in the Italian Serie A. His best position is a defensive midfielder , being a 6foot1 midfielder he has the ability to bully the opposition midfield. He is very effective with his tackling and rarely goes to ground when tackling, another sign of his pure strength. Strootman is most at home when in his own half and likes to play the ball around rather than looking for a 40 yard pass, a key attribute in the Dutch ‘art’ of Total Football. He has been likened to PSV legend Phillip Cocu with his playing style. Having just secured a mega money move to AS Roma he now has the task of proving his worth in a tough league, maybe he could prove himself in time for a place in the Netherlands 2014 World Cup squad.
Other players to watch
There are 1000 players I could have put in this list so here are a few more you should keep your eye on. Adam Maher of PSV will have big boots to fill with Dries Mertens leaving for Napoli. Staying in Holland, Christian Eriksen will look to have a good season if he stays in Amsterdam, if he moves abroad you still need to look out for this one. Tiago Ilori of Sporting Lisbon will be looking for a great season to attract a bigger move. Wilfried Bony of Swansea is another one to look at, having moved in the summer Bony will be looking for a good first season to prove his price tag. Oliver Torres for Atletico Madrid is one the biggest future talents in Europe and will maybe get more game time for Atleti this year and is one player I will be keeping a close look out for.
If you would like to know anything else about any of these players or one I haven’t mentioned please feel free to ask me on Twitter @ConnorParry17
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