Dias, Rashford, Foden: What is the Premier League's best U23 XI?

Ruben Dias - what a signing!

Ruben Dias has transformed Manchester City’s defence.

The Portuguese international was signed in the summer from Benfica for an eyebrow-raising fee of £65m.

Many thought City were once again overpaying for a centre-back to try and fix their leaky back-line, but every single Dias doubter has been silenced.

He’s been a revelation and the 23-year-old showcased his world-class ability during City’s 2-0 win against Manchester United on Wednesday evening.

Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial just couldn’t get past him and what’s scary for the Premier League’s attack-minded players is that Dias is only going to get better.

Dias & Martial in action

The Portuguese’s performance at Old Trafford, as well as the realisation of how young he is, got us thinking; what is the best U23 XI made up of current Premier League players?

Well, there’s no definitive answer to that question, but we’ve decided to offer our opinion on the matter.

Dias, of course, features in our XI of players aged 23 or under and you can view the team in its entirety below.

The Premier League’s best U23 XI

The PL's best U23 XI

Formation: 4-2-3-1

XI: Dean Henderson (Man Utd), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Ruben Dias (Man City), Kieran Tierney (Arsenal), Declan Rice (West Ham), Youri Tielemans (Leicester), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Richarlison (Everton), Marcus Rashford (Man Utd), Phil Foden (Man City).

There’s a distinct English theme to our XI, with Henderson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Rice, Mount, Foden and Rashford all making the cut.

No wonder Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions side are one of the big favourites to win Euro 2020 in the summer…

Some big names inevitably miss out, most notably Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus, Christian Pulisic, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Reece James, Ruben Neves and Bukayo Saka.

While the seven players mentioned above are all supremely talented, they’re just not quite at the level of those we’ve opted to select – in our opinion anyway.

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Alexey Smertin - Chelsea

Can you name this obscure former Premier League player?

Mount ahead of Havertz is a slightly controversial call given the latter’s record in the Bundesliga. However, Mount has established himself as one of the Premier League’s very best this season, while Havertz has looked distinctly average in a Chelsea shirt.

Saka’s omission will also raise a few questions, but we just couldn’t leave out either Foden or Richarlison, so the Arsenal winger has to make do with a place on our hypothetical bench.

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