With the Premier League being home to many of the world’s brightest young players, and having seen the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo pass through our league, we thought it’s only fair that we at FootballTarget choose our Premier League XI for the best young players to watch out for during the 2013/2014 season!
So without further ado, here is our Premier League XI: Best Young Players 2013/2014 (Under 22)
GK: Jack Butland (Stoke City)
At just 20-years-old, Jack Butland is already being mentioned as the potential number 1 for England, becoming the youngest ever goalkeeper to play for England when he made is debut in August 2012. He will be hoping to knock Asmir Begovic of the number one spot at Stoke City after signing from Birmingham in January. He is known for his terrific shot-stopping and reflexes, so it will be interesting to see how the youngster progresses this season with Stoke.
LB: Luke Shaw (Southampton)
Luke Shaw is another graduate of the Saint’s Academy, following in the footsteps of Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale. He made his premier league debut aged just 17, and featured in 25 of Southampton’s league games last season. Shaw reads the game exceptionally well, and is known for his attacking qualities as well as his defensive skills. He is capable of beating a player or two and possesses a vast amount of space. Luke Shaw is a future England international in the making.
CB: Matija Nastasić (Manchester City)
The Manchester City defender has made an impact at the Etihad during his first season. He has cemented himself as a regular in the starting XI and managed to push Lescott out of the team on numerous occasions. The 20-year-old has become a fan favourite, winning the club’s Player of the Month Award for November. Nastasić is an extremely quick defender, and has great composure on the ball, as shown by his passing ability.
CB: Phil Jones (Manchester United)
Despite being only 21, it feels like Phil Jones has been on the scene for a long time, but that is testament to what an impact he has had on the Premier League. He is a versatile player, and play in midfielder just as well as his more natural position of CB. Jones is a physical, powerful and a no nonsense player and can give a challenge just as well as he can take one. He already has 80 Premier League appearances and 7 England Caps to his name.
RB: Nathaniel Clyne (Southampon)
Since signing from Crystal Palace last summer, Clyne has taken his opportunity in the premier league and grabbed it with both hands. He was a key part to Southampton staying up last season, playing 34 out of Southampton’s 38 Premiership matches. Clyne is exceptionally quick, which aids him in both providing runs on the overlap and tracking back. He reads the game well and is a great passer of the ball. His work rate is second-rate, making him a firm favourite with both the fans and the manager.
RM: Raheem Sterling (Liverpool)
Few people had heard of Raheem Sterling before last season, but he took the first few months of the Premier League by storm, resulting in being capped for England. Despite only being 18, Sterling does not shy away from performing tricks and beating players, it is what his game is about. Small in stature, but always willing to track back and battle with full-backs and defenders alike. We saw less and less of him towards the end of the season, but expect to see more of Sterling this campaign.
CM: Nick Powell (Manchester United)
Nick Powell signed for United last season from Crewe and only made two appearances and scoring one goal. However Powell is a player who has a lot of potential. He helped Crewe win promotion to League One and pulled the strings in midfield for the Cheshire club. He will be hoping to gain some more opportunities this season. Powell is capable of feeding through delicious through balls and is very calm and collected on the ball, making him a player to definitely keep a look out for.
CM: Oscar (Chelsea)
Many of us got our first glimpses of Chelsea’s new Brazilian playmaker last summer at the Olympics, but if we thought he was good then, he has been a breath of fresh air in the Premier League last season, and this campaign is set to be even better for the little Brazilian. He has been compared to the likes of Kaka and Ozil, and is capable of playing in any attacking role. He has already shown he is capable of delivering moments of magic, and he will be looking to help Chelsea compete for the title. Quick, skillful and intelligent, Oscar gives any defense plenty of trouble.
LM: Alex Oxlade-Chamverlain (Arsenal)
Another product of the Southamton Academy, The Ox has been an exciting player to watch for Arsenal with his lightening pace and ability to beat a defender. One criticism of Oxlade-Chamberlain can be his inconsistency, but with more first team chances he will gain more experience and hopefully have a bigger impact for England, as well as Arsenal. This could be a breakthrough season for the winger providing he is given a chance.
FW: Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)
Often compared to former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, Lukaku may finally get to live up to that comparison for Chelsea after a blistering season on loan with West Brom. He netted 17 goals in 35 appearances for the baggies, destroying defenses with his incredibly strength and speed. At just 20, Lukaku has already demonstrated he is a clinical finisher, and could become one of the Premier League’s best strikers.
FW: Christian Benteke (Aston Villa)
I don’t think anyone expected Benteke to be as good as he was last season, especially considering his poor start to the season. However Benteke almost single handily helped Villa to stay up with his 19 goals and link-up play. Benteke is a great header of the ball, and as with Lukaku, Benteke is both strong, and fast. I guess it it testament to Belgian Football that Lukaku and Benteke are some of the hottest property in the league. Wherever he ends up playing his football this season, Benteke will surely be a great signing and will guarantee his new club plenty of goals.