Aston Villa
Aston Villa were crowned NextGen champions after beating Chelsea in the final.

With Aston Villa being crowned the NextGen series champions on Monday IBTimes UK thought it was time to look at the players who will soon be pushing for regular first team football.

Liverpool's Raheem Sterling and Celtic striker Tony Watt have shown that it is possible to force your way into the manager's plans so who will it be next season?

Name: Serge Gnabry

Club: Arsenal

Position: Winger

Serge Gnabry has already had a taste of first team football this season and will be keen to prove to Arsene Wenger that he belongs on the biggest stage. Having already made his bow in the Champions League against Schalke, the 17-year-old was the outstanding player in Arsenal's NextGen side that made the semi-finals of the competition. Blessed with exceptional pace and genuine trickery on the ball, Gnabry has the ability to play across the front three but looks at his most dangerous when on the right wing. His wonderfully taken goal against CSKA Moscow demonstrated calmness of the highest measure and his link up play with right-back Hector Bellerin has been a joy to behold. Already capped at Under-18 level for Germany, there appears no reason why Gnabry will not push the likes of Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for a place in the first team. Already Arsenal's third youngest ever player, behind Jack Wilshere and Cesc Fabregas, he will be hoping to emulate the career paths of these two superb central midfielders who are regarded as legendary figures in north London.

Name: Viktor Fischer

Club: Ajax

Position: Forward/Winger

Viktor Fischer has already made 18 appearances for Ajax this season and will surely go on to become a superstar at the Dutch club. Capped twice by Denmark, the 18-year-old is following in the footsteps of his fellow countryman Christian Eriksen who is recognised as one of Ajax's top talents. Despite his presence in the first team this season he still managed to score four goals in NextGen competition as the Dutch giants were eliminated by eventual champions Aston Villa in the first knockout stage. Having recently extended his contract until 2017, Fischer has often been chosen ahead of Ryan Babel and has scored important goals starting on the left wing or as a central forward. He has eight goals in the Eredevisie this season and there is still plenty to come from a player who has a genuine eye for goal and all the ability to become a prolific scorer in the Dutch league. He would still qualify for next season's competition but don't be surprised if he becomes a regular under Frank de Boer.

Name: Jordan Ibe

Club: Liverpool

Position: Winger

Liverpool first team coach Mike Marsh admitted earlier this week that Jordan Ibe was close to making the first team squad for the defeat to Southampton just over one week ago. The 17-year-old has been compared to Raheem Sterling and is similarly blessed with searing speed and excellent close control. Ibe had already made history by becoming Wycombe's youngest ever goal scorer before joining Liverpool in December 2011. He impressed in NextGen action against last season's champions Inter Milan and was always a threat in wide areas when handed a starting berth. Despite being predominantly right-footed he likes to play on the left in order to commit defenders and cut inside to get his shot away. If he continues to develop then he will provide competition to Sterling for a place in the first team squad as he is regarded as an even better prospect than the England international. Should Brendan Rodgers continue his policy of giving academy players a chance to shine then Ibe may well see action in the cup competitions next season.

Name: Islam Feruz

Club: Chelsea

Position: Striker

This 17-year-old was on the cusp of the Celtic first team when he made the move to Chelsea's academy in September 2011 and proved an instant success as he scored two goals in the first leg of the FA Youth Cup final. Islam Feruz has had an incredible path to football, having fled Yemen he obtained Scottish citizenship and became the youngest ever player to represent Scotland at Under-21 level. He received international recognition at just 14 when he played for the Scotland Under-17 side and has already scored 13 goals at youth level. He was the joint top scorer in this season's NextGen competition with seven goals; one of his most important coming in the semi-final against Arsenal. Despite his short stature, he has electric pace and is a clinical finisher when presented with even half an opportunity. With Chelsea being short of options in attack there could well be an opportunity in the coming season for Feruz to demonstrate his ability in the Chelsea first team.

Name: Fabrice Fokobo

Club: Sporting Lisbon

Position: Defensive Midfielder

Fabrice Fokobo scored one of the goals of the season in NextGen action when he volleyed a ball from all of 45 yards past helpless Tottenham goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux. But it was not just this goal that had people purring, it was his overall performance in midfield. A strong and athletic central midfielder, Fokobo looked like a man playing against children as he controlled the play with consummate ease. The 19-year-old made his debut for Sporting Lisbon last month against Porto, a huge match that showed plenty of faith in the youngster. Capped by Cameroon at youth level, he has the ability to fill in at centre-back, but looks at his best when patrolling the middle of the park. Playing in a similar way to that of fellow countryman Alex Song, Fokobo has shown that he can contribute in forward areas as well as providing a screen for his defence. With Sporting having to sell their best players because of their poor finances, it seems likely that Fokobo will be handed plenty more chances to demonstrate his ability in the Primeira Liga next season.