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With the new season kicking off this past weekend, familiar predictions and knee jerk reactions are coming through. While Champions and relegation places are predictions made by most, here, the OOTB team looks into the crystal ball to pick the breakout players of the 2015-16 season.


Jordon Ibe Liveprool 2015


SERGE GNABRY // WEST BROMWICH ALBION // 20 // MIDFIELDER

The German youth international heads into the Premier League campaign with it all to prove, and that’s a good thing.  Having secured a season-long loan to West Brom, the talented wide-man could finally be looking at significant time on the pitch for the first time since his move to England.  Still highly regarded in Germany as well as by Arsene Wenger, Gnabry will be primed to make an impression in the hopes of breaking into the first-team properly next season. – Andrew Thompson (@AFCBvB1410)


REECE BURKE // WEST HAM UNITED // 18 // DEFENDER

After showing signs of promise at the tail end of last season, the 18-year old center back could be trusted even more this season.  With West Ham lacking real depth in quality at center-back, new manager (and former player) Slaven Bilić could put faith in the youngster, something he did not shy away from during his time at the helm of the Croatian national team.  Traditionally known as one of the youth hotbeds in England, Burke has the chance to put West Ham United back on the youth map. – Andrew Thompson (@AFCBvB1410)


NATHAN AKE // CHELSEA // 20 // DEFENDER

When the squad for this season was announced, 20-year-old Ake was given the number six jersey by Chelsea; a fair indication of his readiness for the big league. However, with John Terry, Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma in front of him in the pecking order, Ake’s time at Stamford Bridge could be limited this season. Hence, the Dutch under-21 starlet is seeking a temporary move away. A defender by trade, he can play on the left or the center. He has also been deployed as a defensive midfielder during his youth days at Chelsea and at Reading last season. His versatility combined with an astute reading of the game and a no-nonsense style of defence could well propel him into the bright lights of stardom sooner rather than later. Wherever he ends up this season or the next, he is surely one of the players to watch out for. – Alok Kulkarni (@alokk14)


JOSH MURPHY // NORWICH CITY // 20 // MIDFIELDER

Born near the home of English football and having the game running through his veins, Josh (like his twin brother Jacob and uncle Tommy Parkin) is very much a natural. A sweet left foot and a dash of pace to boot, Murphy is excellent when it comes to taking on defenders and unleashing a shot. A regular England under-20 international, he seems to have the right mix of talent and potential. Although he did not get many chances to show that talent last season at Norwich, the league would be hard done by if that gets repeated this season. Definitely a talent to watch out for and one for England’s future! – Alok Kulkarni (@alokk14)


JOE GOMEZ // LIVERPOOL // 18 // DEFENDER

Charlton fans had raved about Joe Gomez but Premier League enthusiasts didn’t know why Liverpool had signed an 18-year-old for £3.5m. ​However, ​Gomez was so impressive in pre-season that Liverpool sent out ​the ​more experienced Andre Wisdom on loan to Norwich and Rodgers subsequently decided to give him a Premier League start against Stoke City. Alberto Moreno did have some injury issues in the off-season but Gomez was probably picked to start the game on merit.  He is​ an intelligent player who basically has everything that is required from a defender – strength, stamina and pace. ​He has no observable weaknesses in his game​ ​but needs to better himself in every department. His future definitely lies as a central defender but due to Moreno’s hot-and-cold form of last season, the Englishman might be seen more of in the full-back role and may permanently move ahead in the pecking order. Even if Moreno remains the club’s first-choice left-back, there is no doubt that Gomez is going to feature heavily this season. – Aakriti Mehrotra (@Aakriti1)


ROLANDO AARONS // NEWCASTLE UNITED // 19 // MIDFIELDER

Rolando Aarons burst onto the scene in August 2014, after an impressive scoring cameo against Crystal Palace. Hugely talented, the Jamaican born winger is strong technically and has that unique ability to glide past opponents at will. After impressing, and scoring (again), in the Capital One Cup against Manchester City in October, his season was hampered by injury problems and subsequently, lack of game time. With just a year left on his contract, Aarons will hope to benefit from Steve McClaren’s willingness to rely on young players such as Jordan Ibe and Tom Ince at Derby last season. – Nathan Bliss (@Nathan_Bliss14)


JACK GREALISH // ASTON VILLA // 19 // MIDFIELDER

Jack Grealish is an exciting young player, showing real promise in his appearances last season. Grealish is a great dribbler, he can take people on in tight situations and has shown he can create something out of nothing. His form did drop off towards the end of last season and was mostly anonymous in the FA Cup final. He’s got huge potential and he’s even got countries fighting over him, but he needs to show more consistency if he is to cement a place in the Aston Villa team. – Nathan Bliss (@Nathan_Bliss14)


DELE ALLI // TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR // 19 // MIDFIELDER

Catching the eye in MK Dons’ shock 4-0 win against Manchester United in August last year, Dele Alli is a highly talented young central midfielder. Alli capped off a coming-of-age year being named the Football League 2014/15 Young Player Of The Year. He has a good passing range, vision and awareness as well as an impressive physicality to his game. Coupled with an eye for goal, as his 16 goals last season would attest, Alli possesses a well-rounded skill set. Marking his unofficial debut with a goal against Brentford, he clearly has the required self-confidence – “I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be hard and it’s going to be a challenge, but it’s one I believe I’m ready to take.” With Pochettino’s willingness to give 1st-team chances to young players, Dele Alli should get the opportunities to make his breakthrough this season. – Mark Ooi (@MarkOoiZW)


HARRISON REED // SOUTHAMPTON // 20 // MIDFIELDER

Harrison Reed clearly has the faith of Southampton boss Ronald Koeman since his hugely impressive debut last season, a 3-0 win over Everton. “He was outstanding”, Koeman’s comment on Reed’s performance that day. With the departures of Morgan Schneiderlin and Jack Cork, Reed is now well-placed to step up and fill the void left by his fellow Englishman Cork. The ginger-haired England youth international is a tenacious competitor in central midfield, unafraid to get stuck in with well-timed tackles. As we have come to expect from Southampton academy products, Reed is also proficient with the ball at his feet. With his shirt number changes of 38 to 28 and now 18, Steven Davis should keep a close eye on his number 8. – Mark Ooi (@MarkOoiZW)


JORDON IBE // LIVERPOOL // 19 // MIDFIELDER

The sale of someone as talented as Raheem Sterling should get fans worked up, and ordinarily it would. However, after seeing Ibe’s (mostly) cameo performances of last season, the Kop faithful have been a little relaxed, and rightly so. In Ibe, Liverpool have an extremely talented young player who is very importantly, extremely determined to improve and reach great heights. ​Liverpool (fans) shouldn’t put pressure on Ibe to become the “next Sterling”. He should be allowed to develop his own game. ​Ibe was brought back from loan for the second half of last season and featured for Brendan Rodgers on 14 occasions. However, this season is going to be the real breakthrough ​one​ for the youngster. The attacker is prominently right-footed, and loves to cut in on his favorite foot to run at full-backs and create chances for his teammates in the final third. Ibe does have areas to improve, notably​ on​ remov​ing ​the predictability from his game. However, he is only 19 and his game will only mature more from here. ​He is definitely ahead of Lazar Markovic in the pecking order and if he continues performing well, he may even trump some of the senior players like Adam Lallana. While that is unlikely to happen immediately, Ibe is expected to get a lot of game-time​ and play a crucial role in Liverpool’s quest for success this season​. – Aakriti Mehrotra (@Aakriti1)


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