Top 5 starlets in the Premier League
Who are the most exciting young talents lighting up the top flight in England?
While most professional footballers break into their club's first team at 22 or 23 years of age, there are some prodigies at every club that achieve superstardom in their teenage years. The last few seasons in Europe have seen several exciting new talents emerge from academies across the continent.
Kylian Mbappe earned himself a record-breaking £166m move to PSG, while Ousmane Dembele was signed by Barcelona to fill the void of Neymar for around €105 million. A couple of seasons ago, Manchester United signed little-known French teenager Anthony Martial for £36 million, a transfer which has reaped great benefits.
Similarly, there are several teenagers in the Premier League who are lighting up the English top flight. 22 or 23 is no longer the age when players announce themselves to the world. These days, teenagers as young as 16 or 17 are regularly making first team debuts.
Here we take a look at the five best teenagers who are playing major roles at their clubs already.
#5 Timothy Fosu-Mensah
The Dutch youngster started his career in the Netherlands with Ajax, but later joined Manchester United's academy in 2014.
He made his breakthrough in the first team as an 18-year-old in 2016 in a 3-2 win over Arsenal at home, coming on as a substitute for Marcos Rojo. A spate of injuries meant that he got on-and-off chances to play with the senior team, but was never really able to nail down a place in the starting XI.
His versatility enables him to play at centre-back, right-back and defensive midfield. His playing style is characterised by pace, strength, and strong tackling, and he quickly made himself a fan-favourite with his energy and high work rate.
Mourinho's decision to send him out on loan to Crystal Palace was met with some flak from the fans, but it turned out to be the right decision. In what has been a dismal start to the season for the Eagles, Fosu-Mensah has been a rare silver lining. He's been one of their best defenders so far, in a defence that has conceded an average of 2.4 goals per game.
He's featured at both centre-back and right-back, but his best position might be down the flank. Following the battering by City, Roy Hodgson couldn't use him for the match against United. His replacement, however, didn't fare so well.
Joel Ward was absolutely slaughtered, first by Rashford, and then by second-half substitute Martial. Fosu-Mensah will get the chance to feature in the next match against Chelsea, however.
With Valencia turning 33 next August, Fosu-Mensah's performances for Palace might see him earn himself a future first-team place under Mourinho as his first choice right-back. Either way, United fans will be eagerly awaiting his return to the club next summer to know the Portuguese boss' plans for the obviously talented youngster.