In the money and business-minded football world, managers and clubs need to invest in the talent of tomorrow as much as the talent of today. Young and exciting prospects are the type of players people want to see nowadays, with the likes of Haaland, Foden, and other young players making headlines every week, is it finally time to crown successors to Messi and Ronaldo? In this article, we look at the 5 best players under the age of 21.
#5 Bukayo Saka
Arsenal’s starboy Bukayo Saka has been rated as one of the best young players in the world. After an impressive 20-21 season, which saw him start 30 games in the league itself, speaks volumes about how highly the youngster is rated by Arteta. 5 goals and 3 assists in the league last season, don’t provide justice to the quality of the player Saka is. His versatility is what makes him special, he has previously played at left-back and even as a midfielder for the Gunners. On the one hand, he is a determined defender, while on the other, he is a fountain of energy who is unplayable.
Saka has evolved as a player ever since he has been moved up the pitch. His skills, pace, and dribbling have proved to be a nightmare for defenders. He is lightning quick with the ball at his feet and has also proven to be an excellent crosser. His goal against Chelsea was a goal of the season candidate as he flicked past Edouard Mendy with his weaker foot.
#4 Jadon Sancho
At the age of just 21, Jadon Sancho has already established himself as one of the best wingers in the footballing world. After moving to Borussia Dortmund, the winger has exploded onto the European footballing scene after consistently performing for his club at the highest level. Dortmund are the best club for youngsters, not only Sancho but the club have bred some world-class youngsters, but Jadon is furthest along in his progress. Last season, his presence was severely missed by BVB as they were kicked out of the Champions League by Manchester City.
The most striking facet of Sancho’s play is his ability to dribble past players with ease, combined with his blistering pace. Both of these together have made Jadon unstoppable, which have also earned him a move to Manchester United this summer, which also makes him the most expensive forward in Premier League history.
Despite having a below-average season, one positive FC Barcelona took from the previous season was the excellence of Pedri. At the age of just 18, Pedri arrived at the club from Las Palmas with big expectations and fanfare, and he has most certainly lived up to the hype. No one thought that Pedri would be a starter in this star-studded Barça side, but the teenager has cemented his place in Koeman’s plans.
Being a regular starter in the Barça side is no easy feat for an 18-year-old, but he has impressed the club and the fans with his versatility and work rate. Recently, the player has earned a lot of praise for performing in both the Euro 2020 and the ongoing Tokyo Olympics 2020, without taking a break.
#2 Phil Foden
The 20/21 season was expected to be Foden’s full breakthrough year for a long time, and the promise was delivered. The 21-year-old was directly involved in 14 goals for Manchester City in the 28 games he played, contributing to City’s title-winning season. Exploding with his energy and creativity in the midfield, Foden has been described as one of the best youngsters in the world for a long time now. He is significantly making his mark at City under Pep Guardiola and becoming an important player among the great players at Etihad.
Whether playing on the wings or playing in the heart of the midfield, Foden is always a threat going forward. The Manchester City wonderkid was named the Premier League young player of the season and the PFA young player of the year as well for his outstanding performances in the 20/21 season.
#1 Erling Haaland
The most coveted player in football right now, Haaland easily tops this list of the 5 best players under the age of 21. Erling’s 37 goals in 38 matches in all competitions, is a phenomenal record for any forward in the world, let alone for a 20-year-old. His ridiculous haul of 12 goals came in just the first 8 matches in Dortmund colours, only Ronaldo managed to score more goals in 2020 before the world came to a halt because of the coronavirus.
Haaland is a perfect match of blistering pace, imposing physical frame, and ruthlessness in front of the goal. All these qualities have made him a beast who just can’t stop scoring goals. The player is wanted by all the top clubs in Europe, with Chelsea being linked to him this summer. All clubs will have eyes on Haaland before his 75m release clause kicks in next year.