English Premier League: Predicting 10 Breakthrough Stars for the 2012-13 Season
Every Premier League season, we see players failing to meet expectations. A player like Jack Wilshere, for example, would be a regular with England and Arsenal but for the injury problems he has suffered.
Nevertheless, there will be young players and new players to the Premier League that will perform better than expected. So, who will be the breakthrough stars of the 2012-13 season?
Nick Powell (Manchester United)
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Powell is the latest in a crop of talented players to emerge from the high-rated Crewe Alexandra youth system. The 18-year-old made a big impact for Crewe in League Two, scoring 16 goals in a successful season for Crewe that ended with a League Two play-off final victory.
Manchester United moved quickly to snatch him up ahead of Premier League rivals, and he could now make a big impact in the English top-flight during the 2012-13 season.
Korey Smith (Norwich City)
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Korey Smith found first-team opportunities hard to come by at Carrow Road last season. Smith is a product of the Norwich City youth system, but he is now 21 and knows that he needs to make that breakthrough.
Of course, he did play a fair amount of football in League One and a bit in the Championship. The fact that he has signed a one-year extension to his current deal suggests that Chris Hughton likes what he has seen.
The managerial change at Norwich may benefit Smith as he looks to make his mark on the Premier League. Fans have always been impressed with Korey's effort and work-rate in midfield.
Adam Lallana (Southampton)
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I have always been a big fan of the abilities of Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana. He has always had the ability to play Premier League football. He has decided to stay loyal to Southampton can now show the world what he can do on the big stage.
Expect Lallana to be a quality surprise package in the 2012-13 season. At 24, he is at the perfect age to be ready for the challenge of the English top-flight.
Pavel Pogrebnyak (Reading)
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Pavel Pogrebnyak offered glimpses of what he can do in the Premier League with his loan stint with Fulham last year. But is was only a brief spell and he isn't yet an established Premier League player. Nevertheless, Reading now have a player in their squad that has the ability to score goals to keep them out of trouble.
They have also shown their financial intent to survive in the Premier League. The 2012-13 season could prove to be the year that Pogrebnyak establishes himself as one of the leading goal-scorers in the English top-flight.
Ricardo Vaz Te (West Ham United)
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Vaz Te has been in the Premier League before with Bolton, but things didn't go well for him. However, he was able to rebuild his career in the Championship. Vaz Te was excellent for Barnsley and West Ham last season.
He will be keen to prove he is more than capable of performing in the Premier League. And if he can do that, he will make a point to his critics.
Henri Lansbury (Arsenal)
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It's surely time for Henri Lansbury to make his mark on the Premier League. The Arsenal midfielder has only really had a handful of opportunities to do so. Most of his football has been played in the Championship with loan spells at Watford, Norwich City and West Ham.
It's is clear that the midfielder is good enough for top-flight football, but time will tell if that will take place at Arsenal or elsewhere. The 2012-13 season should be the year that he makes a major impact.
Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea)
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Ryan Bertrand came through the youth system at Chelsea, but he has now been at the club for some time. The left back is now 22 years old and will be eyeing the opportunity to be Ashley Cole's long-term replacement.
The defender has seen opportunities increase under Roberto Di Matteo and will be hoping to make his big breakthrough in the 2012-13 season.
Steven Caulker (Spurs)
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The Spurs' central defender received a taste of Premier League football at Swansea last season. He will be looking to use that experience to establish himself in the Spurs' first-team. If that doesn't look likely, he may feel he needs to move away to get an opportunity in the English top-flight.
Josh McEachran (Chelsea)
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Chelsea midfielder McEachran is another player that is very highly-rated and has received some experience in the Premier League on loan at Swansea. It will be interesting to see if he can get a decent amount of experience with Chelsea under the guidance of Di Matteo.
The 2012-13 season could be the year that the midfielder starts to fulfill some of that massive potential.
Ravel Morrison (West Ham)
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Morrison was a youngster that was very highly-rated at Manchester United. Therefore, it was somewhat of a surprise when he moved to West Ham. But with the Hammers back in the Premier League, he will be keen to show what he can do and that United were wrong to let him go.