The 10 Under-21s with the most PL goals and assists in 21-22: Saka, ESR

Quick Reads
Bukayo Saka and Kieran Tierney Celebrate, Elland Road, December 2021

It’s always nice watching young players do well, and it’s even sweeter when they’ve come through the youth academy at your club.

As transfer fees get higher and higher, a lot of clubs have turned to their academies for internal solutions to outsmart the market, and are reaping the rewards, with a lot of youngsters regularly starting Premier League games and scoring goals.

The future looks bright for these young players, and some are already commanding huge transfer fees as clubs have started to prefer potential over experience, and signings are made with a long term plan in mind.

Some players have also benefitted from the loan system, playing regularly away from their parent clubs and developing well, whilst also helping their loan club achieve their aims.

We’ve taken a look at how the top 10 under 21 players rank in terms of combined goals and assists, as some of the best youngsters in the world.

10: Joao Pedro

Both Rayan Ait-Nouri and Tino Livramento both have three goal contributions as well, but since Pedro has done his in considerably fewer minutes we’ve opted to include him over the other.

An exciting Brazilian forward, Pedro has been a rare positive in an otherwise dismal season for Watford, who sit 19th in the Premier League.

With two goals and an assist under his belt already, many feel that if Watford are to stay up, it will be down to his performances across the attacking line.

“I think like all young players, we need to try and mould him to some extent into the type of centre forward we would like him to be and to play the type of football we’d like to see him play,” his manager Roy Hodgson stated in February.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he is a good signing for Watford Football Club, not just in our battle now, but going forward in time because there’s no doubt he’s a very talented boy.”

9: Joe Gelhardt

Leeds are having a poor campaign compared to the successes of their first season back in the top flight after a long absence, but one of the players getting Leeds fans off their feet is Gelhardt.

With one goal and three assists, the 19-year-old forward impressed under Marcelo Bielsa, with his sheer pace proving a nightmare for defenders, and he has already won a few penalties through his dribbling.

The sky is the limit.

8: Anthony Gordon

Everton fans have arguably never been further detached from their players, and during an abysmal season for the club, who are dangerously close to the relegation zone, their main stars have been heavily criticised for the lack of effort and quality.

One of the bright sparks in their team though has been the emergence of Gordon.

The 20-year-old winger, who came through the youth academy at Goodison Park, has three goals and two assists this season, and Frank Lampard will rely on him heavily to help the club steer clear of the threat of relegation.

7: Jacob Ramsay

The Aston Villa youngster has thrived since Steven Gerrard arrived at Villa Park.

A midfielder by trade, he has turned into a goalscoring threat with five to his name in the Premier League this campaign and one assist as well.

“He is a top talent, I’m loving every moment of working with him,” Gerrard has said of the 20-year-old.

“He is getting stronger with each game because we’re giving him the platform to express himself. He is in a wonderful place.”

6= Armando Broja

Since being sent on loan to Southampton by Chelsea, Broja has been one of the standout breakthrough talents in 2021-22.

There has been a clamour from Chelsea fans to keep him at Stamford Bridge next season, and considering he’s only 20 and has scored six and assisted one they’ve got good reason to want to see him in a blue shirt.

6= Gabriel Martinelli

Arsenal fans have talked about Martinelli’s talent for a while, and this season the Premier League has become all too aware of it.

The Brazilian has taken on a much more important role since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s removal from the squad and eventual departure, and he’s stepped up to the task with five goals and two assists.

At 20 years old, he has a bright future in Mikel Arteta’s young Arsenal squad.

6= Michael Olise

Olise’s move to Crystal Palace from Reading was a move that went under most people’s radar, but at just over £8million it has proved to be one of the signings of the season.

He has impressed with his technical ability and dribbling skills, which have helped him score twice and assist five goals so far this season.

If Palace ever decide to cash in on Wilfried Zaha, they’ve already found a worthy replacement.

3: Phil Foden

It’s perhaps surprising that Foden isn’t at the number one spot, but seven goals and three assists isn’t enough for any more than a third-place spot.

But regardless, Foden’s talent is undeniable. At 21, he’s one of the most impressive players to watch in the league, and he’s thrived under the stewardship of Pep Guardiola.

He’s going to have a long career and a full trophy cabinet.

2: Emile Smith Rowe

The first of two Arsenal players making up our top two, Smith Rowe has continued his brilliant form from the end of last season into this campaign.

He’s been in unbelievable goalscoring form with nine and also turned creator for his side twice in the league.

That’s resulted in him being touted for a potential role as a striker in the future, his manager suggests.

“He can play as a left-winger, he can play as a left attacking midfielder, right attacking midfielder and he can play as a nine — very, very well I think,” Arteta has said.

1: Bukayo Saka

What more can be said about Saka that hasn’t already?

He is the beating heart of Arsenal, a majestic dribbler and a clinical finisher.

His eight goals and five assists this season in the Premier League is just the beginning.

Bukayo Saka celebrates his goal against Norwich City, Carrow Road, December 2021

READ: Saka is learning Henry’s arrogance: this nutmeg shows he’s an assassin


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