LONDON, Aug 9, 2010 (AFP) - With the 2010-11 English Premier League season starting on Saturday, we take a look at six young stars who are ready to shine in the top-flight this season.
Jack Wilshere (Arsenal); age at start of season: 18
- Wilshere has long been the most talked about player to have graduated from the Arsenal academy. The slight, skilful left-footed attacking midfielder is spoken of in hushed terms at the Emirates Stadium and got his first taste of extended first-team football during a loan spell at Bolton towards the end of last season. Has been called up for England's friendly against Hungary on Wednesday and it seems only a matter of time before he is performing regularly for club and country.
Phil Jones (Blackburn Rovers); 18
- The centre-back made his Premier League debut in a 1-1 draw at Chelsea in March and earned glowing praise for his commanding performance, with former Liverpool centre-back and television pundit Alan Hansen labelling it "unbelievably good". Jones went on to make eight further appearances in the league and will start the new season as deputy to first-choice central defenders Ryan Nelsen and Christopher Samba.
Gael Kakuta (Chelsea); 19
- The French teenager hit the headlines last September when FIFA banned Chelsea from signing any players until January 2011 for inducing Kakuta to break his contract at formative club Lens. The ban was subsequently overturned and in November he made his Premier League debut, thrilling the Stamford Bridge crowd with his assured touch and enterprising play in the final 30 minutes of a 4-0 win over Wolves. A quick, supremely gifted and innovative forward player, Kakuta starred for France's Under-19 side at this summer's European Championship in Normandy and is tipped for full international honours.
Jonjo Shelvey (Liverpool); 18
- Shelvey's transfer from Charlton in April bore testament to Liverpool's new strategy to inject more home-grown talent into their squad, with Premier League sides obliged to include at least eight domestically trained players in their squads from this season onwards. The shaven-headed attacking midfielder is the youngest player to both play and score for Charlton, and has represented England at under-17 level.
Andy Carroll (Newcastle United); 21
- Few jerseys carry the symbolism of the Newcastle United number nine shirt, but it is a measure of coach Chris Hughton's confidence that he has handed the sacred garment to Carroll. The rugged, Gateshead-born striker finished the 2009-10 season as Newcastle's top scorer with 19 goals in all competitions and he may need to emulate the goalscoring exploits of his illustrious predecessors Alan Shearer and Jackie Milburn if the Magpies are to preserve their place among England's elite.
Victor Moses (Wigan Athletic); 19
- Moses, a former asylum seeker born in Nigeria, attracted huge attention during his three-year spell at Crystal Palace before finally making the step up to the Premier League when he joined Wigan in January. The powerful teenager scored his first Wigan goal in a 2-2 draw with Hull in May and will hope to play an even bigger role for the Latics in 2010-11.