THESE TOP WILL BE THE
CHRIS DUNLAVY PICKS THE ONES
HIS time last year, Charlie Austin was an injury-plagued striker struggling to hit top gear. Now, he is the most sought-after hitman outside the Premier League with a price tag of £10m.
Dwight Gayle, currently rescuing Peterborough from relegation, was in
FEW people can have been so successful at nurturing talent yet so bad at recognising it as Roy Keane. This, after all, is the man who released Jordan Rhodes (49 goals in his last 59 games) in order to sign Tamas Priskin (13 goals in the last four years) and then insisted it was good business.
In 2010, he did it again, effectively binning off Liam Trotter by failing to match an offer from Millwall.
Now, the 24-year-old is the absolute epitome of what the Tractor Boys lack – a tall, athletic, box-to-box midfielder who can destroy and create with equal assurance. The driving force behind Millwall’s surprise promotion push, he is being closely monitored by Fulham and Southampton. TO say Hughes may one day play for England probably doesn’t do the Derby midfielder justice. The 17-year-old will play for the Three Lions, and soon. Vision, touch, balance, skill – Hughes is a little Spanish maestro with an English accent.
OK, so he only made his debut this season and has played just a handful of games. Until last month, he couldn’t even finish 90 minutes. But so rapid is his development and so effortless his play that, barring serious injury, there is no way he won’t be a star at the highest level. Watching him weave through challenges and glide over the ground is one of the Championship’s finest sights this year – no wonder boss Nigel Clough says Hughes is already “the real deal”. AT 28, Morgan is hardly an up-andcomer. But the Leicester centreback is one of the division’s unsung heroes and his performances this season have been immaculate. In fairness, they always were. In ten years and almost 400 appearances for Nottingham Forest, Morgan barely put a foot wrong.
Immovable in the air and deceptively quick on the deck, he also leads the line and senses danger
the Conference North with Bishop’s Stortford. And Derby’s Will Hughes, now a target for Arsenal, hadn’t even left the youth team or learned to drive.
A year in football is all it takes to go from unknown to superstar – here are ten players who I think will make the leap in 2013.
like Spiderman. Plenty of strikers get caught in his webs – not many get out.THE reason behind Leicester’s transformation from underachievers to title-chasers. IN the rush to acclaim Wilfried Zaha, everybody forgot about the bloke on the other wing. In recent weeks, however, Yannick Bolasie stepped out of the Ivorian’s shadow to remind everyone what an outstanding talent he is.
A cousin of former Newcastle winger Lomana LuaLua, the 23year-old plays in much the same fashion, albeit with a greater sense of purpose and precision. Lightning quick and fabulously skilful, the former Bristol City and Plymouth player has won a ton of penalties this year, not to mention notching a club-best six assists. Zaha may be the Palace magician, but Bolasie is much more than his glamorous assistant. OFTEN scouted by Stuart Pearce, the Huddersfield right-back is a defender in name alone. Like a Brazilian, he clearly sees the word ‘full-back’ as a misspelling of the word ‘winger’ and adapts his game accordingly.
Usually found tearing up the flank, Hunt is as skilful as plenty of widemen (he won four penalties in the first six games of the season) and is happy to hit the byline or swing a ball in from deep. Still raw and exciting, he does need help from midfield at times but will be a top-notch player when he learns how to balance defence and attack. BEFORE signing for Brentford in 2011, Forrester was on trial at Ajax, where he scored a hat-trick for the Dutch giants. Why they didn’t take him only they will know, but their loss has most definitely been Brentford’s gain. Quite simply, the 21-year-old is a cut above League One and proves it on a weekly basis by absolutely running the show. Six goals, five assists and countless match-winning performances have shown just why the Bees are near the top of League One, and why Forrester cost Aston Villa £1m from Watford back in 2008.
Now the Premier League side want him back, and may swoop in January. “I hope he realises what he has here at Brentford and that his career has only just started three months ago,” said boss Uwe Rosler. “He has only played 17 games of immense football.” A FIGURE of fun at Southampton after comically letting the ball squirm through his legs during a match against Blackpool, the 25year-old Pole has rebuilt his reputation at Notts County with a string of match-winning performances.
Quick, agile and just a little bit eccentric, Bialkowski has been compared to Peter Schmeichel by Swindon boss Paolo Di Canio, who