EPL 2019-20: Top 5 young players who endured relegation

Norwich City were one of three relegated teams in the 2019-20 EPL.
Norwich City were one of three relegated teams in the 2019-20 EPL.
Amitabh Sharma

With the longest ever EPL season coming to an end, Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich City ended their stay in the English top flight. Incidentally, all three teams were promoted to the EPL from the Championship together in 2015.

A return to the second division does not mean that all is over for all the players in these three teams. Some of them proved their mettle in the EPL and look likely yo be snapped up by some of the bigger teams in the competition.

On that note, here are the top five young players from the three relegated EPL clubs in 2019-20 who impressed the most.

Top five young players from relegated teams in the 2019-20 EPL:

#1: Max Aarons (Norwich City)

Max Aarons in action.
Max Aarons in action.

Norwich City endured a miserable 2019-20 EPL season, conceding a league high 75 goals to take the last place in the latest edition of the English top flight.

Despite such an underwhelming performance in defence, the two Norwich City full-backs Jamal Lewis and Max Aarons made their mark and are now two of the most sought after players in the team.

Aarons, who came up through the youth ranks at the club, won the EFL Championship with Norwich City last year. Blessed with offensive intelligence and athleticism, Aarons has been an integral player in manager Daniel Farke's team. The full-back was a reliable presence in the Norwich back-4 in the recently concluded domestic season, making 36 EPL starts.

He is a good reader of the game and seems to enjoy battles with wingers. Aarons makess use of his upper-body strength to outmanouevre opposition players to reclaim possession. Aged only 20, Aarons has proven himself to be a very capable defender.

Aarons is a modern-day full-back who is adept in attack as well. The youngster looks comfortable with the ball at his feet and regularly contributes in turning defence into attack. He does so by either carrying the ball forward or waiting to receive a pass in the final third to create chances.

The full-back is also efficient in making overlapping runs. On many instances in the 2019-20 EPL, Aarons moved to the outside of the impressive Emiliano Buendia who prefers to drift inside rather than hugging the touchline. However, Aarons' final ball is still a work in progress and is identified as one weak spot in his game.

Aarons is far from a finished product. But he was good enough in the latest season of the EPL to attract the attentions of big clubs like Bayern Munich and Tottenham Hotspur.

#2: Aaron Ramsdale (Bournemouth)

Aaron Ramsdale was arguably the best player in a depleted Bournemouth squad in the 2019-20 EPL.
Aaron Ramsdale was arguably the best player in a depleted Bournemouth squad in the 2019-20 EPL.

In a dismal season where Bournemouth ended their 5-year stay in the EPL, there were a few positives. One of them is Aaron Ramsdale who enjoyed a breakthrough season at the club.

Ramsdale arrived at Bournemouth in 2017 from Sheffield United but was sent on back to back loan spells to Chesterfield and AFC Wimbledon respectively in the two seasons. Before the start of the 2019-20 EPL season, Ramsdale looked set to depart for a third loan spell.

However, manager Eddie Howe had other plans in mind for the young goalkeeper. Having lost faith in Asmir Begovic, Howe did not seem too keen to turn to the 39-year-old Artur Boruc.

Instead, the Bournemouth manager elevated Ramsdale to the number one role, an opportunity the 21-year-old custodian grabbed with both hands. He started in 37 (out of 38) EPL games for the Cherries, making 129 saves during the season, which was the third highest in the season behind only Martin Dubravka and Tim Krul.

Despite being a part of the third-worst EPL defence, the young goalkeeper put up some stunning displays to earn praise from experts who hailed him as the best player at Bournemouth this season.

In what has been a bright start to his career, Ramsdale impressed with some stunning performances. Several teams are looking to sign the reliable shot-stopper as it looks likely that Ramsdale could feature in the EPL next season.

#3: Todd Cantwell (Norwich City)

22-year-old Todd Cantwell has been one of the mainstays in the midfield for Norwich City.
22-year-old Todd Cantwell has been one of the mainstays in the midfield for Norwich City.

Despite enduring an underwhelming EPL season, Norwich City had some talented players running the show for them. One of them was attacking midfielder Todd Cantwell who made 37 EPL appearances for the Canaries this season.

Cantwell, who is a graduate from the renowned Norwich City Academy, made his debut for the first team last season in the EFL Championship where he played a bit-part role. However, things were different in 2019-20 as the player flourished in a central role as a midfielder.

Capable of unlocking defences with killer passes or by shooting the ball from distance, Cantwell's creativity in attack is one of his shining attributes. Predominantly used as an attacking midfielder on the left flank in the 2019-20 EPL, he was also deployed on the right on a few occasions.

The versatile midfielder scored six EPL goals in the recently concluded season while also providing two assists. His attacking prowess does not make him less efficient in defence, as was evident in his 1.4 tackles per game.

Cantwell put up some captivating performances in the 2019-20 EPL. With more experience under his belt, he is likely to improve.

The Norwich City midfielder is one of the sought-after players in the Norwich squad; Liverpool, Sheffield United, Leicester City and Newcastle United are rumoured to be interested in the services of the 22-year-old midfielder.

#2: Ismaila Sarr (Watford)

Ismaïla Sarr in action for Watford.
Ismaïla Sarr in action for Watford.

Ismaila Sarr was one of the few players at Watford who were rare positives in an otherwise gloomy EPL season for the Hornets which ended in relegation.

The speed merchant put up some scintillating performances in the 2019-20 EPL, proving that on his day, the Senegalese winger is capable of destroying any defence.

Arriving from Ligue 1 side Rennes with a reputation of tormenting full-backs with his pace and acceleration, Sarr had a difficult start in the EPL as opportunities were hard to come by. It was only until Nigel Pearson arrived, the third manager of the season for Watford, when Sarr finally got a decent run in the eleven.

Sarr lit up Vicarage Road in February against Liverpool, where he scored two goals and assisted Troy Deeney in the famous 3-0 drubbing of the newest EPL champions. His exquisite pace and physicality proved too hot to handle for the Liverpool defence that night. Sarr almost single-handedly ended Liverpool's 18-game unbeaten streak and deservedly earned the Man-of-the-Match award.

Tallying five goals and four assists in his maiden EPL season, Sarr could improve at a better team. His raw abilities make him an exciting prospect.

After failing to avoid the drop, Watford look set to lose their star forward to one of the top EPL clubs; there are a plethora of them who are interested in the services of the Senegalese winger.

#1: Emiliano Buendia (Norwich City)

Emiliano Buendia: Norwich City's Creator-in-Chief
Emiliano Buendia: Norwich City's Creator-in-Chief

Despite finishing the 2019-20 EPL at the rock bottom, several Norwich City players impressed during an otherwise dismal campaign. Emiliano Buendia, commonly known as 'Emi', was one such standout performer for the club.

Signed from Spanish club Getafe in 2018, Buendia was bought by the Canaries to replace the departing James Maddinson. Plying his trade on loan to a second division Spanish team in 2017, Buendia by no means was a household name in the game. But kudos to the Norwich City recruitment team who got this transfer call spot on.

In the 2019-20 EPL, Buendia created more chances than any other player in the despite playing for one of the relegated teams. He notched up impressive numbers in chances created, managing 2.3 key passes a game.

A skilled dribbler, Emi Buendia pulled off a staggering 2.8 dribbles per game from the right flank. With seven assists, he was the highest provider in the squad, and his numbers could have been better if the Canaries had a better finisher up front.

Along with his creative output, Buendia made key contributions in defence as well, making 2.3 tackles per game.

Emiliano Buendia proved his mettle in the English top flight during his first season in the competition. If he moves to a more dominant side, his stats would only spike up.

Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United are heavily linked with the Norwich City star man. However, with other clubs sniffing at a chance to sign him, Leeds United face stiff competition in securing the services of Buendia.

Also Read: EPL 2019-20: 10 players who are leaving their clubs at the end of the season.

Honourable Mentions

Ben Godfrey (Norwich City), Jamal Lewis (Norwich City), David Brooks (Bournemouth), Harry Wilson (Bournemouth).

Edited by Bhargav


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