PFA Young Player Of The Year Winners Ranked From ‘GOAT’ To ‘Crushing Failure’
Every men's PFA Young Player of the Year winner from the past 30 years has been ranked from legend to failure - and one stands out as the Premier League GOAT.
Cristiano Ronaldo was voted the best youngster in England by his fellow players back in 2006/07 - and he is undoubtedly the greatest footballer ever to lift the award. He sits atop SPORTbible's TierMaker ranking.
The Portuguese ace wet on to win Ballon d'Or and Champions League honours with Manchester United, then multiple times with Real Madrid, and is still scoring goals at age 36 for Juventus.
But not every young hot-shot succeeded. PFA winners who had good careers - but underachieved given their huge potential - include Harry Kewell, Jermaine Jenas, Robbie Fowler and Nicolas Anelka.
Liverpool hero Fowler, may be a controversial choice. But after scoring 30+ goals in three seasons aged 20, 21 and 22, Fowler flamed out: he never scored 20 goals in another season and didn't became the leading striker of his generation he could have been given his sublime skills.
Those in the 'Legend' category did achieve prolonged greatness - including Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, Gareth Bale and Ryan Giggs. Michael Owen just squeezes in as the only PFA youngster other than Ronaldo to go on to win a Ballon d'Or.
Tipped to join them as legends in the future are Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Eden Hazard. The latter may be struggling badly at Real Madrid, but consistently proved his greatness at Chelsea and with Belgium.
In 'Still Time' are Leroy Sane, Dele Alli and Trent Alexander-Arnold. Liverpool ace Alexander-Arnold already looks a world-class right-back at age 22, but it's perhaps too soon to tell exactly.
Dele Alli and Sane have both struggled since winning their awards, but are young enough where they have time to prove they've lived up to expectations.
The same probably cannot be said, unfortunately, for Jack Wilshere.
More Like ThisMore Like This
As a teenager, the 2010/11 award-winner looked as though he would be the future of Arsenal's and England's midfield for the next 15 years.
Unfortunately injuries and other issues prevented him from fulfilling anything like his true potential. At 29 years old, he finds himself in the Championship with Bournemouth, when many assumed he'd be one of Europe's leading playmakers.
SPORTbible's complete PFA Young Player of the Year ranking is below.
GOAT: Cristiano Ronaldo
Legend: Steven Gerrard, Cesc Fabregas, David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Gareth Bale, Michael Owen, Ryan Giggs
Future Legend: Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Eden Hazard
Solid: James Milner, Scott Parker, Craig Bellamy, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young
Still Time: Leroy Sane, Dele Alli, Trent Alexander-Arnold
Underachiever: Harry Kewell, Jermaine Jenas, Robbie Fowler, Nicolas Anelka, Lee Sharpe
Crushing Failure: Jack Wilshere
Do we have any players unfairly in the wrong category? Let us know in the comments.
All imagery: PA Images/TierMaker
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read