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Sterling.

The Independent tipped 11 players for Premier League greatness back in 2011

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It can be very difficult to predict whether a young player will go on to become a world beater or fall by the wayside.

For every Lionel Messi - who looked like a superstar in making from the age of 16 - there’s a Freddy Adu - who simply failed to live up to the potential and hasn't had any sort of career in football.

And making predictions about future stars can make you look extremely foolish.

However, that didn’t put the Independent off back in 2011.

Seven years ago, they attempted to guess the 11 players that would make a massive impact in the calendar year before going on to have a successful career.

How did their predictions go? Not very well...

Let’s take a look:

Benik Afobe

In 2011, Afobe was at Arsenal but on loan at Huddersfield.

While he never quite made the grade at Arsenal, he’s now a Premier League player turning out for Bournemouth - via loans in the football league at the likes of Bolton and MK Dons.

He played 30 times in the Premier League last season with Bournemouth and, at the age of 24, can still fulfil his early promise.

AFC Bournemouth v Brighton and Hove Albion - Premier League

Steven Caulker

In 2011, Caulker was at Tottenham but on loan at Bristol City.

He only managed 29 matches for Spurs before moving to Cardiff in the Premier League. He’s now at QPR via loan spells at Southampton and a bizarre one under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

Off-field problems have seen him fail to fulfil his potential.

Queens Park Rangers v Northampton Town: Carabao Cup

Nathaniel Chalobah

In 2011, Chalobah was at Chelsea.

Like many youngsters at Stamford Bridge, Chalobah failed to break into the first-team.

He made the permanent move to Watford this summer and looks set to make a name for himself in the Premier League.

Watford v Liverpool - Premier League

Tom Cleverley

In 2011, Cleverley was at Manchester United but on loan at Wigan.

The midfielder made 79 appearances for United before a move to Everton.

Like Chalobah, he’s also at Watford and the 28-year-old has earned 13 caps for England.

Watford v Liverpool - Premier League

Gary Gardner

In 2011, Gary Gardner was at Aston Villa.

A pretty poor shout from the Independent here.

Gardner never really impressed for Villa despite still being at the club. He’s currently on loan to Barnsley in the Championship.

Certainly not a Premier League star.

Birmingham City V Aston Villa- Sky Bet Championship

Will Keane

In 2011, Will Keane was at Manchester United.

He made just three appearances at Old Trafford before making a permanent move to Hull last summer - where he remains.

Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League

Henri Lansbury

In 2011, Lansbury was at Arsenal but on loan at Norwich City.

Just the eight appearances for Arsenal before he left permanently for Nottingham Forest in 2012. Four-and-a-half seasons at the City Ground was followed by a move to fellow Championship side Aston Villa in January.

Aston Villa v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship

Jordon Mutch

In 2011, Mutch was at Birmingham City but on loan at Norwich City.

While he has made Premier League appearances for the likes of Cardiff and QPR, Mutch has failed to really make a mark in the top-flight.

He’s now at Crystal Palace but is struggling for first-team opportunities.

Crystal Palace FC v FC Cincinnati

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

In 2011, Oxlade-Chamberlain was at Southampton.

Shortly after the Independent's article was written, Oxlade-Chamberlain made a move from Southampton to Arsenal - where he played for six seasons.

But his progress stagnated and he’s recently moved to Liverpool - although hasn’t started his career at Anfield too promisingly.

Manchester City v Liverpool - Premier League

Nick Powell

In 2011, Powell was at Crewe Alexandra.

Within a year, Powell was at Manchester United - where he played nine times.

After a few loan spells, Powell moved to Wigan where he is now playing in League One.

Macclesfield Town v Wigan Athletic - Pre-Season Friendly

Raheem Sterling

In 2011, Sterling was at Liverpool.

Sterling was on the verge of breaking in Liverpool’s first-team when the article was written and he certainly impressed when he was given the opportunity.

Four years later, though, and he moved to Manchester City for £49 million.

Watford v Manchester City - Premier League

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