We all love to see players fulfil their potential, especially when they improve beyond expectations. There are some young players who work hard to fulfil their potential, whilst other players enjoy resurgence in the latter stages of their career.
This season has seen a number of players improving dramatically compared to last term, becoming key figures for their teams and star performers in the Premier League. Teams like Southampton and West Ham have reached a new level compared to their respective form last season, and it is largely due to the improvement of some first-team players that have really upped their game this season.
And there are also players that have almost come out of nowhere and defied expectations by taking the Premier League by storm, with the likes of Spurs and Liverpool witnessing some of their young players establish themselves as first team regulars.
So here are five of the most improved Premier League players so far this season….
The 24-year-old has been in exceptional form this season and has been a shining light in a Manchester United team that is still developing under Louis Van Gaal. There have been many games where the Spaniard has produced fantastic saves to win his team vital points in United’s push for the top four this year.
De Gea showed glimpses of what he could do last season but it was a lack of consistency that was missing from his game. He is now one of United’s most reliable performers and is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. If he continues to develop at the current rate he is showcasing so far, United will soon have the best goalkeeper in the world, providing the perfect catalyst for building a strong team for the future.
The hype surrounding Harry Kane has gone into overdrive in recent weeks and it is not really surprising. The English striker has been one of the most dangerous front men this season, scoring 13 goals in 21 Premier League games this season. He looks like a future England international, with many believing that he should be starting for his country very soon.
Kane was used in a bit-part role for Tottenham Hostpur last season but Mauricio Pochettino has given him the opportunity to impress and Kane has seized his chance to the fullest.
The lack of form from both Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor means that the 21-year-old is now one of Tottenham’s most important players. If he continues to score consistently, Kane is sure to be a hit both domestically and internationally for many years to come.
When Sakho joined Liverpool from Paris Saint Germain for £18 million in 2013, he struggled to adapt to the Premier League and a number of injury problems prevented him from cementing a regular place in the Liverpool side. Despite the Frenchman’s lack of consistency in English football, this season has been a different story for the big centre-back.
Alongside Emre Can and Martin Skrtel in a Liverpool back three, Sakho has produced solid, assured displays that have made Liverpool a difficult unit to break down in recent months; recording an impressive nine Premier League cleans sheets this season.
At just 25-years-old, Sakho could be finally finding his feet in the Premier League and fulfilling the raw potential that was so evident when he played for PSG.
The former Liverpool winger has been in scintillating form this season and is easily one of the most improved Premier league players in the league.
Sam Allardyce recognised Downing’s potential to play through the middle of midfield in more of an attacking, creative position. It gave Downing more space in a ‘free role’ where he has seen a lot more of the ball compared to his original wing position.
It is what he has done with the ball that has made Downing so impressive to watch this season. He has made 57 key passes this season, bettered only by Eden Hazard with 62.
The midfielder has also scored five goals and provided seven assists in the Premier League this season, earning him a return to England’s international squad. A lot of West Ham’s best play has come through Stewart Downing this season and his change of playing position has been the key to Downing’s good form so far.
Jose Fonte has been playing for Southampton for five years, becoming one of the main reasons behind the Saints’ excellent rise to competing for a top four place in the Premier League this season.
The 31-year-old has been instrumental to the way Ronald Koeman’s side have defended so brilliantly this season. Southampton have conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League this season (17) and as a result have the most clean sheets in the league this season with 12.
Fonte reads the game well and has excellent timing in the tackle. An imposing figure at the back, the Portuguese international has really stepped up to the plate this season, producing consistently good displays that have been fundamental to Southampton’s rise up the Premier League table.