There are plenty of young Premier League prospects who usually break through late in the season and 2019-20 will be no different, so here’s a look at five prospects to watch closely.
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Given that the games will be coming thick and fast once the league returns on June 17, after being suspended on March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic, managers across the Premier League will have to rotate their squads to navigate nine PL games between mid-June and July 25.
With new rules allowing nine substitutes to be named in matchday squads and five substitutes to be made by teams in each Premier League game, that means plenty of young prospects will be handed minutes and they will be given valuable minutes to shine in the final weeks of the season.
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The new NBC Sports Premier League schedule for the 2019-20 season has been released, with time and dates for the first three matchweeks confirmed, with the full schedule below.
Below is also a list of five players you should keep a close eye on late in the season.
Billy Gilmour (Chelsea)
The Scottish teenager, still just 19, was superb when given opportunities early in 2020. Gilmour will have a lot of competition for minutes with Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Ross Barkley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount all battling to start in midfield but the teenager was brilliant in victories against Liverpool in the FA Cup and Everton in the Premier League. Gilmour, who joined Chelsea from Glasgow Rangers in 2017 as a 16-year-old, also has the best nickname in the Premier League: “The Irn-Bru Iniesta.” His passing, composure in possession and ability to find spaces in midfield is certainly similar to the Barcelona legend.
Will Smallbone (Southampton)
Fresh from signing a new four-year contract, Smallbone has been at Saints since the age of eight and has impressed since making his FA Cup debut in January. The central midfielder scored in the 2-0 win against Huddersfield and started in the 2-0 home win against Aston Villa in February. He is calm on the ball, likes to get forward and has shown plenty of composure. The Republic of Ireland youngster, 20, is the latest gem to come out of Saints’ academy and look out for Michael Obafemi and Jake Vokins too.
Curtis Jones (Liverpool)
If, as expected, Liverpool wrap up the title in the first few games back then it is likely Jurgen Klopp will rest some of his stars and give plenty of his talented kids a chance. He’s already done that in the cup competitions this season and Curtis Jones, 19, has scored some cracking goals in the FA Cup and has really developed over the last 12 months. With Ki-Jana Hoever, Sepp van den Berg, Neco Williams and Harvey Elliott also knocking on the door, Liverpool have a host of talented youngsters ready to be given more minutes. Jones, who can play across the attacking midfield and forward positions, seems ready to be a regular.
Indiana Vassilev (Aston Villa)
The American striker has impressed during his brief cameo roles in the Premier League early in 2020 and he recently signed a new contract at Villa Park. Vassilev, 19, is highly-rated by Villa boss Dean Smith and the Georgia native will likely get plenty of minutes off the bench if the relegation battlers need a goal late on. Vassilev has excelled for Villa’s youth team in recent years and the USMNT prospect works hard, can finish and isn’t scared to run at defenders. Fun fact: his Bulgarian parents moved to the USA and named him Indiana because they loved the Indiana Jones movies.
Tino Anjorin (Chelsea)
Frank Lampard may be about to spend big this summer but there’s no doubt he has plenty of talented youngsters to keep pushing into his first team. After Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Reece James have become regulars, Anjorin and Gilmour are the next two top prospects. Anjorin, 18, is a talented winger who has just signed a new long-term contract with the Blues and the England youth international made his debut in the victory against Everton in March. Like Gilmour, he has a lot of competition to get minutes at Chelsea but we know Lampard is keen on giving youngsters a chance.
Wednesday, June 17: Aston Villa v. Sheffield United, 1 p.m. ET NBCSN
Wednesday, June 17: Man City v. Arsenal, 3:15 p.m. NBCSN
Friday, June 19: Norwich v. Southampton, 1 p.m. NBCSN
Friday, June 19: Tottenham v. Man United, 3:15 p.m. NBCSN
Saturday, June 20: Watford v. Leicester, 7:30 a.m. NBCSN
Saturday, June 20: Brighton v. Arsenal, 10 a.m. NBCSN
Saturday, June 20: West Ham v. Wolves, 12:30 p.m. NBC
Saturday, June 20: Bournemouth v. Palace, 2:45 p.m. Gold/Peacock
Sunday, June 21: Newcastle v. Sheffield United, 9 a.m. NBCSN
Sunday, June 21: Aston Villa v. Chelsea, 11:15 a.m. NBCSN
Sunday, June 21: Everton v. Liverpool, 2 p.m. NBC
Monday, June 22: Man City v. Burnley, 3 p.m. NBCSN
Tuesday, June 23: Leicester v. Brighton, 1 p.m. NBCSN
Tuesday, June 23: Tottenham v. West Ham, 3:15 p.m. NBCSN
Wednesday, June 24: Man United v. Sheffield United, 1 p.m. NBCSN
Wednesday, June 24: Newcastle v. Aston Villa, 1 p.m. Gold/Peacock
Wednesday, June 24: Norwich v. Everton, 1 p.m. Gold/Peacock
Wednesday, June 24: Wolves v. Bournemouth. 1 p.m. Gold/Peacock
Wednesday, June 24: Liverpool v. Palace, 3:15 p.m. NBCSN
Thursday, June 25: Southampton v. Arsenal, 1 p.m. Gold/Peacock
Thursday, June 25: Burnley v. Watford, 1 p.m. NBCSN
Thursday, June 25: Chelsea v. Man City, 3:15 p.m. NBCSN
Saturday, June 27: Aston Villa v. Wolves, 7:30 a.m. NBCSN
Sunday, June 28: Watford v. Southampton, 11:30 a.m. NBCSN
Monday, June 29: Crystal Palace v. Burnley, 3 p.m. NBCSN
Tuesday, June 30: Brighton v. Man United, 3:15 p.m. NBCSN
Wednesday, July 1: Everton v. Leicester, 1 p.m. Gold/Peacock
Wednesday, July 1: Bournemouth v. Newcastle, 1 p.m. Gold/Peacock
Wednesday, July 1: Arsenal v. Norwich, 1 p.m. NBCSN
Wednesday, July 1: West Ham v. Chelsea, 3:15 p.m. NBCSN
Thursday, July 2: Sheffield United v. Tottenham, 1 p.m. NBCSN
Thursday, July 2: Man City v. Liverpool, 3:15 p.m. NBCSN, * Venue TBC