The start of the new Premier League season is underway, with Manchester United’s scraping past Tottenham Hotspur in a hotly contested 1-0 victory.
This weekend also marks the return of the new fantasy football season, which has recently been popularised through KSI’s hilarious promotional video featuring the now infamous Wealdstone Raider and other YouTube sensations.
While elite clubs such as Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City are all in the final stages of preparing for the new season, the nation’s army of fantasy football managers have strived to get their squad lists in on time.
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As all fantasy football managers will testify, managing a make-believe team is far harder than being in charge of Chelsea or Manchester United.
After all, while Louis van Gaal has a seemingly endless budget to spend on improving the squad, fantasy managers are often restricted to a paltry £100 million. This drives a need to identify talented youngsters who can be purchased for next to nothing.
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So here are three up-and-coming youngsters who are set to take the EPL by storm and add some much needed value to your Fantasy Football squad: -
Rolando Aarons (Newcastle United)
While there may be more heralded youngsters in England, Newcastle’s Rolando Aarons is included on this list for two key reasons. The first is his courage on the ball, which betrays considerable dribbling ability and a willingness to commit and ultimately beat defenders. He attempted 12 dribbles in just 128 minutes of EPL game-time last season, and added some much needed composure to a lacklustre Magpies attack.
In addition to this, it is fair to surmise that Newcastle manager Steve McClaren will give Aarons a number of opportunities in the first team this season, thanks to a lack of squad depth and the sheer pace the youngster adds to the Magpies’ front-line. Despite these factors, he is likely to cost a snip for fantasy managers and is certainly a viable options as part of a 14-man squad.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea)
Midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek is considered to be one of England’s most exciting prospects, and the youngster enhanced this reputation with a composed debut against Liverpool in May. He finished this game with a 100% pass completion rate, which in turn underlines his composure on the ball and innate ability to retain possession. Loftus-Cheek has far more to offer, however, as his strong physique and height also equips him to cope with the rigours of the English game.
Given the dominance of Nemanja Matic and the likelihood of Cesc Fabregas partnering him in the centre of Chelsea’s midfield, Loftus-Cheek’s playing time is likely to be limited. He has certainly moved ahead of John Obi-Mikel in the pecking order, however, and he is likely to feature in away games where manager Jose Mourinho is keen to adopt a more defensive line-up. If he can make the most of his chances, he may well be a valuable Fantasy League addition in 2015.
Andreas Pereira (Manchester United)
Manchester United managed to agree a contract extension with this precocious midfielder last season, and this decision was justified by the youngster’s performance during the U-20 World Cup in the summer. It is also an indication that he may be afforded more game-time in the coming season, despite that addition of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin to the Manchester United first team squad.
As anyone who saw Pereira’s wonder goal in the U-20 World Cup final, however, the Brazilian is an attacking midfielder with silky dribbling skills, an eye for goal and an ability to perform on the big stage.
He also has the versatility to play anywhere in midfield, meaning that he will have more chances to play and showcase his considerable skills. Assists and goals are likely to follow, and he is a low cost addition that can help your fantasy team to flourish.