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Sinclair and Wilson among Premier League's next breakthrough players?

There are big expectations for Liverpool's Jerome Sinclair, left, Chelsea's Bertrand Traore, middle, and Manchester United's James Wilson, right, this season.

Star names and big-money signings may hog the headlines but fans are also frequently fascinated by the young players with the talent to build their reputations at their club. Terry Burton, the former Wimbledon manager, Arsenal head of development and West Brom technical director, tips five Premier League boys to break through to the big time this season and two more who are not far behind:

1. Jerome Sinclair, 18, forward, Liverpool

A lot of people would look at Jordon Ibe as someone ready to make his name, and I think they are right. But he has already started his breakthrough for Brendan Rodgers' side and Sinclair is the next really talented youngster pushing for a place in the team to watch out for.

He got a minor taste of the first-team with Liverpool at the end of last season and, after playing a lot for the club's junior sides and experiencing a brief loan move to Wigan, will be keen to make the all-important next step.

Sinclair isn't a target man and shouldn't be compared in talent terms to Robbie Fowler or Ian Rush at this stage, but he is a similar style of striker and is an exciting English prospect.

One of his strengths is how hard he works to get around the back of defenders and that is not always something you see in young strikers. Sinclair links up play well and can cause a lot problems in front or behind the opposition, not least because he has a nice change of pace and can find a yard of space around the penalty area.

2. Bertrand Traore, 19, forward, Chelsea

This guy is already a full international with Burkina Faso and is fast approaching his 20th birthday; it seems like the only reason he hasn't made an impact in the Premier League is that his move to the UK was held up by work permit issues.

However, that might work in Traore's favour as he has been developing as a player in the Netherlands while waiting to get involved at Chelsea. He has gained some really good experience on loan with Vitesse Arnhem, scoring 14 league goals there last season.

Traore doesn't have the bulk or presence of Didier Drogba, who left after last season and whose squad place he could potentially fill, but he is a busy player up front, can back into people and hold the ball up and then link well with the midfield.

Traore can also play anywhere across the front line, which is very valuable and seems to be something Jose Mourinho has favoured with his forwards. Some might try to pigeon hole him as a winger but, although he could be used as one of Chelsea's more attacking wide players, it looks like his best position is central to me.

3. James Wilson, 19, forward, Manchester United

United have been spending heavily under Louis van Gaal but Wilson was around the first-team last season, has scored goals for them already and now needs to compete with the better-known names for regular games.

The club invests in its youth system as well as the senior side, but he is the only youngster coming through at the club at the moment who you would think would be in Louis van Gaal's thoughts.

Wilson is another of those young forwards who is very mobile and it is good for England that there are a few coming through who are not just in the mould of traditional target men.

His talent has been clear for a while, thanks to goals at under-18 and under-21 level for United, and is a very hard-working front player. Quick, although without electric pace, Wilson makes penetrating runs and is good at dropping back to receive the ball and link play.

Out of possession, he puts in a very good shift, too, presses defenders and is intelligent enough to quickly take up good positions to fit into the team shape when the ball has been lost.

4. Serge Gnabry, 20, forward, Arsenal

Gnabry missed last season with a knee injury after breaking into the first-team the year before and it will be interesting to see if he can pick up where he left off.

He looked like he would be a big part of the Arsenal squad when he first emerged so if he can stay clear of injury now and play regularly, either for Arsene Wenger or on loan elsewhere in the Premier League, he could be a big talent.

The fact that he went to the Czech Republic with Germany's under-21 team even after spending all that time out last season says a lot about how highly he is rated.

What I like about Gnabry is that he has played in wide areas on both sides, so he is versatile, and has really good acceleration. He also reads the game well and makes good decisions when he is in possession. Importantly, he is technically good as a finisher but can also spot and thread a pass through when things get tight around the penalty area.

5. Chuba Akpom, 19, forward, Arsenal

I've worked with Chuba and it's a big season for him. He's had a three loan moves [at Brentford, Coventry and Nottingham Forest] and it hasn't really happened for him.

Perhaps he could be on a similar path to Harry Kane, who went out on loan a few times and built up his football knowledge and experience before he really found his feet for Tottenham. I hope so.

Akpom needs to make a significant impact at Arsenal or on loan somewhere else this season. He is tall at six-foot and strong like a traditional target man, capable of shielding the ball and holding it up, but he is also quick and can turn and run at people.

Technically, he's very good as he carries the ball and receives it well. At Under-21 level, he has shown he can score goals and has all the qualities needed; he's just got to prove he is the player that everyone thinks he can be.

Forward Chuba Akpom, who starred in Arsenal's 4-0 preseason victory over the Singapore Select XI, appeared in just three Premier League matches in 2014-15.
Chuba Akpom has made 26 first team appearances with Arsenal and in various loan spells but has yet to score a goal.
 

The question people will throw at him is whether he has worked hard enough at his game. As long as he fully understands he has to consistently work for the team, close people down and make runs -- that it is not just about him looking good -- then he has great potential.

There is no doubt that he is a very good individual player but it was encouraging to see him show himself more as a team player in preseason and if he continues with that, he has a very good chance of really going places.

Coming soon...


Tosin Adarabioyo, 17, defender, Manchester City

It is less of a risk for clubs to put young strikers in their teams than players at the back or in goal and that's why my top-five tips are all forwards. However, City have a local lad who looks destined to be given a real chance soon enough: Adarabioyo is tall at 6-foot-2 inches, strong, gets around efficiently at the back, passes well and won't often be outrun.

His age might count against him at City as they don't play too many youngsters but he will play in the first-team, even if it isn't this season.

Dominic Solanke, 17, striker, Chelsea

It's important to test players and develop their talents at as high a level as they can cope with and Solanke, who has the ability to play up front or as a No.10, played regularly in Chelsea's under-21s last season.

He has been away with Mourinho's side as well for the post-season friendly against Thailand All-Stars, scoring in that match, and may well get a loan at some stage this season. Championship clubs would take him, I'm sure, because he is a real talent.

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