Being a young player in the Premier League is tough. Being under 23 years old means that you have not had the playing time or experience to develop as much as the older players in the league.
The young players that really make an impact must possess real passion and skill to become successful in the tough English league. Here are 11 young players who have performed very well this season.
Goalkeeper: David de Gea | Manchester United
Despite a shaky start to his Manchester United career, De Gea has put in some excellent performances for United this season. Sir Alex Ferguson has praised his maturity recently and his shot stopping is some of the best in the league. He has been a key factor in Manchester United's dominance in the league and made several brilliant performances in matches such as the Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid.
Right-back: Rafael | Manchester United
Rafael has really excelled this season as a full-back. His balance between attacking and defending, his tenacious attitude and work-rate are all reasons why he has been one of the best defenders in the league this season. The Brazilian has established himself as United's regular right-back and has made over 30 appearances this season.
Centre-back: Matija Nastasic | Manchester City
Nastasic is one of the most promising young defenders in the world. The Serbian is just 20 years old and has already been capped nine times for his country. In his first season for Manchester City he has played 25 times in total and has been in inspired form. He has quickly become a fan favourite and has pushed senior defenders such as Joleon Lescott out of the starting 11.
Centre-back: Steven Caulker | Tottenham
The Englishman has featured for Tottenham this season and looked impressive. He played for Swansea City last season and his performances were of a high quality. While he has only made 17 league appearances he has looked like a player with a lot of future promise. He was even capped for England in the friendly against Sweden; his performance was assured and he even scored a debut goal.
Left-back: Luke Shaw | Southampton
Shaw is the youngest player in the team at just 17 years old. The Southampton full-back has drawn interest from big clubs such as Chelsea and Arsenal. However, he has recently signed a long-term deal with Southampton. He has played the majority of Southampton's league fixtures, with 22 appearances out of a possible 32. Since his first start in November he has looked a real talent and he has been suggested as being Ashley Cole's England replacement.
Midfielder: Jack Wilshere | Arsenal
Wilshere is crucial to Arsenal. Injury has hampered his development, with him ruled out for the entirety of the 2011/12 campaign. He has also suffered with injuries this season however he has managed to play 26 matches across all competitions. He has outstanding vision and ability to pick a pass, but his athleticism, pace and work rate are also what makes him so highly rated by many. He has amassed seven England caps and could go on to be one of the world's best.
Midfielder: Eden Hazard | Chelsea
The Chelsea winger has had a magnificent first season in the Premier League. After the public tussle over his signature everyone was hotly anticipating his debut season in Chelsea colours and he has delivered. He has hit 12 goals and 17 assists in just 54 appearances this season. His pace and technical ability are second to none and his flair, trickery and vision allow him to set up chances for his team-mates. His attitude and efforts on the pitch have established him as well respected by fans and teammates alike.
Midfielder: Oscar | Chelsea
Like Hazard, Oscar was bought with a hefty price tag on his shoulders. While he has perhaps not made the impact that Hazard has, he has shown his abilities this season.
His best performance came against Juventus in the Champions League. He marshalled Pirlo, the Italian maestro, showing his toughness that his slight frame would suggest he doesn't possess. Yet he also showed his attacking prowess, superb dribbling and passing managing to net two strikes, the second a stunning shot and this was on all his first team debut. He has managed nine goals and eight assists in 53 games which is solid for a first season.
Forward: Christian Benteke | Aston Villa
The first of our Belgium beasts, Benteke has been excellent in what has been a poor season for Aston Villa. He has shone throughout the season and was signed for just £7m from Genk. His goal ratio is better than a goal every two games, with him netting 19 goals in just 34 games. He has been called "unplayable" by Villa manager Paul Lambert and his physical presence and finishing have been world class.
He looks to possibly be moving onto a bigger club this season, hopefully it will be in the Premier League so we are graced with him terrific ability.
Forward: Romelu Lukaku | West Brom (on loan from Chelsea)
The second Belgium forward of the team, Lukaku is another powerhouse and physical presence. He has been named by many as Drogba's successor at Chelsea, but was loaned to West Brom to gain valuable first-team experience.
He has scored 13 goals in 27 appearances almost a ratio of a goal every two games, and has proved a real handful for defenders. It is important that Lukaku gets game time and that he is not sitting on the Chelsea bench, so it is possible he will get another loan move next season with Swansea looking a likely option.
Forward: Raheem Sterling | Liverpool
Sterling has burst onto the scene this year with some sparkling displays for Liverpool. He turned 18 this season, and even got his first England cap at the age of 17.
His favoured position is on the wing, but he has sometimes played on the left or right of a front three for Liverpool. He is relatively small but still holds his own in a physical dual. His speed, trickery and skill means that he is able to beat players and deliver killer final balls. He has played 24 league games for Liverpool this season, an impressive return for such a young player in his first real season for the club.
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