Destined for Greatness? The Premier League Best XI in 2021?
Published by Ian John on February 21, 2011
As we all know, footballers are getting their chances at the top flight at younger and younger ages. Gone are the days when players would make their first team bow aged 21 or 22. In the main, those who are good enough, are old enough, so the maxim goes, so with that in mind, here is a team of youngsters who may just be on the fringes of the first team now, but who may well be the next generation of established Premier League superstars within ten years.
1. Wojciech Szczesny (Arsenal) – Already forced his way to becoming Arsenal’s first choice and after several false dawns in the goalkeeping position, Arsenal finally look to have found their man, not only for the present but for the next ten years. He looks the best young goalkeeping prospect to emerge in the game since a certain Iker Casillas at Real Madrid, and that is not faint praise.
2. Martin Kelly (Liverpool) – It always baffled me as to why the underperforming Paul Konchesky got into the Liverpool side ahead of Kelly. The young defender impressed in Europe last season but it took Kenny Dalglish’s appointment to give him the run in the team and he has taken it superbly. May eventually return to a centre half position later in his career but for now, he’s an accomplished rightback.
3. Jack Robinson (Liverpool) – Liverpool’s youngest ever player and held in high regard at Anfield, the 17 year old left back is still very much a youth/reserve player but has seen his status rise since his debut at the end of last season as a 16 year old. Quick, pacy and already a member of the England U19 team, a bright future beckons.
4. Jack Rodwell (Everton) – The Toffeemen may not be able to hang on to Rodwell for too much longer – Manchester United are reportedly waiting in the wings with a £20m+ bid in the summer, but Rodwell will be a huge player for club and country over the next ten years. An outstanding naturally gifted player blessed with intelligence and pace. An England captain in the making for certain and amazingly, he is still only 19 years of age.
5. Phil Jones (Blackburn Rovers) – No wonder Chelsea are interested in Jones, the young Rovers defender currently sidelined with injury. Despite that he has already been awarded a long term deal with Rovers and become a key member of the defence at Ewood Park. Hugely talented and looks another set for a glittering career at the top.
6. Josh McEachran (Chelsea) – Chelsea staff are so impressed with this youngster that they have christened him the ‘new Liam Brady’, that is a very tough ask on the young midfielder, but the signs are with his poise and elegance on the ball, his vision and ability to skip away from players, that he has all the hallmarks of being a world class prospect over the next decade or so.
7. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Southampton) – He’s already being coveted by all the big clubs and linked with a £10m move from St Mary’s to either Arsenal or Manchester United, but Southampton’s flying young midfielder will surely follow in the footsteps of Theo Walcott and move to the Premier League and eventually into the England team. He’s a real talent.
8. Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) – The 19 year old Arsenal man is rated to be the next great hope for England according to Fabio Capello and so the next ten years should see his emergence as a truly world class midfielder – if he has not already done that with his performances at the heart of midfield for Arsenal this season. A truly fantastic prospect and yet another Gunner.
9. Connor Wickham (Ipswich Town) – The 6ft 3inch striker is versatile to play wide or centrally, has great technique and scores goals. Perhaps not yet in the abundance he should, given his ability, but the potential to become one of the best all round centre forwards in the English game is clearly there. This is why some of English football’s biggest clubs are being linked with a £16m move for the striker, who is still only 17 years of age and yet has played 51 league games for Ipswich already, scoring 9 goals into the bargain.
10. Jonjo Shelvey (Liverpool) – The former Charlton striker has been earmarked as being the eventual replacement for Liverpool midfield legend Steven Gerrard when he finally hangs up his boots. A very talented attacking midfielder who should hone his skills at Anfield and develop nicely into the player Charlton fans first witnessed as a 16 year old.
11. Dale Jennings (Tranmere Rovers) – Ok, so I may be a bit biased and a bit hopeful here, but Jennings is certainly the equal of Oxlade-Chamberlain based on performances this season for Rovers. He may have hit a bit of a wall in recent games, and certainly needs to improve his all round game, but the potential, skills and pace is there for him to become a much bigger star in the game.
So there’s my Premier League XI for 2021, and the one thing that has struck me, is the lack of Manchester United players on that list (though I could have included Ravel Morrison, Scott Wootton, Paul Pogba or a couple of others, but they have not quite broken into the first team yet) and that for United fans may be a worry. Or it may not.
Is there anyone on this list who you think should be in the team?