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It’s harder than ever for players to make an impact in the Premier League but a few starlets have caught the eye this season.

Chelsea’s transfer ban last summer forced manager Frank Lampard to play some of their youngsters but the likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Billy Gilmour have repaid the faith shown in them.

Mount and Abraham have been regular fixtures in the Chelsea first-team this term

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Mount and Abraham have been regular fixtures in the Chelsea first-team this term

Meanwhile, Arsenal youngsters Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have been the shining lights in a season that has had plenty of low moments.

But who are the best players under the age of 23 currently playing in the top flight?

Well, former Liverpool and Watford star John Barnes has picked his ‘Under-23 Premier League XI’ on behalf of Bonus Code Bets.

There are a few surprises in his team, with Saka and Martinelli not included.

Former Arsenal star Perry Groves raves about Gabriel Martinelli

There’s also no place in the side for Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood, 18, who has five Premier League goals this term.

But perhaps most surprising omission is Bournemouth’s 21-year-old goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale. Instead, a Liverpool starlet takes his place.

Below you can see who has made Barnes ‘Under-23 Premier League XI’ and his reasons for picking each player.



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Caoimhín Kelleher – Goalkeeper (21) – Liverpool

He’s a goalkeeper that is highly rated at Liverpool. I have seen him a few times in the academy and he has impressed me each time I have watched him.

He also is mentioned a fair bit in the Irish press which must be a good sign.

Kelleher made appearances in the Carabao Cup for Liverpool this season and was the hero when they beat Arsenal on penalties in October

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Kelleher made appearances in the Carabao Cup for Liverpool this season and was the hero when they beat Arsenal on penalties in October

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – Right-back (22) – Manchester United

Considering Manchester United have not had the best of seasons, he is a player that has stood out to me from the beginning by being so consistent.

A proper defender who enjoys a slide tackle, but also, I like that he’s good enough on the ball to come forward and be a decent attacking right back.

For me, with his defensive qualities, he is the best defensive right-back in the country.

Jamie Carragher believes Wan-Bissaka is the best one-on-one defender in the world

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Jamie Carragher believes Wan-Bissaka is the best one-on-one defender in the world

Fikayo Tomori – Centre-back (22) – Chelsea

Despite Chelsea spending a lot of money in recent years, it is good to see a young defender come through the ranks.

He is quick and strong on the ball, but also is a very good defender.

Tomori got a run in Chelsea’s first-team at the beginning of the season but has fallen out of favour lately

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Tomori got a run in Chelsea’s first-team at the beginning of the season but has fallen out of favour lately

Joe Gomez – Centre-back (22) – Liverpool

Even though he is so young, you can see what a great talent he is. It is good for him to have Van-Dijk alongside him as a steady influence.

Gomez is quick, strong in the air and good on the ball.

Gomez has been with Liverpool since 2015

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Gomez has been with Liverpool since 2015

Trent Alexander-Arnold – Left-back (21) – Liverpool

What can’t I say about this player? Someone who has shown his maturity and class since the moment he put on a Liverpool shirt.

His abilities going forward are better than some attackers in the league, his crossing and shooting skills being second to none. Trent is very quick and strong, both on and off the ball.

Alexander-Arnold has been tipped to win the Ballon d’Or by talkSPORT’s Ray Parlour

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Alexander-Arnold has been tipped to win the Ballon d’Or by talkSPORT’s Ray Parlour

Phil Foden – Centre midfield (19) – Manchester City

A player who has not started that many games but the minutes he has played this season you can see his sheer quality on the ball.

Playing for England and being named the player of the tournament in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, Foden scored twice in the final and showed how much ability he has.

Foden was given the man-of-the-match award when Man City beat Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup final

Foden was given the man-of-the-match award when Man City beat Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup final

Youri Tielemans – Centre midfield (22) – Leicester

He’s a young player but has so much experience already in his career. He was a good player when he played at Anderlecht, showing his quality on the ball and his ability to create.

You can see why Tielemans is now playing in the Premier League from his experience and what he has shown so far.

Tielemans already has 28 appearances for his native Belgium

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Tielemans already has 28 appearances for his native Belgium

Mason Mount – Centre midfield (21) – Chelsea

Coming from Derby County with Tomori and Frank Lampard, Mount has worked so hard to come back to Chelsea and start as many games as he has done this season.

It shows what a great talent he is, he has a big future for sure.

Mount has started 25 of Chelsea’s 29 Premier League matches this season

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Mount has started 25 of Chelsea’s 29 Premier League matches this season

Callum Hudson-Odoi – Right-wing (19) – Chelsea

Before his injury, he showed what great footballing ability he has. He is quick and strong on the ball and I hope he can come back stronger than before and keep working hard.

Hudson-Odoi has had a frustrating season but showed great potential last term

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Hudson-Odoi has had a frustrating season but showed great potential last term

Richarlison – Left-wing (22) – Everton

Another player who people don’t realise is as young as he is. Richarlison is Everton’s main player, who has helped them out this season in a huge way.

He is quick, strong, scores goals, and is a real handful for defenders.

Richarlison has no club honours to his name but won the Copa America with Brazil last summer

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Richarlison has no club honours to his name but won the Copa America with Brazil last summer

Tammy Abraham – Striker (22) – Chelsea

A good centre forward and someone who has done a lot better than I and many people expected.

Seeing all the goals he scored in the Championship, and to then come into the Premier League as Chelsea’s number one striker, shows what a talent he is and how hard he is working.

Abraham has 15 goals in all competitions this season

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Abraham has 15 goals in all competitions this season

Would you make any changes to Barnes’ team?

Would you make any changes to Barnes’ team?





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