Young players offer football clubs and fans a lot of excitement. Players who come through youth academies or join top clubs at a young age are often followed with great enthusiasm.
This past season saw several top young players break through in the football world. Some are now being touted as big money transfers during the offseason while others are seen as the futures of their respective clubs.
Here is a look at the world’s 5 best footballers under 21.
5. Kai Havertz – 19
Kai Havertz became Bayer Leverkusen’s youngest ever player when he debuted in 2016 at the age of 17. Since then, Havertz has been a regular in the German team’s squad. In his first two seasons, the midfielder showed an ability to create goals for others.
However, this past term, Havertz turned into a goal scorer tallying an incredible 20 goals in all competitions from midfield. Havertz’s play enabled Bayer Leverkusen to overcome an indifferent start to the season and to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
4. Jadon Sancho – 19
Jadon Sancho joined Borussia Dortmund in 2017 after failing to break into Manchester City’s first team. The Englishman’s first season at Signal Iduna Park saw him score just one goal in 12 appearances but he did show flashes of creative brilliance posting four assists.
His second season in Germany was a break out year for the 19-year-old. Sancho scored 13 goals and tallied 16 assists. Sancho could be sold for as much as £100 million this summer.
3. Matthijs de Ligt – 19
Matthijs de Ligt’s stock has never been higher than it is right now. It may never reach this level again either. The Ajax centre-back starred for in the Champions League helping the Dutch club reach the semifinals.
Although they ultimately lost to a last second goal from Tottenham Hotspur, De Ligt showed just how good he is. De Light led Ajax to a domestic double this season and top clubs around Europe are lining up for his signature.
2. Trent Alexander-Arnold – 20
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold made his first-team debut in 2016 against Tottenham Hotspur, but it wouldn’t be until the next season that he became a household name on Merseyside. Alexander-Arnold unseated Liverpool’s previous right-back, Nathaniel Clyne, for the starting position and hasn’t looked back.
In 2018-19, Alexander-Arnold recorded 12 assists and one goal from the right-back position in the Premier League. His cheeky assist from a corner to set up Divock Origi to score Liverpool’s Champions League semifinal second leg winner against Barcelona will be remembered for decades to come.