Having recently analysed the top 10 young centre-backs according to our WhoScored rating system, here we look at their teammates in the back four, compiling a leaderboard of the best full-backs of the age of 21 or under.
To make the grade each player must have appeared at least 5 times from kick-off this season and the player ratings were only taken from the games that they have started thus far.
The search was cast over all of Europe's top 5 leagues, with the Bundesliga well represented with 4 players making the top 10, while there are two players from the Premier League and Ligue 1 respectively and just one apiece from Serie A and La Liga.
10. Andre Wisdom (Liverpool) - 19 years old
Starting WhoScored Rating: 6.98
Right-back Andre Wisdom has made the step up to senior football under Brendan Rodgers with real maturity and has rarely looked out of place having come through the ranks primarily playing as a centre-half. A more imposing figure than a number of the fullbacks Liverpool have produced in recent years, the teenager has averaged an impressive 2.7 tackles per game in his 7 league starts and is very calm in possession, completing an excellent 89.6% of his pass attempts.
9. Gotoku Sakai (Stuttgart) - 21 years old
Starting WhoScored Rating: 7.02
A mainstay in the Stuttgart side at just 21, Japanese international Gotoku Sakai has started 14 times in the league, as well as a further 5 in the Europa League. He has averaged 2.8 tackles per game in the Bundesliga, with an even more impressive 3.6 interceptions per match thus far. He also gets forward well to deliver 1.2 accurate crosses per game but at the moment he is beaten too often, having been dribbled past 1.9 times a match.
8. Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg) - 20 years old
Starting WhoScored Rating: 7.21
Signing for Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg at the beginning of the year, Swiss international Rodriguez was vying for a place as the starting left-back in the side as a teenager. Now 20, he has started 8 games this season, picking up a rating of 7.21 in those matches. Solid across the board defensively, he excels in the air, winning 2.2 duels per game and has proven hard to beat, having been dribbled past just 0.7 times a match on average.
7. Hugo Mallo (Celta Vigo) - 21 years old
Starting WhoScored Rating: 7.21
Young Spaniard Hugo Mallo played a big part in Celta Vigo's promotion campaign last season, starting 34 games, and he has continued to cement his place as the side's first choice right-back, with 14 starts since the move up to La Liga. Undoubtedly Mallo's strongest attribute, the 21 year old has won more tackles than any other player in La Liga, with 71 (5.1 per game) and is a brave defender, blocking 1.1 crosses per game and averaging 4.9 clearances.
6. Loris Nery (Valenciennes) - 21 years old
Starting WhoScored Rating: 7.25
A summer signing from Saint Etienne, the performances of Loris Nery this season for Valenciennes make you wonder why Les Verts let him leave. The 21 year old slotted straight into Daniel Sanchez's side and has started 11 games this season, proving his versatility to feature at both right and left-back. Very effective in the air, winning 2 aerial duels per game, Nery does the dirty stuff well, with 7.1 clearances per game a real stand out statistic for the young Frenchman.
5. Luke Shaw (Southampton) - 17 years old
Starting WhoScored Rating: 7.26
Moving into the top 5, and the youngest of our full-backs here, Southampton's Luke Shaw, had already attracted plenty of interest from the likes Manchester United and Chelsea prior to the Saints’ promotion to the Premier League. Having gained his place in the first team this season at the expense of Danny Fox, Shaw has excelled in terms of cross blocks, with 1.4 per game, and has been dribbled past just 0.3 times a match - an exceptionally low average for a full-back.
4. Serge Aurier (Toulouse) - 19 years old
Starting WhoScored Rating: 7.33
Though Ivorian defender Serge Aurier is still a teenager, you wouldn't think it to look at him. A mainstay at right-back for Toulouse this season with 12 starts to his name, Aurier's stocky frame is an intimidating one, and his strength is a key asset. An average of 4 tackles per game this season is a superb figure, while he is great in the air for a player of his height, winning 2.1 duels per game. In ana attacking sense he can also be a handful, delivering 1.2 accurate crosses a match on average.
3. David Alaba (Bayern Munich) - 20 years old
Starting WhoScored Rating:7.41
Missing the start of the season through injury, Alaba has proven to be more than just a fringe player since his return, starting 8 Bundesliga games thus far for the German front-runners. Capable of playing in a number of positions, the Austrian has been deployed at left-back for much of his campaign thus far. He has solid figures across the board but his possession play is most eye-catching, completing 89.4% of his passes in the league as well as scoring and assisting a goal apiece.
2. Daniel Carvajal (Bayer Leverkusen) - 20 years old
Starting WhoScored Rating: 7.54
Recently featuring in a Bundesliga focus on the top youngsters in Germany at WhoScored, it is no surprise to see Spanish right-back Daniel Carvajal rank highly here. Cementing his place in the defence in Hyypia's high-flying Lverkusen side immediately after a summer move from Real Madrid's Castilla, Carvajal already has four assists and a goal to his name in 14 league starts. He shines in terms of interceptions (3.8) and tackles (3.5) per game defensively but at just 5'8" he struggles in the air at times.
1. Mattia De Sciglio (AC Milan) - 20 years old
Starting WhoScored Rating: 7.57
Edging out Carvajal to rank as the top rated young full-back in Europe thus far, AC Milan youth graduate De Sciglio has been a bright light in a dull period for the club at the start of the season. Playing on either flank the young Italian has started 10 Serie A games thus far and has averaged 3.6 tackles and won 2 aerial duels per game in a defensive sense, as well as impressing going forward with an average of 1.9 accurate crosses a match and 2 assists to his name.