Only Two Premier League Players Make UEFA’s Top 50 Breakout Stars List For 2021
UEFA have released their top 50 "ones to watch" in Europe for 2021 - and the list includes just two Premier League players.
Each of the wonderkids, aged between 16 and 21, have been picked out for their potential to become household names in the coming year.
But only two players currently in England's top flight are listed among the rising stars: Liverpool's Curtis Jones and Leicester City's Wesley Fofana.
"A local-born box-to-box midfielder - Steven Gerrard comparisons are inevitable - Jones has shown real game intelligence," says the UEFA article of Jones, while praising the 19-year-old's performances for Liverpool this season.
Leicester defender Wesley Fofana has also looked a class act this season, ever since his move from Saint-Etienne in October. Brendan Rogers has claimed that the 20-year-old can "become one of the best centre-backs in the world" in the future.
But that pair are the only Premier League footballers ranked - with Real Madrid, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan boasting two players each. So as many as the entire English top division in one club.
Phil Foden is a name that springs to mind, given the 20-year-old's sparkling form for Manchester City.
However it should be noted that UEFA are picking (relative) unknowns. So Dortmund duo Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho are absent - as is Barcelona's Ansu Fati - as they have presumably established themselves as stars already.
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This explains Foden's non-appearance. But it is worrying that England's top flight is so seriously under-represented. Particularly given the Premier League's reputation for buying in talent rather than developing it.
Curtis Jones is not the only English player on the list, however. Bayern Munich's 17-year-old attacking midfielder Jamal Musiala - currently an England Under-21 international - makes the grade.
As does 17-year-old Jude Bellingham, who left Birmingham City for Dortmund last year and has since become the youngest English player to feature in the Champions League. "Has drawn comparisons to Patrick Vieira," reckon UEFA.com - so no pressure, Jude lad.
Borussia Dortmund's 16-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko is the youngest player on the list. The striker became the youngest player and goalscorer in the history of the Bundesliga in December.
:baby: YOUNGEST EVER :raised_hands:- Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 18, 2020
Youssoufa Moukoko becomes the youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history, and what a time to do it!
A great moment for the Dortmund rising star :clap: pic.twitter.com/0RJIeUDhpR
You can see UEFA's full list of 50 predicted breakthrough stars here.
Can you name any other Premier League youngsters who should be present? Or can England's top tier simply not compete with the Bundesliga, Serie A or La Liga when it comes to creating the superstars of tomorrow?
Let us know in the comments.
All imagery: PA Images
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