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Best Young British Players in 2021

Sat 08 January 2022 | 8:30

Coming to the end of 2021, we are taking a look at the eventful football year and what is more important in today’s game than its young superstars and the massive amount of young talent that dominate today’s footballing landscape. Join us as we gather 16 of the best young British players in 2021.

In a year that the England national team based on some of the finest young English football players 2021 reached the semi-finals of Euro 2020, Wales qualified out of Group A in the second place to be eliminated at the Round of 16 stage following a 4–0 defeat to Denmark. Scotland as well was in the massive European tournaments that showcased some of the

best young footballers 2021

.

While England have qualified for the upcoming Qatar World Cup, Wales and Scotland have a great chance in the playoffs to secure their qualification. Including both Irelands, all British national teams are optimistic toward the future as their see some of the best talents they ever had.

British football has always been a fertile ground for developing young players and as the Premier League is becoming more and more competitive in the past several seasons, so have the clubs invested more time and money into developing British youngsters. All of this has done British countries wonders as they are currently experiencing a golden age in terms of having some of the most talented young players in the world. Hence, we gather you our ultimate list of best young British players in 2021.

All You Need to Know About Best Young British Players in 2021

Scouting British players from Scottish Premiership to Netherlands’ Eredivisie, we gather you best young English football players in addition to some of the finest young Scots, Welsh, and Irish players who had a brilliant season and are continuing their development through their clubs as well as national teams.

16. Jason Knight

  • Club: Derby County

  • Age: 20

  • Nationality: Republic of Ireland

  • Position: Centre-Midfielder

Starting our list of

best young British players in 2021

with Wayne Rooney’s Irish jewel at Derby County’s midfield, Jason Knight. Wayne Rooney has a hard job in hand in keeping him at his financially weak Derby County as he’s attracted the interests of Premier League clubs likes Manchester City, Everton, and West Ham this January. Due to the Midlands outfit’s off-field troubles, Derby are at risk of losing several of their academy prospects in the near future as their struggles to find a new owner continue.

Knight has established himself as one of the Championship’s most promising prospects in recent years after scoring 11 goals and providing three assists in 97 appearances for the Rams. Wayne Rooney dubbed the youngster a “manager’s dream” who “gives everything”.

The youngster has started 15 of his 18 league appearances so far this season after playing 43 Championship games last season. Already an established part of Stephen Kenny’s Ireland side, Knight has earned 9 caps after making his debut for the senior team away to Finland on 14 October 2020.

15. Noni Madueke

  • Club: PSV Eindhoven

  • Age: 19

  • Nationality: England

  • Position: Winger

Finding motivation in Jadon Sancho’s development in Dortmund, the former Tottenham wonderkid snubbed the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United to join the Dutch club

PSV

in June 2018. Waiting for his debut until 26 August 2019, Madueke has established himself as one of the best young footballers 2021 as he’s attracting the eyes of elite clubs like Bayern.

In 24 appearances he made last season for PSV, Madueke contributed 7 goals and 4 assists and is continuing his progress by scoring twice in 8 appearances this season.  

Although the 19-year-old has recently an extension with PSV, he indicated he'd be open to playing back in England in the future.

“Yeah, definitely. The Premier League is the best league in the world and every young English player wants to be there,” Madueke told an interview.

14. Billy Gilmour

  • Club: Norwich (on loan from Chelsea)

  • Age: 20

  • Nationality: Scotland

  • Position: Defensive Midfielder

Gilmour

started his youth career at Rangers Academy as his progress saw him fast-tracked towards the first team, making his debut for the under-20 development team at the age of 15 and being invited to train with the first-team squad the following month, convincing everyone included Chelsea of his talents as Chelsea signed the teenager for £500,000.

Chelsea’s manager Frank Lampard gave Billy his senior debut on 10 July 2019 in a pre-season friendly against Bohemians in Dublin. Billy’s first official appearance was in UEFA Super Cup 2019 against their rival Liverpool.

Gilmour made 11 senior appearances for Chelsea last season Chelsea see Gilmour's long-term future at Stamford Bridge, but they are willing to let him gain more experience through playing regularly as they loaned him to Norwich. In 12 Premier League appearances for Norwich this season, Gilmour has provided and a perfect presence at midfield with his incredible passes and concentration, making him one of the best young British players in 2021.

Gilmour also has earned 10 Scotland appearances, being a favorite for Scotland boss Steve Clarke.

13. Michael Olise

  • Club: Crystal Palace

  • Age: 20

  • Nationality: England/France

  • Position: Attacking Midfielder

One of the most promising young English football players 2021, Olise for long was Reading’s wonderkid as his performance in the 2020-21 season made him nominated for the 2021 EFL Young Player of the Season.

Providing 12 assists and 7 goals for Reading last term, Olise established himself as one of the best young English football players in the Championship before earning an £8.3m move to Crystal Palace last summer.

In 13 appearances so far this season, of which 11 of them were from the bench, Olise contributed 2 goals and 3 assists as Patrick Viera wants the youngster to stake a claim for starting spot. Olise produced an impressive cameo in Palace’s Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at home to West Ham, firstly assisting Odsonne Edouard before grabbing his second goal for the club with a free-kick late on.

12. Callum Hudson-Odoi

  • Club: Chelsea

  • Age: 21

  • Nationality: England/Ghana

  • Position: Winger

After falling out of Frank Lampard’s favor, Hudson-Odoi experienced a revival under Thomas Tuchel’s reign. Thomas Tuchel has opted to use three central defenders since being appointed as Frank Lampard’s replacement and there has been fierce competition for places up front that Callum Hudson-Odoi has been called to play in the more defensive positions. Making 23 Premier League appearances last term, the Chelsea winger contributed 2 goals and 3 assists as he was essential to the Blues’ Champions League triumph as well.

His ability of crossing and dribble means he’s comfortable holding the width and isolating his fullback one on one. At the same time, his acceleration and ability to combine with swift passing sequences mean he can move into more congested areas as well. Any player with this range of abilities would be considered an exciting prospect, but Hudson-Odoi also has a presence about him on the pitch.

If the Chelsea winger continues to develop the range of attributes he already possesses and add further elements to it, Callum Hudson-Odoi could genuinely be among the generational talents of European football.

11. Marc Guéhi

  • Club: Crystal Palace

  • Age: 21

  • Nationality: England/Ivory Coast

  • Position: Centre-Back

After spending two seasons at Swansea on loan, the Chelsea Academy product established himself among the Best young footballers 2021 and earned himself an £18 million transfer to Crystal Palace last summer, becoming the club's third-most expensive signing of all time.

During last season at Swansea,

Guehi

demonstrated his ability to provide tenacious defense when he played for Swansea City. Having a constant presence on defense in the 2020–21 season, He helped the side secure a fourth-place EFL finish and a whopping 17 clean sheets through 43 Championship appearances he made. He was essential to Swansea’s rise to the Championship playoffs final where they were defeated by Brentford. Guehi could feel his destiny drawing him to the Premier League after the end of the 2020/2021 EFL season.

This season as well Guehi was among Palace’s best performers, starting 19 of 20 Palace’s Premier League matches. Guehi's powerful tackles and ability to reclaim possession with his pace and skillful play can provide that extra breadth. With his sliding interceptions, the former Chelsea FC player can disrupt the opposition's attack and make timely clearances from within the box. Guehi is a quick center-back who has shown good defensive play with several outstanding blocks.

10. Ethan Ampadu

  • Club: Venezia (On loan from Chelsea)

  • Age: 21

  • Nationality: Wales

  • Position: Centre-Back

Despite Sheffield United’s relegation from the Premier League in the 2020-21 season, Ethan Ampadu was one of the best young defenders in the Premier League as he made 25 Blade appearances. While it can be hard to stand out in a team who has been so poor, he put in an average WhoScored match rating of 6.70, the highest of any player at Sheffield United. It is also understandable not to be keeping clean sheets regularly given the context of their season. He is an aggressive and proactive defender, as well as putting in good defensive numbers, he was also a solid creative force from the back, demonstrating a good ability to move the ball forwards by carrying it or passing.

Being eligible to represent England, the Republic of Ireland, and Ghana, Ampadu plays internationally for the Wales national football team. He made his debut on 10 November at the Stade de France, coming on as a 63rd-minute substitute for Joe Ledley in a 2–0 defeat when he was only 16.

The Welshman can effectively slot into the backline or midfield and look like he belongs and is spending the current season on loan at Venezia, making 12 Serie A appearances so far.

9. Curtis Jones

  • Club: Liverpool

  • Age: 20

  • Nationality: England

  • Position: Centre-Midfielder

The Liverpool prodigy is undoubtedly one of the

best young English football players

during the previous Premier League seasons. Rising through the ranks of the Reds’ academy, it was announced that

Curtis Jones

would take up the number 17 shirt in the 2020-21 season, a shirt that was formerly worn by Liverpool legends Steven Gerrard and Steve McManaman. Due to injuries to star midfielders and the injury crisis in their defensive line, Jones's role in the team increased. As a box-to-box midfielder, Jones was a standout in academy football due to his attacking prowess.

Making 34 appearances for the Reds through all competitions, Curtis Jones scored five goals and provided four assists in the 2020/21 season. This season the 20-year-old suffered a bizarre eye injury during training and further tested positive for Covid, meaning he missed Liverpool’s last 13 fixtures before making his return against Thomas Tuchel’s side this week. His return will be a welcome relief for Jurgen Klopp with his squad being stretched at times due to Covid issues

8. Tariq Lamptey

  • Club: Brighton

  • Age: 21

  • Nationality: England/Ghana

  • Position: Right-Back

The next in our list of the best young British players in 2021 is the Chelsea Academy product, Tariq Lamptey, who joined the seagulls on 31 January 2020 as he started his Brighton career in style, making an impressive debut in a 0–0 away draw against Leicester City on 23 June. Despite joining mid-season, he finished the 2019/20 Premier League campaign with eight league appearances for Albion.

The 2020/21 season would prove to be one of frustration for Lamptey, who despite impressing during the 11 appearances he made, had his campaign curtailed by a hamstring injury, which saw him miss the season from December onwards.

However, the England U21 international has started this season in style after returning from his long-term injury. On 1 December, Lamptey's cross found Neal Maupay where he fired home a 89th-minute acrobatic equalizer away at West Ham as he has made 12 league appearances so far this season, being heavily linked with a move to Arsenal.

7. Harvey Elliott

  • Club: Liverpool

  • Age: 18

  • Nationality: England

  • Position: Winger/Midfielder

Next on our list of

best young British players in 2021

is Liverpool’s fan-favorite and wonderkid, Harvey Elliot.

After a memorable campaign at Craven Cottage during which he became the Premier League’s youngest-ever player in the 2018/19 season, Elliott joined the Reds for a £1.53m compensation fee. His age would not stop Jurgen Klopp from including him in his first-team squad, making 9 appearances in his first season with the Reds.

Elliott spent last season on loan at Blackburn Rovers as he slotted seamlessly into the right-side of an attacking three and chalked up 7 goals and 11 assists over 41 Championship appearances. After his spell at Blackburn, Jurgen Klopp made Elliot a first-team midfielder as he made 4 Premier League appearances before getting sidelined for an unfortunate ankle injury on 12 September. He is expected to make his return in January as Jurgen Klopp heavily relies on the youngster amid the absence of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

6. Mason Greenwood

  • Club: Manchester United

  • Age: 20

  • Nationality: England

  • Position: Winger/Forward

A graduate of Manchester United famous academy,

Greenwood

made a name for himself after his impressive performances for United's B team. Greenwood's biggest breakthrough came in the summer of 2019 as he was promoted to Manchester's senior team.  The versatile youngster wasted no time to prove his quality among some of the world's best players. Greenwood scored 10 goals in his first Premier League debut season and his performance was praised by fans and critics.

At 20 years of age, Mason Greenwood is considered among the most wanted youngsters in the football world. In 31 Premier League appearances he made for the Red Devils last season, Greenwood scored 7 goals and provided 2 assists. Continuing his great form to the new season by scoring 4 goals in 15 league appearances so far this season.

He is a versatile player. Although his main position is the center forward, the youngster can also perform in any of the three forward positions. During his career, Greenwood has played 124 games as a left-winger. He has also played 47 games as a second striker And 43 games as a center forwards.

Greenwood is calm with the ball at his feet, has great dribbling skills, and can drive with the ball forward from deep positions. He is also among those rare footballers who are equally brilliant with both feet. Mason Greenwood’s pace, technical prowess, great hold-up play, as well as his incredible finishing skills, makes him an ideal right-winger and a backup striker, both positions that he excels at. The pace he brings to the striker role is just something that was missing at United and his direct style of playing as a winger is breath of fresh air for Manchester United. With the levels that he’s performed at, it is obvious that Greenwood’s ceiling is even higher as he’ll continue his development in the coming seasons.

5. Conor Gallagher

  • Club: Crystal Palace (on loan from Chelsea)

  • Age: 21

  • Nationality: England

  • Position: Midfielder

Being part of Chelsea’s loaning pool, Conor Gallagher spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Charlton, and in 26 Championship appearances he made he contributed 6 goals and 2 assists. He continued his development at West Brom in the following season and although the club was relegated, he was one of the young players that showed a lot of promises. He contributed 2 goals and 2 assists in a total of 30 Premier League appearances for the Magpies.

Currently again on loan at Crystal Palace, Gallagher had a splendid season by scoring 6 goals and providing 3 assists in 17 league appearances so far this season. It’s not only Gallagher’s passing abilities that have propelled Palace to good form, the player’s dribbling skills have won them several free-kicks, and two very important penalties that kept them in games.

An all-around midfielder who thrives on playing a box-to-box role, Connor Gallagher is tireless both in attack and defense and can join the attack when he wants to. His ability to carry the ball as well as his considerable passing ability make him the perfect midfielder for Vieira’s Palace side who seems rejuvenated this season with Gallagher at the heart of their midfield.

4. Emile Smith Rowe

  • Club: Arsenal

  • Age: 21

  • Nationality: England

  • Position: Attacking Midfielder/Winger

After two loan spells at RB Leipzig and Huddersfield Town, 2020-21 season was the breakthrough season for the young Gunner. The club's multi-million-pound stars were flopping at the time as Mikel Arteta was looking for anything that could give him hope.

Emile Rowe-Smith

was an obscure name that popped up when he dug deep into his reserves. The 6ft-tall attacking midfielder became one of the standout stars who helped his club have a positive end to 2020 and a bright start to 2021.

With his blistering pace and undeniable technique, Smith Rowe brought that much-needed creativity to Arsenal, helping them string together several good results at the end of the season. He even managed to score twice against Chelsea in 2021, helping the Gunners get a double over their London rivals. A dynamic playmaker who likes to make space with his dribbles rather than inch-perfect passes, Arsenal’s new number 10 is frighteningly fast at moving with the ball at his feet, something which makes him unique amongst the players on our list.

Making 20 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, the youngster scored 4 goals and provided 2 assists as he was named Arsenal Fans' Footballer of the Year. The youngster was rewarded with a contract extension and the number 10 shirt in the summer that raised questions over his ability. However, has answered the critics emphatically scoring eight goals and assisting two more in 18 appearances so far this season.

3. Jude Bellingham

  • Club: Dortmund

  • Age: 18

  • Nationality: England

  • Position: Centre-Midfielder

After a splendid Championship season at Birmingham which earned the 18-year-old a £20.7m move to Dortmund on Jul 23, 2020, Bellingham had an outrageous debut season at Westfalen as he soon became a regular starter for Die Schwarzengelben. Bellingham has already broken the record for being Dortmund’s youngest ever goalscorer as well as being the youngest ever Englishman to start a Champions League match. Having won the Bundesliga Rookie of the Month award in September as well as VDV’s Newcomer of the Season, his 7 goals and almost as many assists in the 60+ matches for Dortmund shows why he is considered to be one of the best young Bundesliga players of 2021.

Last season, he was able to win the German Cup as well as be included and make his debut for England in Euro 2020 in the year that passed, all of which showcase Bellingham’s incredible talent and the maturity with which he plays at the highest level. He’s continuing his development this season by providing 2 goals and 5 assists in 15 Bundesliga appearances this season.

Although currently he is utilized as a midfielder, he was initially a winger. His dribbling skills along with his incredible stamina and defensive prowess are the ingredients of a really good central midfielder that can act as either a box-to-box midfielder or maybe even a deep-lying playmaker. He is also good at joining the attack and scoring an odd goal here or there making him a potent threat, especially on the second balls.

2. Bukayo Saka

  • Club: Arsenal

  • Age: 20

  • Nationality: England

  • Position: Winger

Another product of Arsenal's Hale End academy that became one of the best young players in the past year or two was the incredibly talented

Bukayo Saka

. One of the most fruitful

young English football players 2021

 who despite his very young age has extensive experience playing in several roles ranging from a left-back to a right-winger. His versatility, as well as his attitude, has resulted in him playing a big role at Arsenal as well as being included in England’s squad for the Euro 2020, where he massively helped England reach the final.

Having been part of Arsenal’s academy since before the age of 10, Bukayo Saka joined the first team at the young age of 17 and became the first player born in the 21st century to make his Premier League debut when he did so against Fulham on 1 January of 2019. He has since made 108 senior appearances for Arsenal, scoring 14 goals and providing 20 assists. While Unai Emery utilized Saka in more of a defensive role as a wing-back, Arteta has moved him to more attacking roles where the 19-year-old is more comfortable

Quick and unrelenting in both attack and defense, Saka’s work rate and attitude have made him a favorite of many managers, allowing him to climb to quickly become one of the best players in his position. And even though he was set back by England’s nightmarish Euro 2020 final in which he missed the last penalty, his incredible performances this season has shown what a strong character he has and that he has learned to move on and learn from adversity which definitely puts him amongst the best young Premier League players of 2021.

1. Phil Foden

  • Club: Manchester City

  • Age: 20

  • Nationality: England

  • Position: Attacking Midfielder/Winger

We will end our list of the

best young British players in 2021

with Manchester City and England hero, Phil Foden, who fought his way to become one of the Premier League’s best players.

In the 2020-21 season, after a striker shortage at Manchester City last season forced Guardiola’s to look for new ways to bolster their attack, the Spanish tactician started utilizing players like Foden and Sterling in more advanced roles as False-9s. This resulted in Man City having a great start in 2021 in which Foden played a big part in.

Phil Foden

ended up getting over 1500 minutes of playing time in a star-studded Manchester City squad, despite him being only 21.

Following their streak of 19 wins in the league which was in great parts due to players like Phil Foden and Ilkay Gundogan, Manchester City was all but confirmed as champions and they decided to follow that with a League Cup trophy as well as a Champions League final, which they lost to their rivals, Chelsea. Foden contributed by scoring 16 and assisting 8 in all competitions which a lot is coming from a midfielder.

Foden’s performances from last season earned him a Premier League Player of the Year in 2021 and a Young Player of the Year nomination. He won the latter and was included in the Champions League Team of the Season for 2020-21. He then took part in England’s Euro 2020 in which they reached the final but lost to Italy. Since the start of this season, he has picked up from where he left off last season as he has already scored 6 and assisted 6 in 13 appearances.

Now that you read the best Young British Players in 2021, you might also like these articles that were previously written in Sportmob.

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