Premier League Young Team of the Season, starring Rashford and Foden
Manchester City were crowned champions, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea joined them in the top four, whilst Fulham, West Brom and Sheffield United suffered relegation to the Championship, and as usual, the Premier League brought the entertainment.
After revealing our Premier League Team of the Season, here at FootballTransfers, we thought we’d share our Young Team of the Season from England’s top flight.
The criteria for this team is simple. Players must be 23 or under. That’s it.
So who makes our Premier League Young Team of the Season?
Goalkeeper: Illan Meslier – Leeds
According to FootballCritic, no goalkeeper in the Premier League had a better average rating than Illan Meslier with a score of 6.9.
While other stoppers in the league kept more clean sheets, only Sam Johnstone of West Brom actually made more saves per 90 minutes than the Leeds man this season.
On average, Meslier made four saves per game in 2020/21 and managed to keep 11 clean sheets which is an impressive record considering he plays in such an expansive team, highlighted by how often he is called into action between the sticks.
Right-back: Reece James – Chelsea
Brought through into the first-team under Frank Lampard in 2019/20, Reece James has continued his ascendancy this season, and under new boss Thomas Tuchel, he seems as vital as ever.
Playing either as a RWB, or a RCB in Tuchel’s 3-4-3, James has impressed and his form has meant he is in serious contention for spot in England’s Euro 2020 squad.
Despite only mustering two league assists, xA says that should be closer to four, and his strength and speed mean he is almost impossible to get around.
Centre-back: Wesley Fofana – Leicester
When he was signed from St Etienne for £31.5 million last summer, it was seen by many as an expensive gamble for a talented, yet inexperienced defender. However, Wesley Fofana has well and truly lived up to his price tag in his first season in England.
Alongside Jonny Evans, he has formed one of the league’s best defensive partnerships, with his speed and aggression perfectly complimenting Evans’ positional expertise.
Only three players, two with over 1,000 minutes, can boast more than Fofana’s 2.4 interceptions per 90.
He’s been a world-class signing and the Foxes will make a huge profit when they eventually sell him to one of the world’s best clubs.
Centre-back: Ben Godfrey – Everton
It was a disappointing season for Everton in the end. They missed out on European football, and finished tenth, despite chasing all season. Carlo Ancelotti is under some pressure at Goodison Park, but his signings last summer were lauded at the time, and Ben Godfrey has possibly been the best of the lot.
Often forced to play at full-back, Godfrey showed he was more than adept at this level. He’s excellent on the ball and combines pace and strength expertly. He didn’t make one error leading to a goal all season, and won an impressive 4.6 of his 6.9 duels per game in the Premier League.
He only looks set to improve.
Left-back: James Justin – Leicester
Were it not for a serious knee injury sustained part way through the season, James Justin may well be heading to Euro 2020 with England. His impact may have been forgotten somewhat since his campaign curtailed, but the 23-year-old made a real difference down both sides for Leicester.
He was particularly strong defensively, averaging 1.3 interceptions per game in the Premier League and just under five recoveries, according to FootballCritic. Justin’s versatility came in handy for Brendan Rodgers when Ricardo Pereira returned from his own injury, and his lack of availability will be a huge disappointment for Gareth Southgate.
Centre-midfield: Declan Rice – West Ham
Before this season it would be fair to say that Declan Rice divided opinion. Some loved him, while some were unconvinced. However, in 2020/21 he has proven any doubters wrong, and was a driving force in guiding West Ham to European football for next season.
With Tomas Soucek next to him, Rice protected the back four whilst his Czech team-mate galloped into the box, and it was a dynamic that worked wonders.
Rice made 3.6 tackles and interceptions per 90, and his ability to break up play and distribute the ball accurately and with composure was a vital reason why West Ham looked so good this season.
Centre-midfield: Mason Mount – Chelsea
“Lampard’s son” has simply proven why he was so highly rated by his former manager over recent months. Chelsea’s Player of the Season, and for good reason, Mason Mount has truly stepped up.
His debut campaign was promising, but he’s turned into one of the best players in the league in 2020/21. While six goals and five assists in the league may not sound all that impressive, it’s come in a Chelsea side whose top scorer was Jorginho with seven (all penalties).
According to xA, he should’ve had 10 assists, double what he actually achieved, showing how poor the finishing of Chelsea’s forwards has been.
Furthermore, his 15 big chances created is third in the entire league, behind only Kevin De Bruyne and Bruno Fernandes; Mount has been in elite company during this season, and is fully deserving of a place in this team.
Attacking midfield: Eberechi Eze – Crystal Palace
Eberechi Eze impressed so much while at Queens Park Rangers that club director Les Ferdinand tipped him to make the England squad for the Euros, and although that may have been a bit of an oversell, Eze eventually earned himself a big money move to Crystal Palace.
Selhurst Park has proved to be the perfect place for him to display his talents as with Roy Hodgson naturally keeping things relatively solid at the back, this allowed Eze to perform with freedom going forward which is what he does best.
An outstanding dribbler with an eye for goal, Eze and Wilfried Zaha will lead the next generation of Palace stars now that so many of the current crop are set to leave this summer.
A ruptured Achilles injury suffered in training means Eze could be out until 2022, but if he can rediscover his 2020/21 form upon return, Palace should be fine.
Right wing: Phil Foden – Man City
Sometimes it may not feel like it, but Phil Foden has enjoyed his breakout season at Manchester City this year. His development will come as a shock to nobody, and while he had shown his qualities intermittently in previous campaigns, he finally became a regular in Pep Guardiola’s side as a wide-forward.
Perhaps it was expected he would play in central midfield, but he has thrived in his role, cutting inside and impacting games to great effect. Foden’s close control and dribbling ability make him the perfect Guardiola player, and he has been managed perfectly over recent years.
Now he is thriving and looks set to be a key player for England at Euro 2020 this summer. The 21-year-old’s future is incredibly bright, and it is hard to grasp that he is so young given the immense level of intelligence he plays with.
Left wing: Harvey Barnes – Leicester
He may have been injured since the end of February, but just like his teammate Justin, Harvey Barnes’ form at the start of the season means he finds his way into our team.
Just for context, despite that injury, he has still played more minutes in the PL (1,950) than Joe Willock (1,213) and Emile Smith-Rowe (1,449) who were contenders for the team.
Bukayo Saka was another left out, but despite playing over 600 more league minutes than Barnes this campaign, Saka has five fewer goal contributions. Barnes amassed nine goals and four assists whilst he was fit, with two of those goals decisive and three of them equalisers; he was vital to Leicester’s success, and had he stayed fit, they surely would’ve secured Champions League football.
He turned from a raw talent into a crucial figure for Leicester and keeping hold of him will be imperative if they want to finally reach the top four again next year.
Centre-forward: Marcus Rashford – Man Utd
It seems like Marcus Rashford has been around forever now but he remains just 23-years-old which makes him eligible for our Young Team of the Season.
His commendable charitable exploits off the pitch may have catalysed more headlines than his performances on it in 2020/21, but to ignore his contributions to Man Utd’s season would be a disservice as he has been excellent.
Rashford’s goal-scoring in the Premier League may have decreased from 17 last year to 11 this year, but his assists improved from seven to nine, while in all competitions he has scored just one goal less than last season.
The England international remains one of Man Utd’s main men, and it does seem like he’s just getting started.