Alex Bonner casts his eye over several of the players in the Premier League that have made their presence felt in 2013.
Ross Barkley (Everton)
Barkley’s recent form has certainly put himself in contention for a much sought after World Cup spot in 2014. The Everton man has been praised for both his maturity and attitude to the game, credentials that are very fitting for a player who has delivered some outstanding individual performances of late. Justifiable acclaim for Barkley’s talents has come from all corners of the footballing world, underlying what has been an excellent year for the midfielder.
Adam Lallana (Southampton)
Despite having served the Saints since 2006, Lallana’s performances in 2013 have illustrated something of a breakthrough for the Southampton player. Lallana’s consistent play this year should be applauded, with his playmaking abilities even attracting the attention from Manchester United. Not only that, but the ever professional Lallana has gone on to represent his country on the international stage this year, justifiably receiving acclaim for his performances.
Phillipe Coutinho (Liverpool)
A January signing for the Reds, Coutinho has certainly demonstrated his credentials as one of the Premier League’s top midfielders this year. Despite not boasting much of a physical presence, the Brazilian has adapted well to the pace and intensity of the English top flight, his consistently superb performances having certainly contributed to a resurgent Liverpool side.
Andros Townsend (Tottenham)
Having spent a majority of his playing career on loan, Townsend has established himself as one of England’s brightest talents this year. Having plied his trade at QPR in the early months of 2013, Townsend returned to the Tottenham setup, with consistent performances earning a call-up to the national side. Having started this season well, playing in victories over Crystal Palace, Swansea City and Dinamo Tbilisi, Townsend has marked himself out as a future star of the Premier League.
Christian Benteke (Aston Villa)
When Aston Villa invested £7 million in signing Benteke, many were quick to write off such a purchase as a reckless gamble. But, despite struggling recently for goals, the Belgian has succeeded proved these doubters wrong, securing the breakthrough he perhaps needed in 2013. Benteke has amassed 28 goals in 53 appearances for Villa, an impressive return for such a young striker.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Arriving at Chelsea as part of £32 million deal, Hazard has demonstrated his credentials as a future world class footballer in 2013. The young Belgian, who possesses both skill and physical strength, has been Chelsea’s standout player of 2013, with the dynamic winger contributing both goals and assists to the Chelsea title cause.
Rickie Lambert (Southampton)
Lambert’s performances in 2013, despite now being at 31 years of age, have been both exceptional and incredibly consistent. Having performed well for Southampton and Bristol Rovers in the lower divisions, Lambert has adjusted well to the demands of the Premier League, performances that have resulted in his inclusion in the England set up. Lambert’s ascendancy from a League One player to an international footballer is remarkable, an ascendancy clearly highlighted by his goals for England.
Luis Suárez (Liverpool)
2013, for Suárez, can be seen as the year that has demonstrated his ability and status as a world-class footballer. Suárez’s performances in 2013 have been nothing short of exceptional, with the striker amassing 19 goals in just 14 appearances this season alone. Suárez has also developed both his passing and defensive abilities, abilities not attributed to Suárez in 2012, with the Uruguayan now noted as a key team player in this now dynamic Liverpool team.
Luke Shaw (Southampton)
Despite only being 18 years of age, Shaw has demonstrated incredible maturity as a footballer in 2013. Having started his career in the Southampton youth setup, the young defender is now seen as Southampton’s first choice left-back. Shaw’s consistency this year should be applauded, demonstrating his supreme potential for the future. Having committed to Southampton for the long term, the future looks bright for the young defender, with an England call up now looking likely in the near future.
Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City)
Having established himself as City’s first choice right back by late 2012, Zabaleta has built on these foundations, with the Argentine now commonly regarded as the Premier League’s most accomplished right-back. 2013 has been a breakthrough for the seasoned defender as Zabaleta has now managed to add attacking intent to his already accomplished defensive abilities. After a superb end to last season, Zabaleta was voted Manchester City’s 2012–13 Player of the Year, with the defender continuing this form into this season.bookmark me