Europes top youngsters XI

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Adam Smith

Data and Analysis @AdamDatasmith

Which players have excelled in the Premier League, Eredivisie, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1?

Last Updated: 22/10/19 3:42pm


Some of Europe’s best young players will be on show when Ajax host Chelsea on Wednesday, but which have made the best start to this season across Europe’s major leagues?

We have used the Sky Sports Power Rankings, which ranks players based on 34 league matchday stats, to build a team of players under the age of 23 from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Eredivisie.

Goalkeeper

Reims goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic is a seasoned regular at international level with 13 senior caps for Serbia and claims the No 1 jersey after keeping seven clean sheets from 10 league starts in Ligue 1 this season.

Nantes stopper Alban Lafont, on loan from Fiorentina, narrowly slots in as backup, while Chelsea must find a way past Ajax and Cameroon international Andre Onana on Wednesday, who ranks third in our list.

Just missed out: Alban Lafont (Nantes), Andre Onana (Ajax), Gautier Larsonneur (Brest), Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), Joel Drommel (FC Twente) and Aaron Ramsdale (Bournemouth)

Centre-backs

Heerenveen defender Ibrahim Dresevic has powered his way into the starting XI with two goals from range – including a goal-of-the-season contender against Feyenoord – and helping his side keep four clean sheets in the Eredivisie.

Manchester United coveted Harry Maguire for some time before prising him from Leicester, but replacement Caglar Soyuncu has filled those boots and steps straight into our XI alongside Dresevic.

Just missed out: Sven Botman (Heerenveen), Axel Disasi (Reims), Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea), Nikola Milenkovic (Fiorentina), Rodrigo Becau (Udinese) and Armando Obispo (Vitesse)

Full-backs

The top-ranked young full-back in Europe is Liverpool and England right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who has produced 20 accurate crosses in the league and pips PSV Eindhoven’s Denzel Dumfries to a starting berth.

An interesting case emerges down the left flank in Vitesse’s Max Clark, who has notched three assists in the Eredivisie, having left Hull City to play in the Netherlands back in 2018 and represented England at youth levels.

Just missed out: Denzel Dumfries (PSV), Sergio Reguilon (Sevilla), Achraf Hakimi (Borussia Dortmund), Lennart Czyborra (Heracles), Deyovalsio Zeefuik (FC Groningen) and Owen Wijndal (AZ Alkmaar)

Midfielders

Two of the three players to represent Chelsea or Ajax feature in the midfield of our XI, with Lisandro Martinez topping the bill after numerous stellar defensive performances for the Dutch champions, grabbing a goal and assist to boot.

Meanwhile, Blues maestro Mason Mount edges into the side after his explosive start to the campaign under Frank Lampard, netting four goals from just 10 shots on target and capping his streak of form with an England debut.

Finally, Schalke midfielder Amine Harit completes our three-man midfield, having also found the back of the net on four occasions and assisting two more, earning a recall into the Morocco squad.

Just missed out: Rodri (Man City), Pablo Rosario (PSV), Abdou Harroui (Sparta Rotterdam), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad) and Martin Odegaard (Real Sociedad)

Forwards

There is a more familiar look to the frontline, with Chelsea being the only team to have more than one representative in the XI, with Tammy Abraham spearheading the team.

The 22-year-old has scored eight goals from just 666 minutes in the Premier League this season, joining the England squad for the first time in two years and make his first appearance in a competitive game for the Three Lions.

However, PSV forward and former Arsenal trainee Donyell Malen is the first name on the team sheet with a scoring ratio of one per game – boosted by a five-goal haul against Clark’s Vitesse in September.

Finally, Timo Werner has been linked with powerhouse Premier League clubs and completes the line-up, starting this season in scintillating form for RB Leipzig but hitting a four-game barren run before scoring against Wolfsburg last week.

Just missed out: Oussama Idrissi (AZ Alkmaar), Steven Bergwijn (PSV), Evangelos Pavlidis (Willem II), Halil Dervisoglu (Sparta Rotterdam), Gyrano Kerk (FC Utrecht) and Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad)

Starting XI

The starlets at Chelsea and Ajax

Chelsea and Ajax players aged 23 and under

Name Club Age Position League mins Power Ranking pts (adjusted)
Tammy Abraham Chelsea 22 FW 666 16,642
Lisandro Martinez Ajax 21 MF 793 14,912
Mason Mount Chelsea 20 MF 773 14,239
Donny van de Beek Ajax 22 MF 610 10,849
Fikayo Tomori Chelsea 21 DF 540 10,387
Andre Onana Ajax 23 GK 900 9,492
Sergino Dest Ajax 18 DF 503 6,510
David Neres Ajax 22 FW 330 4,887
Edson Alvarez Ajax 21 DF 305 4,345
Perr Schuurs Ajax 19 DF 270 4,184
Callum Hudson-Odoi Chelsea 18 FW 196 4,137
Andreas Christensen Chelsea 23 DF 492 4,019
Christian Pulisic Chelsea 21 MF 287 3,831
Razvan Marin Ajax 23 MF 339 3,245
Noussair Mazraoui Ajax 21 DF 180 2,797
Billy Gilmour Chelsea 18 MF 6 148

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