Ballsy Banter Roll Of Honour 2012: One To Watch in 2013

December 19, 2012 in Awards

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Day three of Ballsy Banter’s Roll Of Honour sees our panel look to the future and discuss the stars of tomorrow. Who has shown sparks of genius that could turn into blazes of genius in the following year? The Ballsy Banter team looks at our latest category - The ‘One to Watch’ in 2013.


Matty Deller 

Thomas Ince - Blackpool

Pace is a must in today’s football world - and the son of ‘the guv’na’ has it in spades and spades. Since singing from Liverpool (who now apparently want him back) in 2011, he has been the creative centre of The Seadsiders’ push to the play-off final last season and their impressive start to this one. Scoring ten goals this season, and setting up even more, he is on a one-man mission to get Blackpool into the top flight, unless he is poached by a Premier League club before then. England fans should be rubbing their hands at the pace the midfield could have in future years with this boy bombing down the left. We should also be thankful he didn’t take after his father.



Joseph Kingsley-Nyinah 

Tom Carroll - Tottenham

That’s right, it’s Carroll.

No, not that one. Tom Carroll.

He’s the one who plays for Tottenham in Europe and plays slots straight into the first team, making Tom Huddlestone look as slow and cumbersome as… Tom Huddlestone.

The 20 year-old is already referred to as “the English Luka Modric” by some fans, but I’m not going that far. That said, I expect great and terrible things from this boy…


Matt Harrison 

Pep Guardiola - Manager

Personally, I don’t think it will be a player that will define 2013, it’s far more likely to be a manager. Guardiola’s year-long sabbatical will come to an end in the summer and his destination seems to be either England or Italy. I don’t think he’ll be interested in Chelsea given their hire and fire policy, but I think he might just end up in Manchester. But which club? I think that Guardiola’s availability and choice will force the hand of the other club. If he wants to go to United and United know it’ll be their only chance of getting him for a good few years, might they have a quiet discussion with Fergie? City appear to have most of the back room team in place for Pep’s arrival, but would he prefer the history and stature of United? I think if Guardiola goes to United, then City will do everything in their power to get Mourinho; if it’s the other way round I think United may attempt to persuade Fergie to let Jose take the reins. Either way, I’ve got a funny feeling that the Manchester derby next season will have Pep and Jose in the dugouts.


Jonathan Holdstock 

Sean Morrison - Reading

As a Reading fan, I am going to be a bit biased here, but I genuinely believe that Sean is a great talent and will be one to watch out for. Since coming into the team against QPR, he has been our best player, showing great composure, commitment, leadership and a goal threat. He does need to work on his positioning, but he has all the attributes needed to be a top quality centre-back and he is still only 21. It is no surprise that Arsenal have been linked with him and if Reading do indeed go down, I can see him following in the footsteps of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones by joining a big club at a young age.


Ben Said Scott 

Jose Mourinho/Pep Guardiola - Managers

A bit of a cheat here, but with the top four English sides potentially being manager-less at the end of the season, and two of the highest-rated coaches in the game potentially without a club come the start of the new season, it is hard to look past these two managers as the ones to look out for in the new year. The positioning for managers has already started: Manchester City have brought in a lot of the old Barcelona back-room staff and Guardiola has been heavily linked with them. While Chelsea have perhaps over shot the mark in sacking Roberto Di Matteo so early, they too have been linked with Guardiola. Most interestingly perhaps is the potential for both Manchester United and Arsenal to be without a manager for the first time this century; the owners may feel that it is a good time to let the old guard stand aside and bring in two top class managers who surely won’t be on the market for much longer.


Dan Lloyd

Stephan El Shaarawy - AC Milan

This kid is 20 years old, is AC Milan’s youngest ever goalscorer in the Champions League, top goalscorer in Serie A right now, so yeah, stupid haircut aside, you should definitely keep your eye on this little gem of a player.


Aman Pathiara 

Ilkay Gundogan - Borussia Dortmund

If you had to credit Borussia Dortmund with one thing above all, it’s got to be for their eye for a midfielder. Having lost Nuri Sahin and Shinji Kagawa in recent years, Dortmund have simply gone on to find other, equally-as-good replacements. Ilkay Gundogan was brought in to replace Nuri Sahin in the Dortmund midfield two years ago, though the two are not that similar in terms of playing style. Gundogan plays deep in Dortmund’s midfield, with a less defensive mindset than Sebastian Kehl or Sven Bender, and is primarily tasked with linking up play with the more attacking players Dortmund boast. He does this brilliantly; he has an eye for a pass, and has a surprisingly good dribble for a player best described as a deep-lying playmaker. Breaking into that German team may be difficult, but at least he’s going about trying the right way. You’ll be hearing a lot more about this guy.


Manish Doolabh 

Marco Reus - Borussia Dortmund

Speaking of young talent at Dortmund, one of their brightest starlets is Marco Reus. He signed for Dortmund this season, after originally being released from the youth team in 2006. He went on to play for Borussia Moenchengladbach and in his first two seasons, scored 20 goals. But it was his third season (last season) that he really shone. He scored 21 goals and provided 14 assists in 37 appearances in all competitions. Dortmund offered him a second chance, and despite an offer from Bayern, Reus chose to go back to the Westfalenstadion. He’s hit the ground running this season too, with 10 goals in 22 games, and he looks to have it all; he can run at defenders, has a dangerous shot on him, and his movement is great. This is proving to be his best season yet, and at 23, he still has a fair bit of time to improve and really become a complete forward.


Farhat Raza 

Isco - Malaga

Isco and his Malaga team have been a breath of fresh air this season. His close control, burst of speed and the maturity in his play is wonderful to watch. Obviously full of talent and possibly leaving Malaga in the near future, Isco will be a prized asset for whoever he plays for over the next year. He’s shown his quality at the highest level in the Champions League already, and I wouldn’t be massively surprised if by the end of 2013, he is muscling in on a first team place for the Spain 2014 World Cup side.


So there are our picks for the ones to watch next year - do you agree? Are there any that we may have missed? Let us know! And don’t forget - we will be picking our ultimate winners in the ‘Ballsy D’or’ on the first brand new Ballsy Banter podcast of 2013.