Ranking the Best Young Players in the English Premier League Ahead of the 2021/22 Season

| August 3, 2021 11:25 am PDT

With the new English Premier League season set to kick off on Friday, August 13, it’s time to take a look at the best young EPL players to watch during the 2021/22 campaign.

Considering there are tons of top young players in the Premier League, ranking the top ten isn’t easy. For that reason, I have chosen to feature players aged 21 or under in this post.

Although that means guys like Trent Alexander Arnold and Mason Mount miss out, there are still plenty of high-profile names on my list.

Without further ado, here are the best young players to watch in the 2021/22 Premier League season.

10. Bryan Gil

  • Age: 20
  • Club: Tottenham Hotspur

My take on the best young Premier League players in 2021/22 begins with a player who has yet clock up a single second of action in England’s top division.

But with over 50 La Liga appearances and three senior international caps under his belt, there is absolutely no denying that Bryan Gil is a special talent.

Tottenham paid Spanish side Sevilla £21.6m for Gil in a swap-plus-cash deal, with Erik Lamela moving in the opposite direction. If the early stages of his career are anything to go by, I don’t think it will take him long to surpass Lamela’s achievements at Spurs.

Alongside Barcelona duo Pedri and Ansu Fati, Gil is considered one of Spain’s most exciting prospects. Let’s see what he can do this year!

9. Pedro Neto

  • Age: 21
  • Club: Wolverhampton Wanderers
Pedro Neto

It is easy to forget that Pedro Neto is still just 21. I mean, it feels like the Portuguese winger has been around for ages, doesn’t it?

Since swapping Braga for Wolves in 2019, Neto has continued to enhance his reputation as one of the top young players in the EPL. When you consider what he achieved last season, he is only going to get better in 2021/22.

Despite missing the final seven games through injury last term, Neto still managed to rack up five goals and six assists across the campaign. He now has ten goals and 11 assists in 79 appearances for the Wanderers.

Boasting electric pace and clever movement, Neto is undoubtedly one of the best young players in the Premier League.

8. Moise Kean

  • Age: 21
  • Club: Everton

It’s fair to say that things didn’t quite work out for Moise Kean at Everton the first time around. The former Juventus striker scored just four goals in 37 outings during his first stint at Goodison Park, prompting a loan move to PSG.

The 21-year-old showed his true colors in the French capital, though, netting 19 goals in 45 appearances last season.

Kean returned to Merseyside this summer and will surely be eager to show new Everton boss Rafa Benitez what he is capable of – even if he must bide his time for a spot in the starting XI.

MOISE KEAN FOR PSG
Competition Games Goals Assists
Ligue 1 26 13
Champions League 9 3 1
Coupe de France 5 1
Tophee des Champs 1
Total 41 17 1

7. Wesley Fofana

  • Age: 20
  • Club: Leicester City

Injuries to senior center-backs meant that Wesley Fofana was thrown in at the deep end last term. The France U21 international joined Leicester as “one for the future,” but he ended up making 38 appearances for the Foxes during his debut campaign in England.

However, the young defender doesn’t look out of place at the highest level. He plays with a maturity far beyond his years, showing excellent confidence on the ball. He’s a menace in the air, too!

Fofana will have learned a lot from experienced CB Jonny Evans since arriving at the club. In fact, he could easily surpass Evans if he continues to develop at his current rate.

Having been handed the #3 jersey ahead of the new campaign, Fofana looks set to play a key role for Leicester for years to come.

Wesley Fofana

6. Reece James

  • Age: 21
  • Club: Chelsea

Only a handful of 21-year-olds can say they have won the Champions League – and Reece James is one of them.

Following his heroics last season, James is already closing in on a century of appearances for Chelsea. The gifted right-back only made his debut for the Blues in September 2019, but he has firmly cemented his place in the team.

Ultimately, James is the perfect modern-day full-back. His pace enables him to get up and down the wing with ease, while his delivery is invariably on point. Oh, and he can defend, too!

When it comes to discussing the top young EPL players in 2021/22, you cannot leave James out of the conversation.

REECE JAMES’ CHELSEA CAREER BY THE NUMBERS
Appearances Goals Assists Minutes
84 3 8 5,658

5. Mason Greenwood

  • Age: 19
  • Club: Manchester United
Mason Greenwood

Believe it or not, Mason Greenwood is still a teenager. Although he doesn’t turn 20 until October, he has already played over 100 matches for Manchester United – chalking up 29 goals and ten assists along the way.

Viewed as Man Utd’s long-term first-choice striker, Greenwood’s ability to finish with either foot makes him one of the most feared forwards in the league. His intelligent movement also makes him a nightmare to mark, with defender often struggling to get near him.

With Edinson Cavani staying at Old Trafford for another season and Jadon Sancho (more on him later) joining the club, Greenwood’s numbers are only going to improve.

4. Ferran Torres

  • Age: 21
  • Club: Manchester City

It is always difficult for young players to nail down a spot in Pep Guardiola’s starting XI – just ask Phil Foden! So, the fact that Ferran Torres managed to score 13 goals in 36 appearances across his maiden season for Manchester City is hugely impressive.

Despite only making 15 league starts last term, Torres starred as a substitute on numerous occasions. He also netted four goals in six UCL appearances as Man City reached the final for the very first time.

The Spaniard featured in all but one of the Cityzens’ last ten league games in 2020/21, scoring a phenomenal hat-trick against Newcastle in the process.

If he picks up where he left off last season, he will continue to cement his status as one of the best young players in the English Premier League.

FERRAN TORRES IN HIS DEBUT MAN CITY SEASON
Competition Games Goals Assists
Premier League 24 7 2
Champions League 6 4
EFL Cup 3 1 1
FA Cup 3 1
Total 36 13 3

3. Bukayo Saka

  • Age: 19
  • Club: Arsenal

Anyone who followed England at Euro 2020 will know exactly what this guy can do. Yes, he missed a penalty against Italy in the final. But he has a seriously bright future ahead of him.

Arsenal endured a campaign to forget last season, finishing eighth in the table. However, Saka consistently gave his all for the team and ended up clinching the Gunners’ Player of the Season award – gaining a whopping 51% of the votes.

The versatile teenager can play in just about any position on the pitch. From left-back to left wing, and from defense to attack, Saka is a manager’s dream.

The 19-year-old racked up a mammoth 46 appearances in all competitions last term, chipping in with seven goals and ten assists for good measure. The frightening thing is, he is set to do even better in 2021/22.

Bukayo Saka

2. Jadon Sancho

  • Age: 21
  • Club: Manchester United

Following his £73m switch from Borussia Dortmund to Man Utd, Jadon Sancho is back on home soil.

The outrageously talented winger left Man City for Germany in 2017, searching for first-team action. 50 goals and 64 assists later, he returns the red side of Manchester as one of the most complete wingers in the world.

During his time at Dortmund, Sancho gained a reputation for his ability to both score and create goals at a frightening rate. If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can get the best out of him at Old Trafford, his stock will continue to rise.

At just 21, Sancho is already among the most valuable soccer players on the planet.

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1. Phil Foden

  • Age: 21
  • Club: Manchester City

In my eyes, Foden must be viewed as the best young player in the English Premier League.

Guardiola has nurtured the prodigy over the past few years, gradually integrating him into the Man City first team. But last season, he let Foden loose – and Foden grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

Although the 21-year-old bagged 16 goals and ten assists in all competitions last term, his numbers only tell half the story. Indeed, Foden’s ball-carrying skills are unrivalled in the EPL, and his impact on the team is immeasurable.

Having been named the 2020/21 Premier League Young Player of the Season, Foden is set for another standout year.

More Top Young Premier League Players

That concludes my take on the best young EPL players in 2021/22, but I’m not finished just yet. Before you go, I want to share a few more rising stars that are set to enjoy breakout seasons.

Alongside Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli are ready to shine for Arsenal this year. On the other side of London, Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi is destined for another excellent campaign.

I’m also excited to see what Billy Gilmour can achieve at Norwich in the coming season. The Chelsea loanee has teamed up with another hot prospect, Max Aarons.

Liverpool pair Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliot look set to play important roles for Jurgen Klopp’s side, while Fabio Silva (Wolves) and Dwight McNeil (Burnley) are worth keeping an eye on, too.

Although there aren’t many top young goalkeepers coming through at the moment, Leeds United’s Illan Meslier is definitely one to watch.

If you’re excited about a young Premier League player, feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section below.

Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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