You read about the successful fringers from Tuesday, didn’t you? Oh goodness, you better do it now before they find out…
Declan Rice (West Ham)
It isn’t hard to make David Gold look silly, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stop to celebrate every time it happens. Gold told West Ham’s youth players that they shouldn’t expect to progress into the club’s first team, but 18-year-old defender Declan Rice isn’t listening.
The Republic of Ireland Under-19 international made his first career league start against Southampton last weekend, and was brilliant against Cheltenham Town in the EFL Cup. West Ham are in need of a good news story; Rice might just provide it.
Charlie Taylor (Burnley)
Such was the protracted nature of Taylor’s exit from Leeds United, and Burnley’s persistence, it is a surprise that the left-back is yet to play a minute in the Premier League. Stephen Ward is Sean Dyche’s current first-choice in that position, and his goal against Chelsea shows why. Yet in Taylor Dyche surely has an upgrade.
Burnley fan site Up The Clarets asked supporters to rate their players in the victory over Blackburn, and Taylor was given effusive praise: ‘Fantastic debut. Will be very good in time.’ ‘Looks a player, quick, strong, direct, decent delivery.’ ‘MOM , that’s all’. ‘He’s Fast, reads the game, fearless, keeps on going. If he remains our backup left back, Ward will be on fire!’
Joe Lolley (Huddersfield Town)
One day I will look at Joe Lolley’s name and not picture Joe Ledley, but that day has not yet come. Rather than being released by Crystal Palace this summer, Lolley was desperately trying to avoid being sold by Huddersfield Town following their promotion to the Premier League.
Lolley’s is a good story. He was playing for Midland Combination side Littleton in 2013 at the age of 21, before a move to National League Kidderminster Harriers. In January 2014, he got the dream move to Huddersfield. Yet to play in the top flight, Lolley scored the winner against Rotherham United on Wednesday. It’s also his birthday on Friday.
Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City)
There are plenty of Stoke City supporters who wish that Mark Hughes would give ‘the Egyptian Messi’ many more chances in the Premier League. At the age of 20, this is the time most crucial in Sobhi’s development from potential to star, and it relies on regular competitive football. The winger managed 848 league minutes last season, but has managed only 19 so far in the first two games of this campaign. If the departure of Marko Arnautovic created a space for him to full, it has not proved that way yet.
Sobhi’s only option is to keep plugging away and thriving when given opportunities in other competitions. It was his dribble and pass that allowed Joe Allen to set up Peter Crouch’s goal against Rochdale, and the winger then latched onto a through ball before rounding the goalkeeper to score the fourth.
Rolando Aarons (Newcastle United)
For so long a player threatening to break through more than actually doing it, perhaps now Aarons is really starting to make meaningful progress. The winger has been hampered by a series of injuries, with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament last year prompting speculation that his career might be over at 20.
Yet Aarons vowed to battle on, and has managed to get himself fully fit for the start of this season. On the bench for both Newcastle’s Premier League games without getting on, the winger scored a wonderful equaliser against Nottingham Forest on Wednesday, collecting the ball before bamboozling Michael Mancienne and striking the ball into the top-left corner of the goal from outside the penalty area. At 21, has his luck finally turned?