5 Breakout Stars in the Premier League 2011/12
The Barclays Premier League season is at it three quarter point, and it has hasn’t been a vintage season for the league as a number of top teams have struggled.
Nevertheless, a number of players though have come to the fore as the season has progressed.
Here we take a look at five players who have broken through this season in the biggest league of the world.
A couple of teams who have more than one player deserving a spot on this list will be given honourable mentions.
5. Junior Hoilett: Blackburn Rovers
David ‘Junior’ Hoilet has been the standout player for Blackburn Rovers this season along with veteran striker Yakubu.
The attacking winger has stood out while trying to help Rovers avoid the relegation zone.
A pacey and direct runner, the Canadian native has impressed this season to the extent that he has been mentioned as a future England international—even though he hails from Canada and is of Jamaican descent.
Harry Redknapp also admires Hoilet, who has scored 6 goals in the Premier League this season.
A long future in England’s top league awaits, though whether that’s with Blackburn or not remains to be seen.
4. Yohan Cabaye: Newcastle United
Yohan Cabaye may not be a breakout star if you are a fan of French football, but his first season in the Premier League has been an unmitigated success.
The diminutive midfielder has been a revelation as Alan Pardew’s side have continued to challenge the perennial Champions League challengers.
In one of the biggest signings of the season, the French international was signed from Lille last summer.
A great passer, he has worked brilliantly with the destructive nature of Cheick Tiote in the centre of the Newcastle midfield, scoring two goals and setting up five others.
Cabaye will be remembered this year for the superb free-kick he scored in a 3-0 victory against Manchester United.
Another Newcastle player who deserves an honourable mention is ‘keeper Tim Krul. The young Dutchman has really come into his own over the season and a move to bigger and brighter pastures could be on the horizon.
3. Grant Holt: Norwich City
Grant Holt is as about as British as a British footballer can get.
The big bustling striker, 30, has had an excellent first season in England’s top league after working his way through the lower leagues.
He deserves his chance and has a manager in Paul Lambert who believes in the abilities of the club captain.
He has scored 12 goals in his maiden Premier League campaign, and although calls for an England call up are a little premature he has definitely been a handful for defences up and down the league this season.
Strong in the air and uncompromising in the tackle, Holt is a Premiership defender's worst nightmare. He also has a good touch and is a good finisher when given the chance.
Perhaps two goals and a red card against Wolves on Saturday best sum up what Grant Holt brings to a team.
Another Norwich player who deserves a mention is Anthony Pilkington, the midfielder signed from Huddersfield Town in the summer, and has made the step up from League One to the Premiership with consummate ease.
2. James McClean: Sunderland
A year ago the casual Premier League fun would have shaken their heads when asked about a young winger called James McClean.
Signing for Sunderland last summer, the purchase was somewhat discreet compared to bigger names entered the Stadium of Light.
Initially, Steve Bruce didn’t use McClean and the young Irishman was developed in the reserves.
With the departure of Bruce and the arrival of Martin O’Neil everything changed for the tricky winger—O’Neil saw something in his fellow countryman and began to give him more and more minutes.
A very direct player who loves to run at people, James McClean is a scorer and also a creator of goals.
In his debut season in the Premier League he has scored 4 goals and has created 2 others.
He has impressed to the point that he will probably make the Irish squad for 2012 and deservedly so.
His truly is a name to watch in the future.
1. Joe Allen: Swansea City
Joe Allen was probably not a name people were expecting to be on top of this list, but the Swansea City youngster has been a revelation in his debut Premier League season.
A product of the youth system, the little midfielder has flourished in the Premier League along with a number of his teammates.
The Welsh international, 22, has more than held his own against some of the biggest names in European football this season.
Allen’s style of play is imperative to what Swansea do. Him and Leon Brittan in the centre of the midfield control the game similarly to the way Xavi and Iniesta do for Barcelona, just at a lower level.
He has scored three goals this season and also created another.
But it’s the stability he brings that is so important for Swansea, as he allows the likes of Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer to attack people with pace and create chances.
Of all the players shown here, Allen has made the biggest impact at his club and is set for very bright future.