THE conveyor belt of brilliant young English talent does not look like stopping anytime soon.
And in 2022 — a year which will end with Gareth Southgate’s youthful squad as genuine contenders to win the World Cup — there are plenty more bubbling under and ready for a massive 12 months.
Troy Deeney has taken a look at six of the most exciting prospects in English footballCredit: The Sun
Jobe Bellingham is one of Troy Deeney’s six to watch in 2022Credit: REX
Here are six kids — among many others — who have caught my eye and are well worth watching this year.
Jobe Bellingham (Birmingham City)
Whatever you do, don’t mention that our brilliant young forward is the brother of 18-year-old ‘veteran’ Borussia Dortmund and England midfielder Jude.
Jobe hates those comparisons and just wants to make his own path – and I like that about him.
He is still at school but he has been training with the first team during the Christmas holidays and I’ve rarely seen such an impressive 16-year-old.
Jobe, primarily a No 10, has been in the Blues’ first-team squad a few times, he is quick, confident, already 6ft tall and with a man’s strength and, with another growth spurt to get his box-to-box legs, he is going to be some player.
I love the fact that he is not overawed by working with senior pros, he gives and takes banter, and when he tells you that on his day off he is revising for a biology exam, you realise that he has a footballing maturity beyond his years.
By the end of 2022, I’m sure we will see him impressing in first-team football.
Carney Chukwuemeka (Villa)
This midfielder is ridiculously talented – yet another English teenager who has emerged into Premier League football looking so comfortable on the ball, so technically able.
I saw him come on as a sub against Norwich and set up a goal for Ollie Watkins and I marvelled at his assurance.
Like a few of these talented Villa kids – and it pains me to say there are many of them – he is a big unit but with great feet.
He is a box-to-box No 8 and he will surely benefit from the guidance of his new manager Steven Gerrard, one of the greatest this country has ever produced in that position.
Carney’s elder brother Caleb is also at Villa and I hear good things about him too.
Carney Chukwuemeka is an exciting Aston Villa prospectCredit: GETTY
Ben Johnson (West Ham)
I remember being seriously impressed with this full-back when he made one of his first Premier League appearances against Watford 18 months ago.
He looked so solid, a proper defender, unlike so many other modern full-backs – and I have enjoyed watching him develop his all-round game since. He looks as though he is learning and improving all the time and at 21, he is now a first-team regular at West Ham.
Johnson is two-footed and can play on either flank, he has a great attitude and is already becoming yet another high-quality English right-back.
With former England defenders Ledley King as a cousin and Paul Parker as an uncle, there is some serious pedigree there too.
Ben Johnson is already making waves at West HamCredit: Getty
Cole Palmer (Manchester City)
When Pep Guardiola declares that a youngster is so good, he isn’t going out on loan, you know he is going to be a good one – and this 19-year-old is taking the Phil Foden route to success at Manchester City.
Palmer really impresses me because even as a teenager looking to make his mark in the first team, he makes football look so easy. He doesn’t go out of his way to impress, he plays for the team, because he knows he is good enough to play for City.
He’s graceful, he goes past players with such assurance and he has an eye for goal.
Already a regular with the England Under-21s, for whom he scored a gorgeous solo effort against Kosovo earlier this season, Palmer has clearly learned a lot from training with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva.
If there is one player who could be a late entrant into England’s World Cup squad, it could be Palmer.
Cole Palmer is one of Manchester City’s unknown gemsCredit: REX
Cameron Archer (Aston Villa)
There has been a lot of noise about this 20-year-old forward in the Birmingham area for a good while now and, after scoring four goals in three Carabao Cup ties this season, we are likely to see a lot more of Archer this year – especially as he recently agreed a new contract.
He reminds me a lot of Darius Vassell, another Brummie kid who emerged as one of those modern forwards who seem to have a bit of everything.
Archer is quick, he plays on the shoulder of the last defender and gets in behind teams.
Jamaica want him to play for them but he could end up being England class.
A lot of noise has been made about young Cameron ArcherCredit: PA
Shola Shoretire was highly rated by former Manchester United bossCredit: GETTY
Shola Shoretire (Manchester Utd)
A Geordie striker who was Manchester United’s young player of the year last season, Shoretire could be an outstanding loan signing for someone very soon.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rated him highly and gave him three first-team appearances last term, just after he had turned 17.
Ralf Rangnick gave him another run-out in the Champions League against Young Boys but Shoretire could really make a name for himself with a Championship loan move.
When a United kid comes on loan to your club, they always seem well-grounded human beings and confident footballers without being arrogant. I hear Shoretire has the same characteristics.
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