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Rio Ferdinand Names His Top Five Under 21 Premier League Players

Rio Ferdinand Names His Top Five Under 21 Premier League Players

Rio Ferdinand has named his top five under 21 Premier League players.

The Manchester United and England legend was asked to select his five favourite youngsters in the top flight as part of a Q&A on his YouTube channel.

And he immediately waxed lyrical about Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold, calling him "the best right-back in the world" and praising his technique and composure under pressure.

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Ferdinand then spoke glowingly of Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli, Manchester United's Mason Greenwood, Manchester City's Phil Foden and Chelsea's Reece James.

Here's what he had to say about each individual player, as per Metro:

Trent Alexander-Arnold:

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"He's the best right-back in the world right now, there ain't no one better. I just think he's the modern-day player. And he's in a team where they have a lot of the ball, he's in a team where they dominate teams, they're on the front foot, it suits his game perfectly.

"Liverpool having a defensive-minded right back doesn't suit the way they play, so people saying he's not great defensively, but in the team he's playing he's perfect. So it doesn't matter, he's perfect. He plays with a composure beyond his years."

Image: PA
Image: PA

Gabriel Martinelli:

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"I watched him against Bournemouth away, Jesus, the way this boy played. He is a proper player. I think he's going to be a major player in world football in years to come, 18-years-old doing what he's doing. The goal against Chelsea alone, normally your legs are gone by them, you've got no juice in the legs, he's got the composure to slot it.

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"But his awareness of the way he plays, the way he moves on the pitch, his intelligence to receive the ball, the positions he takes up, he comes inside at the right times, asks the opposing full-back questions, it's mad, he's a mature player for such a young kid."

Mason Greenwood:

"Left foot, right foot, bang, the ball hits the back of the net. That's how he moves. I've seen this kid since he was very young and I've heard people talking about him at the club since he was very young that this boy's gonna be special.

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"Every level he's played he's looked unfazed and he's stepped up easily with pure, pure ease. You can't put a price on that, that cold-hearted, calm confidence is just mad. And when he gets stronger, that little bit more cute, him and Martinelli are going to score a lot of goals in their careers."

Phil Foden:

"The way this kid glides, he's an artist as well the way he plays. I've been crying out for him to get more games. I've been frustrated, I'm sure he has. But his time will come.

"Pep seems to be absolutely committed to playing this boy at some point. Every time he does play he gives you a little glimpse. That's what I love about him. The way he plays, with his head up, analysing, taking snapshots of where people are and then making the right decision, and then exploiting that. It's poetry in motion sometimes."

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Image: PA
Image: PA

Reece James:

"This boy, I like him. The way he plays, his crossing puts teams under pressure. There's a devilment in his passing. He wants to hurt the opposing team. Becks [David Beckham] used to do it, Trent does it, when they cross a ball from out wide, they make the defender if they're not positioned right, they end up having face their own goal and put the ball out for a corner or a throw. And if it comes back into play it's a difficult ball to clear on their weak side.

"He's all-round, I think he's got so much growth in his game, he's versatile, he can play centre-half, right-back, central midfield. The kid has got it all and it looks like he's got a great temperament, which is huge. Physically, he's like a light-middleweight boxer. He's strong, quick, solid aggressive. I think Frank will find a position for him to play regularly next season."

Image: PA
Image: PA

Topics: Phil Foden, Football News, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Football, Mason Greenwood, Rio Ferdinand

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Josh Lawless

Josh is a writer who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.