Where are they now? Independent’s 11 “young stars to watch” for 2011 – planet football


On New Years Day 2011, The Independent published an article titled “Eleven for 2011: The Young Stars Who Will Light Up Football This Year”.

It’s always interesting to look back and see the divergent paths of those who were once considered the best young players in the country. One or two have reached the heights that are expected of them, while others fall short of expectations – as it invariably seems to be the way.

A decade later, we decided to revisit the players they designated as special. Here’s what they’re doing 10 years later.

Benik Afobe

The forward was picked on his first loan at Arsenal childhood club. He scored eight goals that year while at League One Huddersfield, which missed promotion through the play-offs.

He spent five more on loan from the Gunners before joining Wolves for a permanent transfer in January 2015. Afobe then scored 10 Premier League goals in 63 appearances for Bournemouth before returning to Molineux in 2018, while suffering a ligament injury Crusader previous to Stoke left him. sidelined for almost a season.

Still only 28 years old, he remains under contract with the Potters, but is currently on loan to their championship rivals Millwall.

Steven caulker

“Caulker is currently proving himself in the heart of the Bristol City defense, where his impressive performances earned the 18-year-old the Football League Young Player of the Month award for November (2010),” The Independent noted in his article on the then adolescent central defender.

He was on loan with the Robins at the time, as he eventually returned to parent club Spurs to make 28 appearances in the 2012-13 campaign under Andre Villas-Boas. It was during this season that he won a lone cap in England.

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But a few nomadic and erratic years followed, including a loan that raised eyebrows as Jurgen Klopp’s emergency striker at Liverpool. He has since spoken candidly about his alcohol and gambling addiction, and is currently plying his trade at Turkish club Super Lig – on loan from Fenerbahce.

READ: Revisiting Jurgen Klopp’s first 10 signings as Liverpool manager

Nathaniel Chalobah

Chalobah was only 16 but was already making waves in Cobham ten years ago.

The midfielder was one of Gareth Southgate’s favorites at the Under-21 level in England, and made a senior appearance for the Three Lions, but he never really made it through to Chelsea – he is remained on their books until 2017, when he joined Watford on a permanent deal after six loans.

He went on to make 84 appearances for the Hornets, including 38 during their winning Premier League campaign, and hopes to repeat the trick after joining Fulham on deadline day. Younger brother Trevoh remains at Stamford Bridge and could still break through under Thomas Tuchel.

Tom cleverley

Manchester United academy graduate Cleverley was part of the squad that beat Arsenal 8-2 in August 2011 but struggled to get started after Sir Alex Ferguson retired a few years later.

After a few unsuccessful years at Everton, he has since become a practical asset at Watford and returns to the Premier League after playing a part in their promotion victory last season.

Gary Gardner

Younger brother of lower middle table pillar Craig Gardner, Gary recovered from an ACL injury suffered in his youth to gain attention in Aston Villa academy in the turn of the 2010s. Senior debut in a Coventry loan in November 2011 – the first of seven away loans – with 42 appearances for his childhood club in their midst.

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In 2019 he moved to local rivals Birmingham City, where his older brother now serves as technical director.

Will keane

Forward, he won the club’s young player of the year award, the Jimmy Murphy award, at the end of last season (2009-10), ”noted The Independent.

So that was a fair cry, but they picked the wrong twin. While Michael has made nearly 200 Premier League appearances and won a dozen caps for England, Will has made a living lower in the pyramid – he is currently at Wigan, where he regularly scores goals for the first time. of her career.

Henri lansbury

A familiar story: A handful of first-team appearances (eight) at the big club where he was highly publicized in their academy (Arsenal), a decent number of away loans (Scunthorpe, Watford, Norwich, West Ham) before to finally find his level in the Championship (Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa, Bristol City).

In 2021, he was found in Luton Town, making the headlines by somehow avoiding a red card for this.

Jordan mutch

Named Birmingham City Academy Player of the Season in the 2007-08 season, Mutch finally made a breakthrough in the Blues’ debut season of the 2011-12 Championship.

He briefly looked like heights as an outstanding player for Cardiff in their 2012-13 promotion season, and as a rare shining light with seven goals in 35 Premier League appearances in their unsuccessful relegation fight.

But the midfielder hasn’t done much at Crystal Palace in his four years on their books, and subsequently appears to have spent his late twenties as a rich kid on a gap year: he has been to Canada (Vancouver Whitecaps), South Korea (Gyeongnam) and Norway (Aalesund) and is now in Australia (Western Sydney Wanderers followed by Macarthur FC).

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

The Independent identified interest from Arsenal, Liverpool and Fulham midway through Oxlade-Chamberlain’s 2010-11 breakthrough season with Southampton.

The Gunners ended up winning the race for his signing, while a move to Liverpool came much later – in 2017.

Over 200 Premier League appearances and 35 England caps isn’t bad, but oddly enough, his 10 goals for Southampton in 2010-11 remain his career best record of the season. He has won the Premier League, the Champions League and three FA Cups and he’s still only 28, but there remains a feeling that injuries have held him back.

Rahim sterling

Serial trophy winner and one of England’s best players.

Fair enough.

READ: English fans have no complaints – we blame Sterling & Southgate

Nick powell

Then a pierced teenager at Crewe, it was observed that “Powell has caught the attention of all the big Premier League teams and further progress this season will mean he will be captured quickly” – although it was not until summer 2012 for his big move to Manchester United to finally happen.

Powell is currently doing pretty well for himself as a key player for Stoke’s team, which is looking for promotions. The Premier League can still nod after its frustration on the outskirts of Old Trafford.

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