Fans of English football should be excited for the future as a number of potential stars are ready to set the top division alight.
So then, let us take a look at some of the best youngsters we have in our game (aged 21 and under). The following list judges players by their current experience, attitude and overall talent.
20- Rhian Brewster (age 20)- Liverpool (on loan at Swansea)
Brewster hit the ground running at the Swans after joining in January, a momentum he has continued since the Championship’s restart. As a natural goalscorer who can play anywhere across the frontline, he would be the ideal replacement to one of the big three at Liverpool.
However, this could also be a problem for his development. Now 20 years old, he will be desperate to gain greater experience in the Premier League, if he stays at Liverpool next season, he may not get as much first team experience as he may like.
A loan move to another Premier league club is probably wise.
19- Dwight Mcneil (age 20)- Burnley
McNeil is now one of the first names on Dyche’s team sheet. He has had a hand in 8 goals in 21 Premier League games this year and is a strong reason why Burnley have got themselves into the top-half of the table.
Though accustomed to play more centrally, he has often been used on the left-side of midfield. As a team who do not dominate possession, McNeil has proven to be a fantastic outlet for Burnley in transition, it has to be said that he will never reach his full potential at Burnley- a move away from the club is advised.
18- Japhet Tanganga (age 21)- Spurs
Tanganga made his debut for Spurs against Champions Liverpool in January and put in a resolute display. A powerful defender with a great turn of pace, he has become a regular under Jose Mourinho.
The versatile youngster has played in numerous positions across the backline. He will have be more confident on the ball from the back if he wishes to become the complete modern day defender, the signs are certainly there, however.
17- Pedro Neto (age 20)- Wolves
Wolves’ young player of the year has got off to a great start in the Premier League, already scoring three times in a fantastic season for his club. Neto is an explosive forward who is capable of playing on both wings and is ideal for the counter-attack.
He has also proven to be very direct and confident in 1v1 scenario’s. There is currently no issue with his attitude as he seems invested Wolves’ project. He does need to improve his decision making in front of goal but this is something that can easily be learnt in the future.
16- Eric Garcia (age 19)- Manchester City
City’s director of football pulled off an unlikely coup in 2017 by walking into the famous La Masia academy and leaving with their best player. Garcia is the archetypal Pep Guardiola defender: a ball-playing centre-back who is confident playing out from the back and stepping into the base of the midfield.
He has already had promising performances at the heart of City’s defence and is now firmly part of Pep’s future plans. His problem, however, is his physical stature. At 5ft 10, he is not the strongest in the air nor is he blessed with great pace. He has admittedly not shown weakness yet but he will have to consistently keep up with the physicality of the English game to become a top defender.
15- Eddie Nketiah (age 21)- Arsenal
Certainly one to call when you are looking for a goal. The contemporary equivalent to the fox in the box. A player who relies on his instincts, Nketiah’s greatest quality is off the ball with great positioning in the final-third.
He has already leapfrogged Alexandre Lacazette in the pecking order at Arsenal as Mikel Arteta seems incredibly impressed by the striker’s work-ethic. His problem, a reason why he is currently lower down the list, is his ability on the ball. To truly become one of England’s best, he will have to be stronger when holding the ball up and linking the play.
14- Max Aarons (age 20)- Norwich
Aarons already has great first-team experience as he has been one of the few standout performers in a battling Norwich side this season. His style epitomises what is required of a modern day full-back: athletic, comfortable crossing the ball, a strong dribbler in attack and someone who can defend well in the 1v1 situations.
He does need to improve in the air defensively and unfortunately, there are a few things beyond his control that could affect his game in the future. If Norwich are to be relegated, you would expect them to allow Aarons to leave the club since he has proven he can play at the top level.
However, they may choose to keep him although there are also future stars in his position who are more talented than him so he may struggle to make it on the international stage.
13- Matteo Guendouzi (age 20)- Arsenal
One who would have been much nearer the top of this list a year ago. The Frenchman showed so much promise in his first season with the Gunners and his performances led to a French national team call up.
A very talented, energetic midfielder who is eager to get on the ball and dribble his way up the pitch, Guendouzi is also a fierce competitor. Whilst this is normally a good thing, he lets it get the better of him, shifting his in-game focus which often leads to him being in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
There are now strong rumours that Arsenal may be willing to sell him in the upcoming transfer window. He must have a better attitude if he wants to further succeed.
12- Billy Gilmour (age 19)- Chelsea
Gilmour’s great attitude has impressed Frank Lampard. Before the enforced break, he starred for Chelsea in the holding midfield role- a position they need to strengthen long-term, especially as N’golo Kante is entering the final years of his prime.
Gilmour’s impressive dribbling means that he weaves through the midfield, drawing important fouls along the way to help slow and control the game. He has also shown that he is confident passing the ball, perhaps he could become a deep lying playmaker in the future, similarly to how Cesc Fabregas was in his Chelsea years.
At only 5ft6, Gilmour will have to be tenacious in the midfield if he wishes to compete physically, but that has not looked a problem so far.
11- Brandon Williams (age 19)- Manchester United
Williams is certainly the best left-back we can look forward to seeing the youngster has established himself as a first-team regular at Old Trafford this season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
He has worked hard to add an attacking edge to his game, Williams likes to get forward on the overlap but is athletic enough to track back and defend.
The competition with teammate Luke Shaw is healthy and he is at the right club to develop his game to the next level.
10- Callum Hudson-Odoi (age 19)- Chelsea
Hudson-Odoi, like Guendouzi, should be higher on this list, he somehow negotiated a 400% increase on his weekly wage when he signed a £120,000-a-week contract extension at just the age of 18.
The deal came after he handed in a transfer request at Chelsea in an attempt to force a move to German giants Bayern Munich, Hudson-Odoi has since failed to show why he is worth that kind of money.
That being said, he is arguably the most technically gifted player on this list and at just 19, he still has plenty of time to change the way he is currently performing, with Lampard as his mentor, and with the right attitude, he can certainly become a future star in football.
9- Declan Rice (age 21)- West Ham
One of the more experienced players on the list, Rice was named West Ham’s player of the season last year and has established himself as a favourite amongst the fans.
He has already represented the English national team (and Ireland’s too) and has an incredible attitude, to add to that, he has captained West Ham’s first team and looks to be a great leader for the future.
He does need to be more consistent, though that could be said for the majority of the West Ham squad this season. Rice may have to leave the Hammers to become a top player in the English game.
8- Reece James (age 20)- Chelsea
After a successful loan spell at Wigan, James made himself a regular at Chelsea under Frank Lampard, his ability to cross from wide areas, both in deep and forward regions, is a big part of his game.
He took most of the set pieces at Wigan which is something that we might see more of in the Premier League, defensively, he recovers well and he is physical.
Unfortunately, James has already battled with injuries in his career, most recently sustaining a muscle injury in the intermittent friendly games. Hopefully, when he returns he can continue to show his talent.
7- Gabriel Martinelli (age 19)- Arsenal
The Brazilian has had a fantastic first year in English football, becoming the first teenaged Gunner to score more than 10 goals in a single season (all competitions) since Nicolas Anelka.
Martinelli is a versatile forward who can play on either wing or through the middle, he is comfortable running at defenders and has proven to be a clinical finisher.
However, like James, Martinelli sustained a bad injury this season which we hope will not strongly impact his development.
6- Mason Mount (age 21)- Chelsea
Lampard’s trust in Mount developed in the pair’s Derby days, he was a key part of the Rams’ playoff run alongside Harry Wilson in an innovative midfield.
Lampard rewarded Mount’s efforts at Derby with a run of games in the Premier League for Chelsea – and the youngster has not disappointed.
With 10 goal contributions in the league this year, Mount’s strengths are strikingly similar to his mentors: a creative midfielder with an eye for goal, whether he can one day reach Lampard’s numbers remains to be seen but there is no doubting his ability.
5- Bukayo Saka (age 18)- Arsenal
Saka signed a new four year deal this week in what is the Gunners’ most important bit of business this summer, he has been one of the few positives in a dismal season for the club and remains the central piece to the rebuild under Mikel Arteta.
He has been used in countless positions, particularly down the left-flank, but he has never once complained, already with 10 goal contributions, he has proven his worth and has become a fan favourite at the Emirates.
His potential issue may be the pressure put on him. If Aubameyang does choose to leave, many would argue Saka is the best player Arsenal have – a lot riding on an 18 year-old.
4- Mason Greenwood (age 18)- Manchester United
United have found themselves another goalscorer, the extremely talented teenager has already scored 15 goals for the club in all competitions as he has become a frequent feature at Old Trafford.
Originally a striker, Greenwood has been deployed out wide by Solskjaer; he likes to tuck inside in the final third and he is unafraid to let go when he sees an opportunity.
His fantastic left-foot, a key strength, may also become his weakness later on in his career, as teams may learn to counter him cutting inside. That being said, he should be able to adapt easily and continue to improve his game.
3- Christian Pulisic (age 21)- Chelsea
Another with plenty of first-team experience, not just in the Premier League but at Dortmund too. Pulisic really is showing that he will be one of the future stars in our game.
Burdened by his hefty £58m price-tag, the American is already displaying signs that he could fill the void left by Eden Hazard’s departure, a strong weak-foot allows him to play on either side of the field, but his speed and positioning is where he is really improving.
He is consistently getting in the right areas and benefitting from that awareness, you can see why Chelsea paid so much money for him.
2- Phil Foden (age 20) – Manchester City
City’s pride and joy. Foden could have the highest ceiling out of all the talent on this list.
Having already played a part in a domestic treble last season, he is now starting to play more games under Pep Guardiola, it looks certain that he will be the long-term replacement for City legend David Silva once the Spaniard leaves Manchester in the summer.
He continues to go from strength to strength and has been directly involved in 13 goals in his last 17 appearances altogether, a consistent record that indicates why he will be a big part of City’s future.
1-Trent Alexander-Arnold (age 21) – Liverpool
A local success story, Alexander-Arnold is the best young player in English football at this moment in time.
With a Champions League, Club World Cup and Premier League already in his personal trophy cabinet, it would be unfair to label him as a prospect because he is now one of the best full-backs in world football.
A defender with the creativity of some of the world’s finest midfielders, Alexander-Arnold has helped re-define the role of the full-back. He can still improve, particularly in defence.
That being said, if he continues to follow the right path, he will end up going down as one of the best to ever play the beautiful game.
There you have it. The top 20 wonderkids in English football.
Who will prove to be a star and who will let us down?