Best XI: European U23 team of the season

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Football News

This team is comprised of Europe's elite youth talents. Following the PFA's age range for youth, the players are of a maximum age of 23. Chelsea have four players feature on this team, however three of them have spent at least half a season on-loan at another club. 

GK - Thibaut Courtois, 22, Atletico Madrid on loan from Chelsea 

The youngest player to win La Liga Goalkeeper of the Year last season, Thibaut Courtois is making himself known as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

Recently securing the Spanish title with Atletico Madrid and knocking his parent club, Chelsea out of the Champions League, it's no wonder that so much drama is created surrounding which club he will be with in the future. 

RB - Daniel Carvajal, 22, Real Madrid

Sent out to Bayer Leverkusen in 2012 with the option to buy back the player, Carvajal shone in the Bundesliga and Real Madrid forked out around 6.5million euros to secure the Spaniard's services.

Carvajal made 31 appearances for Real Madrid this season and he has become a stalwart in the starting XI since returning to the club in 2013. The Spaniard who has never managed an international cap will be looking to grow on his impressive season with Los Blancos and make an even bigger name of himself with plenty of years ahead. 

CB - Kurt Zouma, 19, Saint-Etienne on loan from Chelsea 

To beat out a 20-year-old playing for PSG who cost 31.5million Euros (Marquinhos), you have to be pretty special. Kurt Zouma has been absolutely key for Saint Etienne in the past few seasons. His blend of 'extreme' power and technique makes him one of the best young centre backs in world football.

Zouma was part of the France Under-20 World Cup squad that won the competition, and will be joining his new club Chelsea this summer. Chelsea known for their defensive abilities especially under Jose Mourinho was Zouma's top choice, and he has been rumoured to be looking to make his stamp and secure a place on the first-team. 

CB - Raphael Varane, 20, Real Madrid 

Possibly the player that has shown greatest growth over the past few seasons, Varane - who joined Real Madrid from Lens for £9m in 2011 - has been linked with moves to Manchester United, PSG and Chelsea. However, it seems unlikely that Real would be willing to let this young star leave.

At just the age of 20, when not injured, the French man is a starting XI player at the heart of one of if not the best club in Europe currently. Playing alongside some of the world's greatest talents Varane will continue to develop and could one day be the best defender in Europe. 

LB - David Alaba, 21, Bayern Munich 

Narrowly beating out Layvin Kurzawa and Luke Shaw who have had astonishing seasons for their respective clubs, Alaba is the only left-back who could be chosen over those two. Considered to be one of if not the best left-back in the world at just the age of 21, Alaba is a fixed member of the Bayern Munich starting XI that managed to win four trophies this season. 

CDM - Paul Pogba, 21, Juventus 

The French powerhouse is still only 21-years-old, but he’s a fixture in Juventus’s brilliant midfield alongside Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo.

Pogba is as effective going forward as he is combative at the back. He left Old Trafford as a teenager in 2012 after growing impatient for first-team football and we can all see what he was so desperate to show us all. Pogba has become essential to Juventus, and he also captained France's Under-20 team to victory in the Under 20's World Cup last summer.

Recently included in the senior team for the Brazil World Cup, Pogba is attracting the attention of clubs like Manchester United and PSG and proves a costly transfer target with his value said to be at around 50 million pounds. 

CM - Aaron Ramsey, 23, Arsenal

There are probably few surprises that the most in form young central midfielder in the English top flight this season is included in this team. The Gunners star seemed set to prove all the critics wrong with this season and did so with a string of fine displays.

Although missing a large portion of the season, Ramsey managed 10 goals and nine assists and worked hard to help his team keep 11 clean sheets. 

RAM - Raheem Sterling, 19, Liverpool

What a season this young man has had. Breaking out into the Reds starting XI Sterling looks to have secured his place as one of the first names on Brendan Rodgers's team sheet.

Sterling hit the back of the net nine times this season and also set up his team mates on seven occasions.

His blistering pace and tricky skills allows him to break though opposition defences like slicing through melted butter, and he will surely be key as Liverpool look to improve on their 2nd place finish in the Premier League next season. 

CAM - Julian Draxler 

Draxler beats international team-mate Mario Gotze to this spot merely due to the number of games they played this season.

Draxler became the Bundesliga's fourth youngest debutant in 2011, and with his superb dibbling and close control on the ball, Draxler's skill makes him a key player in the Schalke line up being able to play in any of the attacking midfield positions. 

Arsenal are so desperate to sign him, and if you watch the guy you'll know why. 

LAM - Eden Hazard, 23, Chelsea 

The PFA Young Player of the Season and Chelsea Player of the Year was in astonishing form for most of the season. At times, the Blues would almost rely soley on Hazard in the attacking third of the pitch, and Hazard surely didn't back down from the challenge.

With lightening quick pace on the ball and an eye-catching skill-set Hazard is one of the Premier League's brightest talents at just the age of 23. 

ST - Romelu Lukaku, 22, Everton on loan from Chelsea 

Since joining Chelsea, Lukaku has developed into one of the best strikers in the Premier League. Somehow both seasons he has been overlooked by his managers, however, Lukaku has proved vital to both West Brom and Everton while on loan.

The Belgian, closely compared to Chelsea legend Didier Drogba, uses his power and increasingly clever runs to rip defences in Europe's top flight apart.

The youngster also continues to develop his finishing skills which surely is something Chelsea are lacking at the moment. 

Substitutes: Marc-André ter Stegen, Marquinhos, Lavyin Kurzawa, William Carvalho, Mario Gotze, Isco, Neymar

There were of course some very hard decisions to make and some very talented youngsters missed out on a spot in this team. The likes of Isco, Layvin Kurzawa and Neymar all came extremely close to making it on this starting XI.

Not to mention talented youngsters like Philippe Coutinho, Adnan Januzaj and Oscar who didn't make the bench. This team is of course subject to opinion and we would love to see your comments below.. who would you pick? 

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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