The childhood dream of most schoolboys is to become a professional footballer, it’s jumpers for goalposts and Sunday league football for most, with only a small percentage of players ever making a career out of football. However, English football clubs are investing more and more money into the local communities and youth/academy teams, to help bring in youngsters and mould them into strong and skillful players through training and experience.
Here is our list (in no particular order) of who we think are currently the top ten under 21’s in the Premier League:
10) Luke Shaw – Southampton
Luke Shaw is a 21 year old defender currently playing for Southampton, where he has been since 2003. Shaw has played for the England under 16’s side and currently has a place in the England under 21’s team. With Shaw making an impact in Southampton’s defence this season he is sure to be on Hodgson’s radar ahead of the World Cup.
9) Ben Davies – Swansea
Twenty one year old defender Ben Davies made a big impact in Swansea’s 2012/2013 season, making 45 appearances and scoring three goals, which isn’t too bad for a left back! Davies also plays for the Welsh National side.
8) Romelu Lukaku – Everton
Romelu Lukaku is undeniably one of the best young strikers in the Premier league (and if this list was in order he would no doubt be number one), at 20 years old he has already been labelled ‘the new Didier Drogba’. Making a huge impact over in his birthplace Belgium as a youth player he was then scooped up by Chelsea in 2011. Lukaku has since been on loan to West Brom where he scored 17 goals in 33 appearances & then to Everton where he has so far scored 4 goals in 4 apps.
7) Jack Wilshere – Arsenal
Jack Wilshere is a 21 year old Midfielder currently playing in both Arsenal’s first team and the England national side. I’m sure everyone has seen Wilshere play, even if you only took a shine to him after that goal, he is a brilliant midfielder with a very creative midfield style.
6) Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool
Coutinho is a 21 year old Brazilian born attacking midfielder/winger who currently plays for Premiership side Liverpool since joining in January 2013 Coutinho has made 17 appearances and scored 3 goals, he has also made his way into the Brazil first team.
5) Ross Barkley – Everton
Ross Barkley is a 19 year old attacking Midfielder playing for Everton, he has been at Goodison park since joining in 2005 aged only 11 years old. Barkley has made his way through the youth teams at Everton and earned himself a place in the England under 16, 17, 19, 20, 21’s and the first team.
4) Ravel Morrison – West Ham
Ravel Morrison is a 21 year old Midfielder who started out as a youth player for Manchester United back in 2009, signing a professional contract with the side in 2010. Morrison has since joined West Ham united in 2012 following some issues with his behaviour off the pitch helping to sway him on a move to London, former Manchester United Manager said this at the time of Ravel’s move [he is] ‘A brilliant footballer, Brilliant ability, Top class ability, Needs to get away from Manchester and start a new life’. Morrison has made quite an impact at West Ham scoring 4 goals in 9 appearances for the London side. He also plays for the England Under 21’s side, with Roy Hodgson said to be keeping an eye on the youngster ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
3) Wilfried Zaha – Manchester United
Wilfried Zaha is a 20 year old forward who currently plays for Manchester United. Zaha has spent most of his career playing for London side Crystal Palace, winning promotion with them to the Premier League back in 2012. Zaha has been out of favour at Manchester United and has failed to make his presence felt in the squad. Zaha made his debut for the England first team in 2012.
2) James Ward Prowse – Southampton
James Ward Prowse is an 18 year old Midfielder who plays for Southampton, Prowse has spent the last ten years with Southampton since joining in 2003 and working his way up through the ranks. He is making a very positive impact in the side this season, following his debut on the opening day of the 2012/13 season. Prowse has also made his way into the England under 21’s side, making 4 appearances and finding the back of the net once.
1) Saido Berahino – West Brom
Saido Berahino is a 20 year old striker playing for West Brom, where he has been on the books since joining the youth team back in 2004. Berahino is known for his goal-scoring ability, scoring a hat-trick on his first start for West Brom in a League cup tie against Newport County. Berahino plays for England under 21’s after making his way through the England youth teams. He has currently scored 4 goals in 3 games for the under 21’s.
Written by Kerry Raymond of ThinkingSportsBlog.