Coral’s Premier League awards 2014/15: Best Newcomer making a step up
It’s awards season, and we at Coral are holding our own as the Premier League campaign approaches the run-in.
We’ve seen superb signings shine and homegrown heroes hailed this term, and there will be several categories, though players can only be nominated in a maximum of two to ensure everyone has a fair crack.
Next up is our Newcomer of the Season Award, with all five nominees having made a step up to the top-flight this campaign, following a path from different inferior backgrounds. Coral’s football experts have come together and highlighted the subsequent superb stars that have made an instant impact since their arrival in England’s top division.
QPR have endured a tough season since clinically climbing from the Championship last term, having been involved in a ruthless relegation battle for the majority of this current campaign and losing former manager Harry Redknapp along the way.
However, astute attacker Austin has been a shining light in an otherwise bleak season so far, with Rangers’ dangerman incredibly closing in on the 20-goal mark for the campaign (17 strikes after matchday 32).
The 25-year-old has made a genuinely sublime rise to prominence, following his scoring exploits in the Championship last season, when he netted 20 times, including a delightful double in the play-off semi-final against Wigan.
Austin’s prolific step up to the top tier this term is made all the more impressive by the fact he was getting goals in non-league football as recently as 2008, before making the move to semi-professional standard with Poole Town for a season, while he also worked as a bricklayer.
Swindon Town snapped the striker up in 2009 and, after later scoring 41 league goals for Burnley, the in-form forward swapped the Clarets for the Hoops and has never looked out of his depth in England’s top division. His current employers are a 7/2 chance with Coral to stay up this season, after a torrid top-flight term.
Watch highlights of QPR’s domestic league encounter with Arsenal, including a superb strike from Austin.
Burnley were also drawn into a fight to avoid an immediate drop to the Championship, with Sean Dyche’s Clarets struggling to keep their head above water in the table’s dropzone.
The Turf Moor outfit have been battling hard all season to halt an instant second tier return, with star striker Ings the key hope in their relegation tussle. Burnley sharpshooter Ings is closing in on double figures in the Premier League this term and is the club’s current leading marksman, proving his top-tier credentials and adaptable attacking abilities.
Having made the step up from the Championship this season, the England Under-21 international has made a rampant rise to prominence with his encouraging goalscoring exploits, giving the Clarets a shred of belief in their battle to beat the drop.
With the majority of the attacking burden falling on the 22-year-old’s shoulders, it will be difficult for his side to retain their top-flight status as they enter a tough Premier League run in. If the worst does happen, Ings is seemingly unlikely to remain at the club, with many top-tier clubs circling for his sought-after signature this summer.
Watch highlights of Ings’ clinical strikes so far this calendar year for Burnley in the Premier League.
West Ham United have benefited massively form the potent performances of their talented full back, with Cresswell having been a regular feature this season, making an impressive 32 appearances after matchday 32.
Former Liverpool youth product Cresswell has made a successful transformation from a promising Championship full back to an all round solid top-flight defender, earning his place as the Hammers’ first-choice left back at Upton Park, following his switch from Ipswich Town last summer.
The left footed 25-year-old was voted Supporters Player of the Year during his time with the Tractor Boys in 2012 and has become a huge hit on east London too, having recently fired home a sensational free kick in his side’s 1-1 draw with Stoke City.
Watch fantastic fan footage of Cresswell’s unstoppable free-kick against Stoke in a recent Premier League clash.
With the majority of the other nominees in this category having made a step up from lower leagues in England, Newcastle United full back Janmaat has made a lasting impact on the top-flight having arrived from a different foreign route.
The Netherlands international right back has been superb on Tyneside this term, during a season when the Magpies have been far form their best, with a mid-table finish the seemingly likely outcome following their imminent run in.
Dominant Dutch defender Janmaat joined Newcastle last summer from Eredivisie giants Feyenoord, following a successful World Cup showing for his country under Louis van Gaal in Brazil. Despite having signed a six-year contract upon arrival, many top-flight clubs are reportedly keen on his services, including Liverpool, following brilliant displays at St James’ Park.
The Toon have endured a lacklustre finish to their campaign but, without the versatile full back in their ranks, proceedings could have been a lot worse, with the defender having fantastically filled in at centre back to cover many injured Newcastle stars.
Janmaat’s impressive campaign has made him a favourite with the challenging Geordie faithful, and his superb showings would surely make him a worthy winner of our award.
Watch Janmaat score a screamer for Feyenoord before his switch to Tyneside last summer.
The previously high-flying Hammers sensationally climbed into the Premier League’s top four places during an emphatic earlier stint, with their Senegal international frontman having hit the Upton Park ground running in his maiden campaign.
Sam Allardyce discovered a transfer gem last summer, with ferocious frontman Sakho instantly opening his West Ham account and striking a clinical eight goals in his first nine top-flight outings, during the Hammers’ jubilant start to the campaign. The sublime Senegalese striker has made a sensational step up this term, having played in France’s Ligue 2 last season, firing Metz to first place and an automatic promotion to Ligue 1.
Despite his sharpness in front of goal easing off towards the season run in, as well as West Ham’s overall performances, Sakho has still managed to grab vital strikes for his side this year, including the winner over Sunderland last month, bringing his season tally to into double figures.
Sakho’s superb showings have sent him on his way to becoming a Hammers hero, providing the club can secure his services for the immediate future on East London. West Ham are now odds-on 8/15 to secure top 10 finish this term, despite a close challenge from Crystal Palace and Stoke City.
Watch Sakho header home the opener for West Ham in an FA Cup match against Bristol City earlier in the season.