Top five biggest breakout Premier League stars in 2021 including Emile Smith Rowe's incredible emergence at Arsenal
LAST year saw the emergence of more home grown talent in the Premier League.
Teams like Arsenal have thrived using their academy, producing two standout England internationals.
Southampton have adopted picking up top talent from clubs like Chelsea and handing those players minutes in the top flight, a gamble which so far has paid off.
The likes of Manchester City and West Ham have also enjoyed handing youngsters minutes in largely settled first-teams.
And for Leeds, injuries to key players handed a tenacious centre-back the chance to shine.
But who are the five biggest breakout Premier League stars in 2021?
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Emile Smith Rowe
Emile Smith Rowe simply has to be mentioned.
The Hale End academy product staked a claim in Mikel Arteta's first-team last season, but has since taken his game to a new level.
He has even been described as the best ball carrier in the division by Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher.
Smith Rowe has nine goals and two assists to his name so far this term, with a handful of the goals coming from the bench.
His form even earned him a first senior call up to Gareth Southgate's England squad, where he plays alongside Arsenal team-mate and fellow academy product Bukayo Saka.
Southampton pinched Tino Livramento from Chelsea's productive academy.
The 18-year-old was named Chelsea’s academy player of the year last season but decided to leave to progress his career with top-flight game-time.
It is often seen as a gamble handing regular first-team minutes to youngsters fresh out of the academy, but in Southampton's case, it has paid off.
Livramento has made 19 appearances this term.
The right-back also plays alongside Chelsea loanee Armando Broja, who has six goals to his name for the Saints.
Leeds have been plagued by injuries this season.
And the sheer amount of absentees handed a young Charlie Cresswell the chance to impress, and impress he has.
The centre-back, 19, has played 15 times for Leeds so far this season and his form has landed him on the radar of some top clubs.
As SunSport exclusively revealed, both Manchester United and Liverpool hold an interest in Cresswell.
Unfortunately, Cresswell is currently out injured having dislocated his shoulder and isn't expected to be back in action until late January or early February.
West Ham are nicknamed The Academy of Football having produced some of England's biggest stars past and present.
Since 2019, boss David Moyes has handed 12 debuts to academy players.
Declan Rice is the latest Hammers star, who could cost big teams upwards of £100m come the summer transfer window.
But Ben Johnson is the next star to come through at the London stadium.
The versatile defender can play wide on both sides of the defence as well as part of a back three.
Johnson, 21, has played 17 times for West Ham this season and has provided good competition for last season's standout performer Vladimír Coufal.
Manchester City is arguably the hardest team for academy youngsters to break into.
Phil Foden managed to do it at City under Pep Guardiola, and Cole Palmer has shown he'll be able to do the same.
The 19-year-old has played in the league, Champions League and the Carabao Cup this term.
And he has two goals to show for it, including a fantastic finish against Club Brugge.
The City academy star has 'special quality' which is 'difficult to find', according to boss Guardiola.
The Spaniard said of Palmer: "Cole has a special quality in front of the box, a talent that is difficult to find.
"When he has the ball there, most of the time, it ends up in the net.
"It's difficult to find that. I know how it works with young players. We have to be calm and patient.
"His position is the second team, but at the same time, he trains with us and works with our principles.
"I am happy with the goal. He could have done a few actions a little bit better, but that is normal. It is experience.
"The people in this world want things immediately, quick, but everything needs time," he added.
"You cannot cook a good dish if you don't spend time in the kitchen. So, take time."
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