The 2021 summer transfer window has closed for Premier League clubs.
In what will likely go down as one of the craziest few months of spending in the division’s history, supporters can finally lean back, breathe a sigh of relief and assess how things have panned out.
Besides, it’s hard to make surefire Premier League predictions until the transfer window has closed because it allows you to get a secure idea of the players and squads that will be on display.
2021/22 Premier League
However, here at GIVEMESPORT, we wanted to take a slightly unconventional way of looking at the 2021/22 Premier League cohort by paying closer attention to the age of players.
Instead of simply revealing who we consider to be the best players in the Premier League, we have called upon Transfermarkt data to name our top dog for every age between 17 and 38 years old.
While some age categories make for a straightforward selection, there is so much talent on other rungs that we’ve reluctantly been forced to leave out some of the Premier League’s top performers.
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Best Premier League player by age
It really does make for an interesting exercise, so be sure to check out our results from starlets to statesmen – informed by the opinion of your humble writer – down below:
17 years old: Thierry Small
According to Transfermarkt, there is only one Premier League player this season below the legal drinking age in the UK, so Southampton’s youthful left-back wins this category by default.
18 years old: Harvey Elliott
While Valentino Livramento certainly deserves a shoutout, the Premier League’s youngest ever player swaggers to victory here and he looks set to play a key role for Jurgen Klopp this season.
19 years old: Mason Greenwood
This is where things start to get tricky because Bukayo Saka can count himself as unlucky to be left out, but we had to give Greenwood the nod as a generational talent with 32 goals for United already.
20 years old: Wesley Fofana
Yeh, we’re as surprised as you, but make no mistake that Fofana has been a dominant presence in the Leicester City defence and will be badly missed by the Foxes after his serious leg injury.
Callum Hudson-Odoi and Gabriel Martinelli were firmly in contention and could go on to become better players than Fofana, but they can’t match the Frenchman’s first-team influence just yet.
21 years old: Jadon Sancho
Something feels so wrong about leaving Phil Foden, Reece James, Ferran Torres and Pedro Neto off our list, but in terms of output over potential in their careers so far, Sancho gets the nod for us.
While, yes, I’ll happily admit that Foden has a much higher ceiling than his Manchester rival, it’s hard to look past the fact that Sancho amassed more than 100 goal contributions for Borussia Dortmund.
22 years old: Trent Alexander-Arnold
Yet another brutally difficult age category with Mason Mount, Declan Rice, Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Ibrahima Konate all missing out.
However, when you recall that Alexander-Arnold has been nominated for the Ballon d’Or, won the Champions League and Premier League and became one of the best in the world in his positions, you start to see why he deserves the victory.
23 years old: Marcus Rashford
It’s so easy to forget how young Rashford still is because his impeccable record of 88 goals and 271 appearances for the Red Devils screams of experience beyond his years. A comfortable victory, this.
24 years old: Ruben Dias
Shoutout to the forever-underrated Wilfred Ndidi, but Dias was the best defender in the world last season – bagging the Premier League title for his efforts – so this makes for another simple pick.
25 years old: Jack Grealish
With Timo Werner and Anthony Martial on the slide, there’s only really Rodri who can lay down a challenge to Grealish, but we’re backing the Premier League’s most expensive signing by a hair.
26 years old: Bruno Fernandes
Similarly straightforward, this, because although Raheem Sterling, Luke Shaw and Saul Niguez are all fabulous players, Fernandes has been tearing the Premier League to shreds for 18 months now.
27 years old: Fabinho
Back to another tricky age category now and we’re once again leaning on a Liverpool player that we consider to be amongst the very best in the world for their position – and no, we don’t mean Andrew Robertson.
The Scot came incredibly close to taking the slot alongside Aymeric Laporte and Joao Cancelo, but Fabinho has just been so darn reliable for Liverpool through thick and thin over the last few years.
28 years old: Harry Kane
To say this section is monumentally difficult would be the mother of all understatements because we’ve been forced to axe Raphael Varane, Romelu Lukaku, Alisson Becker and Paul Pogba.
However, for my money, Kane is the most complete number nine in the world and with three Premier League Golden Boots to his name, arguably the best player in English football right now.
29 years old: Mohamed Salah
Speaking of Golden Boots, we just can’t help turning to Liverpool’s goalscorer in chief when it comes to the battle of the wingers with Heung-min Son and Sadio Mane proving the other two contenders.
With Salah having outscored his Liverpool teammate and Tottenham rival in every single Premier League season since his return, we simply had to give the Egyptian our final slot of the twenties.
30 years old: Kevin De Bruyne
Holy moly. This is the ‘Big Daddy’ of the age categories because leaving out Virgil van Dijk and N’Golo Kante honestly feels like a crime against football for which I will be forever sorry.
That being said, De Bruyne is my pick for the best player in England’s top-flight and has back-to-back Player of the Season awards, as well as three Premier League winners’ medals, to show for it.
31 years old: Kyle Walker
Michail Antonio is on fire right now and Jordan Henderson is a Liverpool legend, but Walker has reminded the world why he is one of football’s leading full-backs with his electric displays in 2021.
32 years old: Cesar Azpilicueta
With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang having gone off the boil since ‘signing da ting’, this is something of a procession for the Chelsea hero who captained them to Champions League glory last season.
33 years old: Jonny Evans
Clearly this was something of an off-year for Premier League talent to be born because there’s not too much in the way of competition here with Juan Mata, Adam Lallana and Angel Ogbonna on the fringes.
However, this ultimately came down to who out Evans and Nemanja Matic we thought had held off father time more successfully and based on recent evidence, it has to be the Leicester defender.
34 years old: Kasper Schmeichel
Call me a lunatic for dropping Hugo Lloris, Jamie Vardy and Edinson Cavani if you like, but zoom out for a second and consider whether any of them are higher rated in their respective position than Schmeichel right now.
For me, the answer is a firm ‘no’ because the Dane has been immaculate all year long, dropping masterclasses in the FA Cup final and Euro 2020 semi-finals to put the cherry on the cake.
35 years old: James Milner
When we say this is a formality, we mean that it’s a formality because Milner literally only has Scott Carson, Rob Elliot, David Martin and Tom Heaton for competition. Enough said.
36 years old: Cristiano Ronaldo
Fair play to Thiago Silva and Fernandinho for ensuring there’s a glimmer of competition here, but there’s only a handful of players at any age who could compete with the greatest goalscorer in the history of the sport.
37 years old: Michael McGovern
Per Transfermarkt, there are only two 37-year-old players in the Premier League and we’re going for McGovern over Andy Lonergan by way of having played far more first-team football recently.
38 years old: Ben Foster
And last but not least, we’re left with a battle between Foster and Lee Grant. We’re plumping for the Watford goalkeeper, though; essentially on the carryover credit of his underrated 2019/20 campaign.
Who would you have chosen?
And breathe. No doubt we’ve angered half of the division’s fans with the brutal decisions that we were forced to take, but there is simply so much quality in the Premier League.
If you’re of the belief that Saka is better than Greenwood, Van Dijk tops De Bruyne and Cavani stumps Schmeichel, then fair play to you because so many of these calls were tough to make.
However, at the end of the day, it just goes to show that football is a game of opinions and we’d be fascinated to learn about your selections, so be sure to let us known across our social channels.