The next set of Premier League stars are waiting in the wings.
With the 2013-14 season fast approaching, a selection of youngsters are readying themselves for a shot at increased fame. Last year saw a number of breakout stars, such as Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku, stamp their mark on England's top flight with a memorable run of games.
Who is set to follow in the Belgian behemoths' footsteps? Here are a few players to watch out for:
Adnan Januzaj, Manchester United
From two Belgians to another, we're going to start things off with an up-and-coming Red Devil. Adnan Januzaj has performed admirably across Manchester United's preseason, scoring goals, flaunting tricks and generally slotting into an effective role between David Moyes' midfield and attacking lines.
The 18-year-old is blessed with supreme confidence. He is willing to take the opposition on, create space with individual skill and shows great energy around the box. Januzaj is also a team player and will benefit from pass exchanges with players such as Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie.
Despite a brief showing in United's 2-0 Community Shield win, the Belgian has many impressed. This includes The Independent's Kevin Garside, who believes Januzaj's emergence is enough for United fans to forget Wayne Rooney: "With each game he plays, Januzaj lightens by increments Moyes' load by removing the urgency to resolve the Rooney conflict in a way that might be detrimental to United."
Nathan Redmond, Norwich City
Nathan Redmond achieved a rare feat this summer: He left England's disastrous Under-21 European Championship campaign with his reputation heightened.
The 19-year-old was terrific for Birmingham last season. Redmond is tricky to dispossess, clever on the ball and constantly looks to pass and move. There's an intense directness about his play as he forces the opposition into committing for the ball. The starlet is now ready to impress in the Premier League, as noted by Chris Hughton's willingness to sign him for Norwich.
Much like Manchester United's Wilfried Zaha, Redmond has an outside chance of making it to the 2014 World Cup if he can perform consistently at the top level. Roy Hodgson will be watching.
Jores Okore, Aston Villa
Strong, bullish and rapidly improving, Jores Okore is a smart investment by Paul Lambert. The former Nordsjaelland defender is already experienced at Champions League level and performed memorably in two difficult games against Chelsea last season.
At 21 years old, Okore is already shaping up to be a future star. His instinctive nature and turn of pace ensures the youngster is difficult to escape, while his presence in the air will add a sense of steel to Villa's young back four.
A future leader in the making, for sure.
Gerard Deulofeu, Everton
Roberto Martinez is likely to utilise Gerard Deulofeu in a bit-part role this season. The on-loan Barcelona B player promises great things, but like Januzaj, he will take time to assert himself in the Premier League.
Deulofeu is terrific on the ball. His speed and agility already defines him as one of world football's top prospects, but he has plenty to work on in England.
The physical challenge will be greater than anything he's experienced, and the starlet will have to get used to performing well in limited time. As a burst of energy from the bench, he will quickly prove to be a fan favourite.
Marc Muniesa, Stoke City
Alongside Deulofeu, another Spaniard is set to make his mark in the Premier League this season. Former Barcelona prospect Marc Muniesa represents surprising business from incoming manager Mark Hughes and signals a transition toward fluid football for the Potters.
Muniesa is a ball-playing centre-back whose dedication to improving will prove extremely popular at the Britannia Stadium. His anticipation and tackling skills are effective, allowing Muniesa to often sniff out danger before it gains momentum.
Much like Deulofeu, the intensity of the Premier League will challenge the 21-year-old like nothing before. Experience alongside the likes of Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth will help the starlet develop his aggression into a conduit for greater toughness, an excellent sign for the future.
Which Premier League players are ready to become stars? Let me know your picks in the comments section, and be sure to hit me up on Twitter:
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