Premier League Talent Scout: Hottest Prospects of Matchday 4 in the EPL
After a two week hiatus, Premier League Talent Scout is back.
If you still haven't caught on to the awesomeness that is Premier League Talent Scout, here is what it is:
At Premier League Talent Scout, we take a look at all the English Premier League games played over the weekend and identify the top five young players from those games, in the hopes of unearthing and tracking the biggest Premier League and world stars of tomorrow.
Matchday 3's article can be found here.
Matchday 4 went quite as expected, for the most part: Five out of the "Big Six" teams of the English Premier League picked up wins, but their were surprises as nitty-gritty Stoke City pulled out a 1-0 win over Liverpool.
Elsewhere, Aston Villa and Everton played out an exciting 2-2 draw, while Joey Barton's early reunion with Newcastle ended in a draw.
Let's see which youngsters stood out above the rest this week.
Note: I've decided to change things up at Premier League Talent Scout starting this week on. Instead of putting the cap at 21 and younger, I've decided to change the criteria to 23 and younger to include some of the brighter young stars playing in the league.
To prevent experienced players from being included, though, players who have played five or more years of regular professional football already prior to this season are ineligible for selection, even if they meet the age criterion.
HM: Adel Taarabt
Though QPR did not manage to secure a victory over Newcastle on Monday, Adel Taarabt and Shaun Wright-Phillips' respective performances ensured that QPR were the dominant team on the day, and much more deserving of the victory than Newcastle.
As usual, Adel Taarabt was a livewire, skipping past defenders time and time again, and opening up play. In addition, Taarabt was able to take three shots, two of which ended up on target.
If Taarabt and Shaun Wright-Phillips can start forming a bit of an understanding on the pitch, QPR will likely see their fortunes improve dramatically.
Here's hoping that it happens.
He may have been on the losing side, but Steven Caulker was easily the most impressive prospect playing in the Arsenal—Swansea matchup this past weekend, and beats out Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and Emmanuel Frimpong for inclusion in this week's top five.
The 6'3" Englishman was a wall in defense. Arsenal may have managed to score a lucky goal off a mistake from Michel Vorm, but were prevented from scoring many more goals by Steven Caulker.
The 19-year-old made an excellent goal-line clearance to prevent Theo Walcott from putting the Gunners 1-0 up, and was active in defense throughout the game.
Given Tottenham's current lack of quality options in central defense, Spurs fans will be counting down the days until Steven Caulker returns to Tottenham and is incorporated into the first team.
A very bright future lies ahead of Steven Caulker.
Introducing the man who Blackburn will be relying on to help them avoid relegation: Ruben Rochina.
Ruben Rochina was snapped up by Blackburn in January of last year, after being a member of the Barcelona youth system since the age of 13. Deemed to still be a raw talent, Rochina only made a few substitute appearances prior to the end of the season.
This season, however, with Blackburn Rovers in desperate need of quality players to help the club avoid relegation, Ruben Rochina looks likely to be trusted with a lot more game time—especially since he has already scored three goals in three appearances this season for Blackburn.
Rochina's goal against Fulham this past weekend was a beauty, and can be seen here. At only 20 years old, Rochina has a great deal of upside, and Blackburn will be hoping for much more from the Barcelona product.
When has Phil Jones not made the top five of Premier League Talent Scout? Answer: Never.
The defender, who has thus far made the cut for every single edition of Premier League Talent Scout easily, makes the cut once again with another sublime performance in defense.
After three very impressive games at center back, Sir Alex Ferguson decided to experiment with Phil Jones at right back, and the move definitely paid off for Manchester United.
Phil Jones bombed forward regularly, and picked up two assists. His first assist came off a cross which Wayne Rooney easily converted, his second came after Jones had made an excellent run into the box and had his shot saved only to fall to Rooney's feet and be shot back into the net.
Will Phil Jones ever have a bad week? We'll just have to wait and see, but after four games Phil Jones does not look like he we will be losing steam anytime soon.
After last season, most people do not consider Javier Hernandez to still be a "prospect", but at 23 years old, and with only three years of regular professional football under his belt, Javier Hernandez easily meets the requirements for inclusion on this list.
It must be said: Javier Hernandez is one lucky guy. This isn't referring to the way he scores his goals; its just his whole story is a very fortuitous one. The fact that he was scouted from Mexico and brought to Manchester United was very lucky for Hernandez, as he could've easily ended up in Holland or at a weaker team in the EPL or La Liga, like most talented Mexican youngsters do.
Then, the fact that Sir Alex Ferguson trusted Hernandez to outperform Berbatov was very lucky as well, as few managers in the world would've shown the same trust in Hernandez that Ferguson did.
Finally, the reason why I made this point in the first place, is that Hernandez is very lucky that Welbeck got injured when he did.
Having won Manchester United the game against Tottenham, Danny Welbeck looked to be in great form, and Sir Alex probably would've had no choice but to stick with Welbeck and allow him to continue to perform, relegating Hernandez to the bench in the meantime.
Lucky for Hernandez, though, Welbeck picked up a knock in the game against Arsenal, allowing Hernandez to be restored to the starting lineup against Bolton—and to remind Sir Alex Ferguson why he is so important to the team with two poached goals.
With so many strikers waiting in the wings at Manchester United, Hernandez will have to keep scoring and stay on top of his game if he hopes to continue starting.
Finally, we come to the reason why I changed the rules for this column: Daniel Sturridge.
At 22 years old, Daniel Sturridge is still looking to make his breakthrough with a big team. He has the skills necessary to do so; he made that very obvious at Bolton last year. He just needs to be given the opportunity to stake his claim for the starting job, an opportunity which neither Chelsea nor Manchester City have presented him with, until now.
In his first game back from suspension, Daniel Sturridge was very impressive. Unlike Fernando Torres in recent weeks, Daniel Sturridge looked very nimble and dangerous, and showed great creativity and courage to score the winner for Chelsea with a cheeky backheel.
With Torres having started in the Champions League, there is hope that Sturridge will continue to start in the league and be given the opportunity to stake his claim for the starting job at striker, in front of both Drogba and Torres.
He may not have the automatic name recognition that the latter two have, but when it comes down to skill, Sturridge has all it takes to make Chelsea a dangerous title-challenger once again; he just needs the opportunities to prove it.
What do you think of this week's selections? Are there any players you think should've made the top-five cut that didn't? How about the players on the list, do you believe any of them should've been excluded?
Make your opinion known in the comment box below. I look forward to reading your comments and discussing them with you.
(David Hoillet, arguably Blackburn's most exciting and talented player, picked up a concussion after challenging Mark Schwarzer in the air for a ball that, if won, would've given Blackburn the winning goal, but ended up getting to the ball only slightly before Schwarzer and taking the full force of the Australian's head against hiis own head. Luckily, the winger has recovered and is expected to be fit for the game against Arsenal.)