The much-heralded Alex Iwobi and Raheem Sterling make the list, but who are the top 10 rated players aged 21 or under in the Premier League this season?
Here, WhoScored.com have compiled their top 10 youngsters in the Premier League this season of those to make five or more appearances…
10. Isaac Success – Watford (WhoScored.com Rating 6.66)
Isaac Success was Watford’s club-record signing in the summer, yet a host of injuries have limited the Nigerian to just 188 minutes of top-flight action following his arrival. The 20-year-old has made just one league start for the Hornets, that coming in a 1-0 win at Middlesbrough, but netted a crucial equaliser from the bench in the 2-2 draw with Bournemouth last month.
Time is still on his side, but with injuries hindering his impact for Watford, Success will hope that he can start the New Year on a high.
9. Alex Iwobi – Arsenal (6.74)
The second of three Nigeria internationals in this list, Alex Iwobi began the campaign strongly for Arsenal, but hasn’t started each of the Gunners’ last two league games and was an unused sub in recent meetings with Manchester United and Bournemouth.
Nevertheless, no Arsenal player has registered more league assists than Iwobi (3) this season and he certainly has what it takes to realise his potential, provided he can improve upon his consistency when given the chance to nail down a first team spot once more.
8. Kelechi Iheanacho – Manchester City (6.84)
With a raft of attacking talent, the future is certainly bright for the Nigeria national team. Kelechi Iheanacho unsurprisingly features in this list with his goalscoring record speaking for itself.
The young striker has scored 11 league goals from just 17 shots on target since making his debut last season, to return a stunning on-target conversion rate of 64.7% in England’s top tier.
Three goals and three assists this season means Iheanacho has been directly involved in a league goal every 47.8 minutes in the Premier League this term to help return a WhoScored.com rating of 6.84.
7. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – Southampton (6.84)
Southampton’s signing of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from Bayern Munich was one of the more intriguing of the summer with the Dane showing plenty of potential during loan stints with Augsburg and Schalke.
While not a first-team regular under Claude Puel, the 20-year-old midfielder has performed admirably when called on with an average of 71.2 passes per 90 one of the better returns in the Premier League this season.
6. Luke Shaw – Manchester United (6.93)
After expecting to consolidate a regular starting spot for Manchester United, the England international’s career has stalled. While reaching optimum performance is easier said than done on the back of last year’s leg break, Shaw was solid when required, gaining a WhoScored.com rating of 6.93.
Manager Jose Mourinho, though, has preferred Daley Blind at left-back, and even Matteo Darmian in the league in recent weeks after criticising 21-year-old Shaw, though the defender has started each of United’s last three Europa League matches.
Which of these players is most likely to leave Man Utd in January?
5. Calum Chambers – Middlesbrough (6.97)
Calum Chambers started the season with Arsenal and played in the entertaining 4-3 home defeat to Liverpool on the opening weekend of the campaign.
He’s since become a key man for Middlesbrough at the heart of their defence, averaging a respectable two tackles and 2.3 interceptions per game in England’s top tier this term. 8.3 clearances per game – the most of all Boro players – notes the 21-year-old’s proactive approach to defending as he looks to establish himself as a Premier League regular.
4. Dele Alli – Tottenham (6.97)
Dele Alli was the breakthrough star in the Premier League last season as the 20-year-old scored 10 and assisted a further nine as Tottenham secured a return to the Champions League.
Alli, though, has struggled to match the heights in his second campaign, with his WhoScored.com rating dropping from 7.35 to 6.97. Nevertheless, three goals and one assist means the latter rating places him in the top five youngsters in the Premier League this term.
3. Hector Bellerin – Arsenal (7.07)
Crossing the north London divide, Hector Bellerin unsurprisingly features given his good form prior to injury for Arsenal. The young Spaniard, who recently penned a new deal at the Emirates, is widely considered one of the best right-backs in the Premier League and for good reason.
Only a handful of defenders have completed more dribbles than the 21-year-old (19) this term, while an average of 2.2 interceptions per game is one of the better returns for Bellerin, who has earned a WhoScored.com rating of 7.07 this season.
2. Adama Traore – Middlesbrough (7.20)
There is no denying that Adama Traore is one of the most exciting footballers with the ball at his feet.
The 20-year-old’s solitary WhoScored.com strength is ‘dribbling’ and for good reason, with the Middlesbrough winger averaging more dribbles per Premier League match (6) than any other player this season.
The obvious critique remains Traore’s final ball, but when it comes to stretching opposition defences, the youngster is one of the more effective in England’s top tier.
1. Raheem Sterling – Manchester City (7.31)
Raheem Sterling started the season strongly following a summer to forget and while his form has tailed off of late, the England international is still the highest rated player aged 21 and under in the Premier League this term, with a WhoScored.com rating of 7.31.
Three dribbles per game in both the league and Champions League puts him second and first, respectively, of all City players, with Sterling’s ability to run with the ball his strongest asset. Pep Guardiola’s side are among the favourites to secure the title and if Sterling can continue his good form, City have a stronger chance of landing domestic glory.
All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings. You can follow all the scores, statistics, live player and team ratings with the new free-to-download WhoScored iOS app.