It’s nearly that time of the year again. You know, that time of the year when the English Premier League – arguably the most exciting league in European football – gets ready to get underway once more.
Ahead of the 2018/2019 campaign, many fans are salivating at the prospect of seeing some of the beautiful game’s biggest-name players performing for a global audience. Names such as Kevin De Bruyne, Mo Salah, Paul Pogba, Harry Kane, Eden Hazard, and, err, Cenk Tosun are amongst the many top-tier superstars that fans are hopeful of seeing big things from this season. But maybe there will be some other names who fly under the radar a little and end the season as one of the Premier League’s surprise packages.
While there are always those true superstar names that you can rely on to perform season after season, there are just as many unheralded heroes who surprisingly outshine some of those with greater reputations. And that’s what we’re going to explore here.
You see, here we have three names who could well prove to be the hidden gems of the 2018/2019 Premier League season.
1. James Maddison
Right now, it looks as if the future could well be extremely bright for the England national team – and one of the key youngsters who could emerge for the Three Lions over the next few years is James Maddison.
Having impressed at Norwich City for the past couple of seasons, Maddison made the move to Leicester City this summer. And if the creative midfielder can quickly adapt to manager Claude Puel’s style and approach, he could prove to be one of the biggest hits of the 2018/2019 season.
With Leicester now left with a huge Riyad Mahrez-shaped hole to fill this season, Maddison’s fourteen goals and eight assists in the last campaign suggest that the 21-year-old could be an inspired choice to replace the Algerian. Key to The Foxes style of play is finding ways to slip the rapid Jamie Vardy in behind defences, and that’s where Maddison could prove to be a pivotal piece of the Leicester City jigsaw this season
2. Ryan Sessegnon
While some of you may be well-versed with the Championship, there are plenty of others who pay little-to-no attention to the second tier of English football. And if you fall into that latter group, you seriously need to keep your eye out for Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon.
Having started the 2017-2018 campaign at left-back, Sessegnon would go on to nab a ridiculous sixteen goals and eight assists as Fulham clinched promotion via the playoffs. And even more jaw-dropping is that the youngster only turned 18 this past May!
To say Sessegnon is one of the hottest prospects in European football would be a huge understatement, and it’s no surprise that major names such as Manchester United, Paris St-Germain, and Tottenham Hotspur are amongst those to have shown interest in the England U-21 player.
It’s only a matter of time before Ryan Sessegnon makes his first appearance for the England senior side, and he’ll surely be an absolutely vital part of Fulham’s mission to stay in the Premier League this season.
3. Ruben Neves
One of the most shocking transfers of last season was seeing the hotly-touted Ruben Neves head from FC Porto to Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers. After all, this is a talent who had previously been linked with the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal.
The classy Portuguese midfielder – still only 21 years of age – stood out as the very best midfielder in the Championship as Wolves romped to the title with a whopping 99 points on the board. This coming, of course, as part of an ongoing relationship with super-agent Jorge Mendes that has seen Wolves make some truly shocking signings over the past year or so.
By the time the 2017/2018 season had come to an end, Neves had scored six goals from midfield, including some absolutely mesmerising strikes. And now, the technically-gifted youngster will have his chance to show his abilities in the Premier League. Which, let’s face it, he arguably would have been doing last season, were it not for Mendes’ involvement with Wolves.