While Manchester City and Liverpool dominated our main team of the year, as many as 10 clubs are represented in the under-21 edition
Manchester City and Liverpool's battle for the title dominated this season's edition of the Premier League, but they are scarcely represented in Goal’s Under-21 Team of the Year - with young talent impressing all over the division in 2018-19.
A total of 10 clubs feature in our side of starlets, with performances in all competitions taken into account in order to compile this best XI.
From finalists in the Champions League and Europa League to players who spent their seasons fighting relegation, here is the Premier League Young Team of the Season.
It’s been quite the season for Arijanet Muric. In between turning 20, choosing to play and then debuting for the Kosovo national team and winning the Premier League with Manchester City, the young goalkeeper was chosen by Pep Guardiola to be his first choice in the EFL Cup. Muric played five of City’s six games as they lifted the trophy, keeping four clean sheets, conceding just one goal and saving two penalties in their quarter-final victory over Leicester.
RB | Trent Alexander-Arnold
There are a whole host of young, talented right-backs in the Premier League right now – but Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Southampton’s Yan Valery only get honourable mentions thanks to Trent Alexander-Arnold. The Liverpool man has had a stellar campaign, registering an incredible 12 assists in the Premier League – the most of any defender. But the 20-year-old has been formidable defensively too, making 33 interceptions and winning 37 of his 57 tackles as the Reds fell just short of the title.
CB | Juan Foyth
Few managers nurture young talent as well as Mauricio Pochettino, so Tottenham Hotspur have a real star in the making in Juan Foyth. His season ended in reckless fashion after a red card at Bournemouth, but the 21-year-old has impressed otherwise. An accomplished passer who presents an aerial threat and also a versatile option with his ability to play at right-back, Foyth is also now a full Argentina international, making his debut in October.
CB | Joe Gomez
Joe Gomez’s season was hampered by injury again this term, but he still showed why Liverpool are excited about his talent. The young defender has played an important part in the Reds’ season, with performances at home to Brighton and Red Star Belgrade particular highlights. He’s alternated between right-back and centre-back roles since moving to Anfield, but if his future is in the latter position with Alexander-Arnold in the former, both England and Liverpool should be licking their lips.
LB | Ryan Sessegnon
After scoring 16 goals and providing eight assists in Fulham’s promotion campaign last year, Ryan Sessegnon has undoubtedly underwhelmed in the Premier League this term. However, in his first season in the top flight, a return of two goals and six assists is still impressive. Liverpool’s Andy Robertson and Alexander-Arnold were the only defenders to create more goals – not bad for an 18-year-old in a side who were relegated with five games to spare.
CM | Declan Rice
After 15 starts and 11 substitute appearances in four different positions last term, this year West Ham gave Declan Rice the consistency he needed to be one of the stars of the season. The 20-year-old can play all across the back four, but he has settled in a defensive midfield role and put in performances to win the Hammers’ Players’ Player of the Year award and a PFA Young Player of the Year nomination – as well as, after some deliberation, two England caps.
CM | Matteo Guendouzi
When Matteo Guendouzi arrived from Ligue 2 side Lorient in the summer, he was not expected to be a regular starter for Arsenal. However, the midfielder, who only turned 20 last month, has taken his chances throughout this season, starting an impressive 23 games. He’s been a key part of the Gunners’ run to the Europa League final, showing his composure on the ball and battling qualities in an impressive first season in England.
CM | David Brooks
Bournemouth raised eyebrows last summer when they signed Sheffield United’s David Brooks for £11.5m (€13.25m/$14.9m), but any doubters have quickly been silenced. The 21-year-old has been one of the season’s breakout stars; earning a PFA Young Player of the Year nomination with seven goals and five assists. Team-mate Chris Mepham told the Bournemouth Echo that, “if he keeps that attitude, then the sky is the limit and he could play anywhere.” Not bad for a debut Premier League season.
RW | Richarlison
After an impressive season with Watford last term, Richarlison has really shone this season, scoring 13 goals in 35 games for new club Everton. The forward has transferred that form onto the international stage too, scoring three goals in eight caps to start his Brazil career in impressive fashion. Those who questioned his decision to swap Vicarage Road for Goodison Park have gone quiet now and having turned 22 just two days before the end of the season, he has an exciting future ahead.
ST | Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford may have underwhelmed for some this campaign, but the striker has enjoyed his best scoring season in the Premier League with 10 goals – and matched his best scoring season in all competitions, with 13. Alexander-Arnold was the only player under 21 to better his six assists in the league, while the 21-year-old also posted a better chance conversion rate than Gabriel Jesus and Lucas Moura. Consider Manchester United’s struggles, and his season hasn't been bad at all.
LW | Dwight McNeil
Dwight McNeil is perhaps the most unlikely inclusion in this team. The 19-year-old only made his senior debut on the final day of the 2017-18 season, but he’s been a key player for Burnley since coming into the team in December. His return of three goals and five assists is not bad from just 19 starts – particularly given the Clarets have only scored 45 goals altogether. Add in experience of playing in the Europa League qualifying rounds and training with England’s seniors, and it’s been an incredible 12 months for McNeil.