Soccer Saturday pundits pick their player for 2019

Soccer Saturday pundits Paul Merson, Matt Le Tissier, Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas cast their verdict
Image: The Soccer Saturday pundits select their star of 2019

As another exhilarating year of footballing action draws to a close, the Soccer Saturday pundits have picked the player they think will have a big 2019.

The climax of 2018 is nearly upon us and already we are looking ahead to what promises to be another fascinating 12 months in the world of football.

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However, who is the one to keep a close eye out on next year? Here the Soccer Saturday pundits look into their crystal balls and make their choices...

Paul Merson - Ross Barkley

 during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Chelsea FC at Turf Moor on October 28, 2018 in Burnley, United Kingdom.

He's a good player and Chelsea have a lot of games coming up in the new year. I don't see Eden Hazard being there next season, and Barkley may be one of those that has to step up. I think the older he gets, the better he'll get.

He's definitely improved as a player, and I think he'll improve again. I've always been a fan of his, but didn't think he understood the game as much as he does now. He took too many touches, but now knows when to release the ball. He has learned very quickly.

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Charlie Nicholas - Reiss Nelson

Reiss Nelson of Arsenal during the Premier League 2 match between Arsenal U23 and Brighton & Hove Albion U23 at Emirates Stadium on August 20, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

I was kind of hoping this lad would come back to Arsenal in January because he's in the Bundesliga right now.

He's doing really well in Germany and every time I see him, I think there's a lot there. Arsenal have three or four young kids that have real potential, but this lad has something really exciting about him. When he gets on the ball he makes something happen. I wouldn't be surprised in six months' time, if Mesut Ozil was to move on, to see this lad adapt and become an Ozil-type player.

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When he first came on to the scene, they used him as a right winger and sometimes as a wing-back, but I think he's better than that, I think he should be given more freedom. He can be Arsenal's new superstar.

Matt Le Tissier - Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling

He has already had an incredible 2018, but I think he will get even better next year. Under Pep Guardiola, he seems to just go from strength to strength.

And next year I think he will take it to an even higher level, and he will become an extra special player.

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Phil Thompson - Mohamed Salah

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 22, 2018. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read: Dave Thompson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

The great thing about Mo Salah is he's always in with a shout of scoring, even when things weren't going right for him at the start of last season. And at the start of this season he always looks like he can score.

He never seems to doubt himself and that's probably his greatest quality. He's always in there getting into positions to try and score a goal.

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