With the 2021-22 season slowly approaching, it’s time to look back at last season to find out who are the best Premier League young players of 2020-2021 season:
In the past decade, there has been this rapid growth in the young players’ involvement at the top levels of Premier League which has led to the league having some seriously unbelievable young English talents as well as young players who come from abroad. The situation has led to England having one of their best generation of players who have reached a World Cup semi-final and a Euros final and are currently one of the best teams in the world.
But which of those players stood out in last season’s Premier League now that the league is done and dusted with and we slowly move to the next season?! join us as we try to find out who are the
best Premier League young players of 2020-2021 season
, from goalkeepers all the way to forwards and from teams such as Leeds United to Premier League champions, Manchester City, and European champions, Chelsea. So let’s see who made it into the list:
Before we start our list of best young players in Premier League 2021, we have to note that the players chosen by us had to be 23 years old or younger at the end of the season, so the likes of Ruben Dias and Wilfried Ndidi who turned 24 during the season unfortunately aren’t on the list. Now without further ado, let’s find out who are these players:
We start our list of the
10 best young Premier League players of last season
with Leeds’ Illan Meslier who we had also previously hailed as one of thebest young goalkeepers in Europe
. The Frenchman may not be among the best of the best in the Premier League and is error prone but with a few years more experience, he’d be amongst the best goalkeepers that the Premier League could offer. As it is, he isn’t far from the best either.
Meslier who joined Leeds United on loan in the 2019-20 season from the French club Lorient and was at first the second choice goalkeeper behind former Real Madrid keeper, Kiko Casilla. However, his impressive displays with Leeds’ U23 side alongside Kiko Casilla’s 8-match ban slowly made Meslier Leeds’ first choice goalkeeper. A position he hasn’t lost to this day despite being only 21 years old and quite inexperienced in terms of being a goalkeeper.
A keeper akin to former Chelsea man, Thibaut Courtois, Meslier is known for his shot-stopping prowess and ball distribution, which suits Leed’s style perfectly as they like to play fluid attacking football and will face many shots from counter attacks. Meslier also helped the Whites keep 11 clean sheets, becoming the only goalkeeper under 21 years of age to surpass the 7 clean sheets in the Premier League record. By the end of season, Meslier was standing above the likes of Kasper Schmeichel and Alisson in terms of clean sheets so choosing him as one of the best Premier League young players of 2020-2021 season is a no-brainer for us.
Leicester City had many stand-out players in a season that saw them lift yet another trophy but for the Leicester faithful, perhaps the emergence of Wesley Fofana, whom Leicester signed at the start of the season from Saint-Etienne for £36.5 million, as one of the best Premier League young talents in 2021 was most rewarding. The 20-year-old may not be at the top of the league when it comes to stats but there is no doubt of his potential when one sees him in action. In a sense he is much like a young Virgil van Dijk, capable of carrying the ball deep into opposition’s half as well as delivering well-hit passes.
Despite coming into a team with an established center back pairing of Soyuncu and Evans, Fofana was able to make his way to the first team and become a regular in his first season. Evans’ experience and Fofana’s energy as well as ball-playing capabilities gave Leicester a lot going forward which suited Rogers’ attacking style of football perfectly. Granted, they didn’t have a great defensive record but there will no doubt be improvements going forward.
Wesley Fofana was able to make 38 appearances for Leicester City after joining them at the tail-end of the 2020 summer transfer window. He was a key figure in Leicester City’s FA Cup campaign that saw the club lift the trophy for the first time ever in their history just five years after they had won their first ever league trophy. At 20, Fofana is already a history maker and the Frenchman will have a lot more to say going forward as one of the best Premier League young players of 2020-2021 season.
There is no doubt that Chelsea has one of the most promising youth academies around Europe. The club’s strategy to sell their youth academy products in order to fund their high profile transfer have worked wonders for the Blues but the transfer ban that was imposed upon them in the 2019-20 season forced Lampard’s hand to rely on Chelsea’s young talents such as Reece James and Mason Mount quite heavily which turned out perfectly since both players are among the
best Premier League young talents in 2021
As a right back, Reece James is quite a well-balanced player, having both defensive and attacking capabilities. Earlier in the season, Frank Lampard deployed James as more of an attacking right back which led to him scoring a couple of goals and assists. As Tuchel took over as the manager of Chelsea in the second part of the season, Reece James took on more defensive duties which he once again excelled at. His performance against Manchester City in the Champions League final was perhaps his best in a Chelsea shirt as he completely neutralized City’s left wing and help Chelsea win its 2nd Champions League title.
Reece’ James performances as one of the best Premier League young players of 2020-2021 season even led to him being called-up into England’s squad for Euro 2020 and he played the entire match against Scotland in the group stages of the tournament. James finished the season having made 47 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 1 goal and registering 3 assists in all competition.
With Reece at Chelsea, they’ve finally locked down the right back position and he has set a precedence as his involvement in the first team has also proven Chelsea’s leaderships errors of not trusting their young players in the past.
We move from Reece James to a left-footed young English winger/striker, Mason Greenwood. The 19-year-old had his breakout season last year when he scored an amazing tally of 17 goals and he has gone on to continue his development this season as well becoming one of the best young players in Premier League 2021. Unfortunately, despite being initially included in England’s Euro 2020 squad, Mason Greenwood missed out to take part in the tournament due to a last minute injury but that doesn’t take anything away from the excellent performances he’s had this season.
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 Edinson Cavani doesn’t have in his locker 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.
With 9 goals and 2 assists, 7 of which were in the Premier League, Greenwood was certainly one of Manchester United’s standout performers as well as one of the best Premier League young players of 2020-2021 season. if he gets the chances that a fellow academy graduate, Marcus Rashford, has since his debut there is no doubt that Greenwood will be one of England’s best players in the coming years. It will be curious though to see how Sancho’s involvement in the first team will affect Greenwood’s game time next season!
By now, Marcus Rashford is already a household name in English football. The Manchester United forward has even been awarded an MBE for his services in the game and his charitable deeds but we have to remember that he is only 23. Rashford was certainly among the
best young players in Premier League 2021
and like the season before it an important figure in Manchester United’s squad. he even took part in the Euros which ended in his tragic missed penalty and England’s eventual loss in the final.
In the 2019-20 season, Marcus Rashford and Martial both scored 17 goals and for a while it seemed that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had found his perfect forward line and could, with the addition of a world-class center forward, challenge Manchester City for the title. while they ended up somewhat challenging for the title and came 2nd in the league, United’s forward line didn’t exactly light up the league with the only exception being Marcus Rashford.
While being taken off penalty duty affected Rashford’s goal tally immensely, he still managed to score 11 goals and provide 9 assists becoming one of the best Premier League young players of 2020-2021 season and Manchester United’s best forward. Granted, United’s forwards didn’t do much last season and their top goal scorer, top assister and best player ended up being their midfielder and playmaker, Bruno Fernandes but Marcus Rashford did well enough to give United fans hope for the upcoming season and Sancho-Rashford partnership.
When the 2020-21 season started, perhaps not even Dominic Calvert-Lewin himself, expected him to be one of the 10 best young Premier League players of last season but the young England international was a welcome surprise to both Everton and England fans. However, Calvert-Lewin’s goalscoring record was significantly better in the first half of the season and his form, as of his team’s dropped severely in the second half of the season.
With 13 goals in the 2019-20 season, which was Ancelotti’s first 6 months as Everton’s manager, Calvert-Lewin convinced the Italian manager to put his trust in him rather than bringing in big-name strikers. Calvert-Lewin then paid Ancelotti’s trust in kind by taking the league by storm from week 1. Calvert-Lewin managed to score 8 goals in the first 5 weeks of the Premier League, which included two hat-tricks. His great form resulted in a call-up to England, where he managed to score on his debut against Wales. He then went on to feature for England in the Euro 2020 as well.
But with Everton dealing with a lot of injuries to their creative players like James Rodriguez and with Calvert-Lewin himself losing out 5 matches due to his injuries, his form was not consistent enough, therefor he ended up scoring 16 goals as Everton secured the 10th position in the league which is not bad at all. while it was a disappointing season for Everton fans, especially considering their great form at the start of the season, Dominic Calvert-Lewin himself had a great season and was certainly amongst the
best Premier League young players of 2020-2021 season
At 22, Declan Rice is already a leader for West Ham United and it has been that way for a couple of years which is a testament to his maturity as a player. Rice even played a pivotal role for England in theEuro 2020
on their way to the final and played at the base of midfield. A classic number 6 and somewhat of a sweeper, Declan Rice’s performances last season helped West Ham United have one of their all-time best finishes in the league by being 6th and because of that he is one of the 10 best young Premier League players of last season.
A product of Chelsea’s youth academy, Rice departed from the Blues in 2014 to join West Ham United. He was given his debut at the age of 17 and since his debut he has become a regular at West Ham, with his club Chelsea being desperate to sign him back season after season. Rice could play as a central midfielder or even a defender but he is most comfortable when he is deployed as a defensive midfielder. As a DM he can sweep up the in front of defense as well as carry the ball forward, which he displayed perfectly both las season and in his performances in the Euro.
Perhaps the most reliable player among the best Premier League young players of 2020-2021 season who is guaranteed to perform consistently, Declan Rice is the perfect embodiment of an English midfielder, someone who has quality with the ball at his feet but is also extremely physical and reliable. There will undoubtedly be a move to a bigger club in Rice’s future but for now his destinations seems unclear.
Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka have had quite a few months after becoming one of the 10 best young Premier League players of last season and finding his way to the England’s Euro squad despite many doubting him. He then went on to play a big role in England’s campaign all the way to the final and then took England’s fifth and last penalty in the penalty shoot outs but unfortunately missed which led to him receiving racial abuse from supposed “fans”.
Apart from condemning actions of those ignorant individuals, we’re here to discuss football. So let’s get to the part that we call Bukayo Saka a generational talent because the youngster has done an exceptional job of getting into an already talented England squad as well as helping Arsenal in perhaps their worst Premier League campaign since the start of the competition.
Capable of playing at left back, left wing-back, right and left wing and attacking midfielder, Arteta has usedSaka
in virtually every position and instead of complaining the youngster has excelled at all of them, making him a dream player for any manager. While his decision making and finishing could be improved even further, Saka’s pace, dribbling and excellent movement makes him a dangerous winger for any defender in the league or Europe for that matter.
With 7 goals and 6 assists for Arsenal, Bukayo Saka was one of their standout performers in what was a forgettable season for Arsenal. He even made 3 starts for England in Euro 2020 and was instrumental in two of their wins against Scotland and Denmark, ending up assisting one of the goals in the Denmark game although it was an own goal. Bukayo Saka was simply one of the best Premier League young players of 2020-2021 season and it seems like he is just starting.
Let’s move across London to Chelsea where another English youngster by the name of Mason Mount is on top of his game right now. Mount is the only one of the best young players in Premier League 2021 that has garnered a Player of the Season nomination. After having a breakout season last year, under the management of his childhood heroFrank Lampard
, Mount was once again one of Chelsea’s top performers this season and his great form, especially in the second half of the season, helped Chelsea get into the top 4 and win their 2nd Champions League title.
A complete midfielder, Mount could play any role in midfield or even as a winger. Although he favors the more attacking roles, Mount is capable of playing deeper as a box-to-box midfielder or even a defensive midfielder. The fact that Mount has always been a guaranteed starter for Frank Lampard, Gareth Southgate and now Thomas Tuchel, shows how talented a player he is and the integral role he plays at Chelsea or England’s national team, because of his versatility.
With 6 goals and 5 assists, Mason Mount’s numbers may be lower than some of the
best Premier League young players of 2020-2021 season
but without the quality that he adds to Chelsea’s attack, Chelsea would’ve certainly not been competing for a top 4 spot in the league and won their 2nd Champions League title. with 87 chances created, Mount stands a cut above all the rest of Chelsea’s creative players.
Mason Mount earned a double nomination of a Player of the Season and a Young Player of the season and then went on to feature heavily in England’s Euro 2020 campaign. At 22, he has what it takes to be the future captain of Chelsea and he is the proof why Chelsea need to look at their academy players more often.
Ever since his debut for Cityzens back in 2017.Phil Foden was always headed for big things. Foden was part of a great generation of Manchester City’s academy players like Jadon Sancho, Kelechi Iheanacho and Brahim Diaz who unlike his former teammates he decided to stay and try his luck at playing for Manchester City instead of moving to another team to get game time. Since Foden is exactly the type of player that Guardiola favors, he has gotten his chance to play at his boyhood club and last season he became one of the best Premier League young talents in 2021.
Because of Sergio Aguero’s injury at the strt of the season, City did not start the 2020-21 Premier League season strong at all. Aguero’s replacement, Jesus, was also underperforming as a striker which resulted in Man City not hitting their best until the start of the new year when Guardiola solved City’s problem of not having a decent striker by relying on midfielders like Foden and Gundogan to score the goals that were needed. Foden in particular became integral to City’s great form as the 21-year old could play almost any position in midfield or attack with ease.
then went on a streak of 19 wins in the league which all but confirmed their league title. they also managed to reach the final of League Cup and Champions League, winning the former against Tottenham and losing the latter against Chelsea.
Nonetheless Foden’s incredible performances, which saw him score 9 goals and assist 5 times in the league, announced the arrival of a genuine talent who is on his way to be one of the world’s best players. At 21, Foden is already one of the best Premier League young players of 2020-2021 season.
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