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Best 'youngster' starting XI in the Premier League this season

Thursday 1st December 2016
We all have a soft spot for youngsters who can play the game, we criticise them less and cheer them the loudest when they perform well. Here are 11 of the best performing youngsters in the Premier League thus far.

Goalkeeper



Thibaut Courtois – At 24, Thibaut Courtois is by far the oldest 'youngster' on my list. He's here because I couldn't find any other goalkeeper under the age of 23 doing remarkably better than Courtois in the Premier League. The Chelsea man sits top of the table, and is Conte's go-to keeper.
Thibaut Courtois is one man whose achievements defies his age. He's already played in the Champions League final, won the La Liga in Spain, won the Premier League and also won the Zamora – an award given to the best goalkeeper in the La Liga.

In the Premier League this season, Courtois is flying high with Chelsea – he's made 17 saves and kept 7 clean sheets, the most by any GK in the top flight.

Defenders



Héctor Bellerin – Given their difficulty in replacing Dani Alves, Barcelona must be ruing letting this amazing footballer sign for Arsenal without putting a noose around his neck in the form of a buy-back contract.
Héctor Bellerin has really matured at Arsenal; aged just 21, the young Spaniard is regarded as one of the best right full-backs in England. This season, Bellerin has proved himself a worthy regular in Arsene Wenger's team; in the 11 appearances he's made in the Premier League, Bellerin has scarcely put a foot wrong.

Bellerin is ruled out due to injury till mid-December and Arsenal cannot wait to have him back.

John Stones – 22-year-old John Stones is England's second most expensive footballer; the price tag ‘hullabaloo' aside, John Stones is still an incredibly talented defender. He's made a few mistakes here and there this season but you can't take away the fact that the former Everton man is one player who does a clean job every other time – he's the sort of player who could easily walk into the Barcelona team and become a regular.
Stones has made 11 appearances in the Premier League this season for Manchester City.

Nathan Ake – Despite making just a few appearances for Bournemouth this term, the Chelsea loanee has proved himself to be one of the best young talents in the Premier League. This young lad should be getting more playing time already – He scored the winner in his first start for Eddie Howe's team and would do more if given the opportunity.

Aged 21, Ake's ball technique, doggedness, pace, a wide range of passing and an eye for goal, makes him a tantalising Premier League prospect – he's shown that already this season.

Midfielders



Eric Dier – I've read and written about this guy countless times this year alone; it's not because I'm too interested in the young Englishman, it's because he's been outstanding in the Premier League, and we all can't help but notice.

Dier has played 12 times for Spurs in the Premier League this season and is an integral member of Mauricio Pochettino's team.

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg – At just 21 years of age, Emile Højbjerg already has a football career laden with trophies – that can be attributed to the five years he spent at Bayern Munich.
Højbjerg transferred to the Premier League in the summer of 2016 to play for Southampton and has been remarkably impressive so far. Emile Højbjerg has played 11 games for the Saints already.

Although he's a regular feature in the Denmark senior team, a lot is still expected from the youngster, Højbjerg's talent is unquestionable, though.

Dele Alli – The name rings a deafening bell all over England. 20-year-old Dele Alli will make my team any day – the kid is fast, technically gifted, has an eye for goal and is overly creative. There is so much to write about Alli's achievement this past year but I'll skip.
This season, Alli has been an integral member of the Spurs team that went 12 Premier League games unbeaten. He's played 12 times in the league for Spurs and scored thrice.

Alex Iwobi – This young lad managed to force his way into first-team reckoning at Arsenal with his remarkable performances at the tail end of last season. Having avoided being loaned out, Iwobi soon became a regular in Arsene Wenger's team.
With 9 appearances under his belt for the Londoners, Iwobi 20, must work to keep his place in the Arsenal team – for now, though, he remains one of the best youngsters in the Premier League.  

Forwards



Raheem Sterling – The level of expectation on this young man's shoulders is staggering – this usually leads to heavy criticism every time he produces a below par performance. However, Sterling is a footballer with immense talent and potential and has shown this on countless occasions.

The Kingston-born attacker who turns 22 later this month has played 12 times for Manchester City, scoring 4 times and delivering 2 assists.

Marcos Rashford – The Manchester United whizz-kid is highly regarded in England. His performances this year mirror a boy who could become a Manchester United and England legend someday.

Rashford (19) has 3 Premier League goals to his name already in the 10 games he's played.

Kelechi  Iheanacho – The Nigerian has shown the world what he can do if given the opportunity – considering his performances last season for Manchester City, it's a bit disappointing he's not getting more playing time under Pep Guardiola.
For the few times, he's been called upon this season (8), he's scored thrice, provided three assists and created 11 chances - including a derby day winner against United.
Kingsley Ukpai

Kingsley is a football aficionado who craves to read, watch, play and write about the greatest team sport ever known to man. If you're talking football he'll be keen to listen to what you have to say. Loves to play Fantasy Football too.


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