England, much like other powerhouse nations of Europe has had a reputation of producing youngsters in the past. Although, the players are, as of now, accustomed to coming across a bottleneck period around the ages of 19 or 20, but some end up defying that age to register their names in the minds of the fans strikingly. No matter how much people criticize the English policy of producing youngsters, there always are players who break out from English clubs, big or small.
They turn some heads and make waves season after season, and end up finding a place on the radar of big clubs across Europe. So, here are of the best under 21 talents in England right now.
5. Luke Shaw- Manchester United
Luke Shaw, who was excellent before falling prey to a double fracture during United’s game at Phillips Stadium, is one of the best left full backs in the league right now. His previous and first season at Old Trafford was hampered by injuries but here and there, he showed glimpses of what he is actually capable of.
A Southampton youth product, Shaw has a great burst of pace and always combines with players playing on the left of the midfield very well. His crossing is another trait once can admire, apart from the others. He possesses an excellent reading of the game and is seen executing tackles to perfection.
He’s recovering quickly than expected and it’s only a matter of time before the second highest earning English teen would soon be back on track.
4. Dele Alli- Tottenham Hotspur
Since sealing a move from minnow MK Dons last January, nobody or in fact, this 19-year-old himself would never have expected such a good start to his Premier League career at White Hart Lane. Among Spurs’ standout performers, Alli recently earned an English National side call up, after delivering a series of stellar performances under Mauricio Pochetinno.
Alli is an all rounder on the pitch. A central midfielder, who can even play as an attacking midfielder, Alli knows how to attack, find key passes and go past people and do the dirty work by dropping deep. He’s scored once and has assisted once, but his overall work rate has been outstanding.
He’s one of those players who’d be at the lucrative end under the Argentine gaffer, as he fits into the high pressing philosophy perfectly.
3. John Stones- Everton
Not a supposed Chelsea player yet, Stones is still among England’s best defenders right now. The Barnsley-born 21-year-old has become a vital part of Roberto Martinez’s Toffees’ defense and has been very impressive over the past 2 seasons.
Stones can play right back too, apart from central defense, but the latter is where he tends to excel more. He’s a strong defender, always strong in the tackle and clever in intercepting, Stones is a sound passer too. After succumbing a long term injury at Old Trafford last season, Stones has come back stronger than ever and is as good and fit as ever.
He’s made 2.3 interceptions and a similar amount of tackles this season, making 4.3 clearances per game. Alongside, Phil Jagielka at the back, John Stones can perform any role the manager wants him to perform.
2. Raheem Sterling- Manchester City
He silenced his critics well and soundly enough after grabbing a hat-trick against Bournemouth recently, and rightly so, Sterling has to be on this list, without a speck of doubt. He is the highest paid teenager in the world right now. Sterling was just as impressive during his stint at Anfield, before he sealed a big-money move to the Etihad this past summer, amidst undoubted controversy.
At just 20, Sterling has scored four times and has assisted once, despite being subjected to the burden of a fee in excess of 45 million. Sterling is a character who won’t hug the touchline, if deployed on the left, but will always look to do something or spark something – may it be a breathtaking run or a superhero pass.
The fact that he’s playing under the burden of a big fee, we just have to appreciate the attitude he has shown at his new club. One of the most enticing youngsters in the world right now, Sterling is destined for bigger things in the future, not in terms of money, but in terms of trophies.
1.Ross Barkley- Everton
No matter who fails to make a name for himself 2 or 3 years on or not, this Liverpool-born lad is sure to become one of the best players in the world one day, if not the best. Barkley has become an important and indispensable part of the Everton attack since 2 seasons and is a reason why they are a real joy to watch sometimes.
Someone who can play wide, or centrally equally well, Barkley always has one trait in him that separates him from the rest- the hunger to play better and keep his side ticking. He may not be the best defensively, but watching him play is like a joy ride that is utterly pleasing on the eye. He’s a massive threat on the counter, he goes past people, creates chances (16 this season) and scores goals. He’s got impeccable technique and composure on the ball too.
He’s scored twice, assisting thrice this season and apart from Romelu Lukaku and Steve Naismith, has been Everton’s best player this season. A real deal for Everton and England, Ross Barkley is destined for success, no matter what happens.