In a recent press conference Jose Mourinho backed up his managerial rival Arsene Wenger in his assessment of the esteemed Ballon d’Or award, the award given to the best player in the world. Both Mourinho and Wenger are the top managers in English football and both were unanimous in their verdict on the way that the game is changing.
“In this moment football is losing a little bit the concept of the team to focus more on the individual…For me, football is collective.”– Jose Mourinho
Starved of international success, all too often in this country we can be found guilty of over hyping young emerging talents. With Mourinho’s words of wisdom and precious team concept in mind we are going to take a look at the Football League who are hosting the 10th anniversary of their great big gala ceremony at The Brewery, London which is being held on Sunday 19th April 2015. The best English talent will be invited and one will be given the tag as the best young player outside the Premier League.
The Football League today announced the three-man shortlist for the Young Player of the Year award. The award is presented to the best player in The Football League under the age of 21, or in the season in which he turned 21. Gareth Bale, Fabian Delph and Wilfried Zaha are previous winners.
The nominees for this year’s award, which covers players in the Championship down to League 2, are:
Dele Alli (Milton Keynes Dons)
Dele has been brilliant this season for Milton Keynes Dons, becoming a pivotal asset to manager Karl Robinson’s in his bid for promotion. The 19-year-old midfielder has been on the radar of top clubs for a while having made his debut as a 16 year old.
Dele progressed through to England U19’s this season after having previously experiencing pulling on a three lions jersey at Under 17 and Under 18 level. His eye catching goals earned him a transfer Tottenham Hotspur in the last transfer window and he was loaned back to the Dons straightway.
People have been calling Deli the new Steven Gerrard but to be honest he’s nothing like him in the way that he plays the game. He is very similar in style and stature to John Bostock who incidentally was also snapped up Tottenham Hotspur as a teenager after breaking into the Crystal Palace first team. To check out John Bostock and read his story click on our: What Happened Wonderkid Series.
Ali may prove to be the real deal and fly into the first team but the pitfalls and dangers are evident. There is the possibility he could go the same way as John Bostock. However, in Argentine manager Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs have a progressive young manager who is not shy in giving the English youth a starting spot in his eleven. If he can impress enough it seems likely he will get his chance.
Patrick Bamford: Middlesbrough
Currently on loan at Middlesborough from Chelsea, 21-year-old Patrick has been a constant source of 18 goals for Aitor Karanka as ‘Boro’ battle for promotion from the Sky Bet Championship.
The England Under -21 international started out in Nottingham Forest’s Academy before securing a big move to Chelsea after impressive scoring spree in the FA youth cup. Patrick has 100+ games under his belt for Football League clubs, having been on loan at Milton Keynes Dons and Derby County before making the trip up to the North East. He has done well and scored wherever he has been.
However proving your worth at Championship level and breaking into a Premier League leading team that are desperate to conquer the Champions League is a very different thing. He will have to step up to the Premier League next year and prove he can score as regularly in the top flight whether it be with Boro if they get promoted or a different loan club. It seems unlikely he will be getting a chance at Chelsea at any time soon.
Nathan Redmond (Norwich City)
Nathan has helped the Canaries to challenge near the top of the Sky Bet Championship table in the race for promotion. He has been around for a good few seasons having made his first team debut with home-town club Birmingham City, as a 16 year old, before signing for the Canaries in 2013 which makes it easy to over-estimate his actual age.
He has netted three times this season. He is an established member of the England Under-21 team and has developed into a fan’s favourite at Carrow Road. Redmond has played a full season in the Premier League but struggled to show up in the top flight last year. He could get another chance if Norwich get promoted to prove his ability at the top level of English football. He has pace and quick feet but just how much has he developed over the past few seasons?