The 10 teens to play the most minutes in Europe’s big five leagues in 2020-21

Quick Reads

Arsenal and Manchester United players feature among the 10 teenagers to have played the most minutes across Europe’s top five leagues in 2020-21.

As well as the two Premier League representatives, two players come from the Bundesliga, just one from La Liga, and an impressive five from Ligue 1.

Note: we’ve not included minutes played in the domestic cup or European competitions.

10. Adil Aouchiche (Saint-Etienne) – 1,742

A PSG academy graduate, Aouchiche rejected the offer of a new contract at the Parc des Princes and left on a free transfer at the end of 2019-20. 

Despite being linked with Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Arsenal, he joined Saint-Etienne in search of regular first-team football. 

Having played in 34 of the 38 Ligue 1 games in 2020-21, the midfielder probably feels that his decision to leave PSG has been justified.

9. Mason Greenwood (Man Utd) – 1,826

After Manchester United tried and failed to sign Jadon Sancho in 2020, Greenwood remained a key player under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The 19-year-old started 21 Premier League games in 2020-21 and made another 10 appearances off the bench, scoring seven goals.

He also made his 100th senior appearance in May 2021, becoming the youngest ever Englishman and the third-youngest player to reach a century of games for the Red Devils.

8. Adrien Truffert (Rennes) – 1,957

Truffert enjoyed a stunning top-flight debut with Rennes, coming off the bench to grab a goal and assist against Monaco in September 2020.

The 19-year-old left-back has already been capped by France’s Under-21 side and looks a promising prospect for the years ahead.

7. Giovani Reyna (Borussia Dortmund) – 1,984

At this stage of his career, Reyna looks fully capable of eclipsing his father’s achievements as a footballer.

Born in Sunderland, the son of former USA captain Claudio Reyna has shone as part of an exciting Dortmund side.

He became the first American to record a hat-trick of assists in a major European league since 2008 and scored seven goals in German football – including an absolute ripsnorter against Eintracht Frankfurt.

6. Nathanael Mbuku (Stade Reimes) – 2,230

It’s well known that French football produces a conveyer belt of talented footballers and Mbuku has caught the eye of many observers.

Having starred at the 2019 Under-17 World Cup, the young forward has taken significant strides forward this season. Mbuku scored his first senior goal with an acrobatic effort during a 4-0 win over Montpellier and has made 11 league appearances for the mid-table side.

It would be no surprise to see Mbuku attract the attention of bigger clubs over the coming years.

5. Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen) – 2,230

After Kai Havertz joined Chelsea in the summer of 2020, Wirtz stepped up and helped fill the void.

He already made history by becoming the youngest Bundesliga scorer at 17 years and 34 days in 2019-20, although that record has since been surpassed.

But Wirtz has continued to make a positive impression, scoring the winner against Borussia Dortmund in January and becoming the first player to reach five Bundesliga goals before turning 18.

4. Jeremy Doku (Rennes) – 2,318

There’s a lot of talk about Belgium needing to win this summer’s European Championship before their Golden Generation of talent becomes too old.

This theory assumes that the next wave of Belgian talent couldn’t possibly live up to De Bruyne, Hazard and company. Doku could disprove that.

The 18-year-old winger has caught the attention of Liverpool among other elite European clubs with his performances for Rennes this season.

Doku made 35 appearances, including six in the Champions League and scored his first goals for Belgium in what has been a breakout campaign.

3. Eduardo Camavinga (Rennes) – 2,413

The third Rennes player to feature on this list, Camavinga is regarded as one of the brightest young prospects in world football.

He made his senior debut at the age of 16 in 2019 and has from strength to strength over the last two years, making 35 Ligue 1 appearances in 2020-21.

The midfielder has just one year left on his current contract and has been linked with the likes of PSG, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

2. Pedri (Barcelona) – 2,430

The sole representative from La Liga, Pedri started his career at Las Palmas before completing a €5million move to Barcelona in 2020.  

He quickly established himself as a key player for Ronald Koeman’s side, playing in all but one of their 38 La Liga games in 2020-21. 

The 18-year-old made his 50th appearance for the club in all competitions in May 2021, becoming the second-youngest player to reach the milestone after Bojan Krkic.

READ: No wonder Lionel Messi loves Pedri when he can pass like this

1. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) – 2,562

Despite only being 19 years old, Saka has already become one of Arsenal’s most important and influential players.

The versatile winger is one of the first names on Mikel Arteta’s teamsheet and started 30 Premier League games in 2020-21, more than any of their other outfield players.

He’s also been named in Gareth Southgate’s provisional 33-man England squad for Euro 2020, although Arteta is worried about potential burnout.

“There is a risk,” Arteta said. “I think the schedule that they have been through in the last two years has been crazy. He has handled that situation really, really well.

“I know Gareth and he has been brilliant at managing them as well, and I spoke with him about it. We just hope that they do the right thing.

“But he [Saka] is very determined to go and help his country, which is incredible at his age, and he needs to enjoy that because he has earned every right to be there.”


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