The Premier League is home to some of the most famous football academies in the world. From Arsenal’s Hale End to Chelsea’s Cobham Training Center, the country’s top youth academies are nurturing young footballers who could rule football in the future.
Even for foreign youngsters who haven’t come through an English academy, the Premier League offers a welcoming atmosphere. It allows them to grow and learn from the best players in the business, giving them an opportunity to thrive in the biggest footballing league.
Today, we will take a look at some young footballers, both from English academies and from outside, that have excelled in the Premier League.
Here are five U23 players who have enjoyed a stellar Premier League campaign in 2021-22.
#5 Jacob Ramsey — Aston Villa
Jacob Ramsey is by far the most chaos-inducing player on our list today. But like most exceptional players, there is a method to Ramsey’s madness.
Ramsey, who strikes the perfect balance between a No. 8 and 10, is all about rapid acceleration, clever cutbacks, and commendable distribution. Ramsey, who is one of the most intelligent U23 players in England, also possesses excellent close control, making it difficult for defenders to dispossess him.
The 20-year-old has scored six times and provided an assist for Aston Villa this season, which is neither good nor bad.
Some U23 players have recorded better stats this season, but Ramsey’s performances cannot be defined by stats alone.
Had it not been for his clever midfield play, Steven Gerrard probably wouldn’t have been in a position to secure a comfortable midtable finish.
#4 Conor Gallagher — Crystal Palace (On loan from Chelsea)
13th-placed Crystal Palace have enjoyed a fruitful campaign this term. Yes, they have missed out on European football, but have successfully kept themselves afloat in the top flight of English football.
This feat, in itself, is commendable. Of course, every player has pitched in to extend Palace’s Premier League stay, but Conor Gallagher’s contributions still warrant a special mention.
The Chelsea loanee has been Crystal Palace’s driving force this season in attack, pitching in with eight goals and three assists.
He effortlessly glides past challenges, does not take unnecessary risks, and has proven himself to be mighty clinical in front of goal.
In addition to his goal involvements, Gallagher has made 34 key passes, accurately delivered nine crosses into the penalty area, and played 58 progressive passes.
Gallagher is also a relentless pressing machine and brings a lot of aggression when defending. This does land him in trouble from time to time, but his commitment to the cause is well received by his coach Patrick Vieira.
#3 Kai Havertz — Chelsea
Having spent most of his career playing as an attacking midfielder, Kai Havertz has had a lot of joy as a centre-forward this season.
Courtesy of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner’s underwhelming performances, coach Thomas Tuchel has often deployed Havertz as a centre-forward this season. The decision, for the most part, has paid off wonderfully.
The lanky German is not as physically intimidating as Lukaku nor is he as quick as Werner. What he brings to the table is intelligence, dribbling ability, and a knack for making the most of half chances.
The former Bayer Leverkusen man has taken part in 27 Premier League games for Chelsea this season, recording seven goals and three assists.
While the 22-year-old’s numbers aren’t exactly eye-watering, his goal involvements have helped the Blues lock down a top-four finish in the Premier League this term.
#2 Bukayo Saka — Arsenal
From leading the Premier League top-four race to praying for Norwich City to pull off a miracle against Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal have had quite a ride.
Mikel Arteta’s men have collectively imploded in the last couple of matches, jeopardizing the hard work they have put in over the last few months. Every player is bound to be disappointed with the Gunners’ recent downtick, but very few are likely to be as heartbroken as Bukayo Saka.
The 20-year-old has by far been Arsenal’s best performer this season. The winger has shown excellent composure, worked tirelessly, provided quite a few assists, and scored important goals.
Had it not been for his goal contributions, Arsenal would not have lasted in the top-four race as long as they have.
The England international has featured in every Premier League game so far this season, recording 11 goals, six assists, and 63 key passes.
Had the Gunners made full use of the chances Saka created, they probably would have already qualified for next season’s Champions League.
#1 Phil Foden — Manchester City
England international Phil Foden is one of the most experienced young footballers in the Premier League right now.
Having risen through Manchester City’s youth system, Foden is a Citizen through and through. Benefitting from Pep Guardiola’s keen guidance, he has made himself an irreplaceable member of the City squad.
The 21-year-old can dribble beautifully, possesses excellent positional awareness, can play pin-point through balls, and has a knack for scoring as well. The youngster is already an established all-rounder and we can only guess how much he will improve in the coming years.
In the Premier League this season, Foden has taken part in 27 matches, recording nine goals and five assists.
He has also made 38 key passes, accurately delivered nine crosses into the penalty area, and played 70 progressive balls.