The young stars thriving in Europe's top 5 leagues


With the onus on youngsters, there are number of players aged 21 and under in Europe’s top five leagues this season impressing. Here, using our unique rating system, we run through the best U21 team of the season so far. 


Paul Bernardoni - Nimes (6.94 rating) 


Nimes have made a solid start to the Ligue 1 season following their promotion and sit three points above the relegation zone after 13 matches. Yes, there is room for improvement, but is a commendable feat. Young goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni has been key to their start having made 46 saves in France’s top tier, a return bettered only by Brice Samba (49), and has contributed to a WhoScored rating of 6.94. 


Aaron Wan-Bissaka - Crystal Palace (7.31 rating) 


A little unfortunate not to have received a England call up this month having started the season strongly, Aaron Wan-Bissaka undoubtedly has a big future ahead of him. The Crystal Palace right-back has made more successful dribbles (26) and tackles (45) than any other defender in the Premier League this season and his fine form has landed him a WhoScored rating of 7.31. 


Ibrahima Konate - RB Leipzig (7.10 rating) 


Ibrahima Konate hasn’t played a regular role for RB Leipzig this season, but he’s been a solid performer when called upon as his WhoScored rating (7.10) suggests. Returns of 1.9 tackles, 2.3 interceptions and three clearances per game are all noteworthy, while RB Leipzig’s win ratio in the Bundesliga increases from 40% to 66.7% when the 19-year-old starts. 


Dan-Axel Zagadou - Borussia Dortmund (7.50 rating) 


Remaining in the Bundesliga, Konate’s compatriot Dan-Axel Zagadou also makes the cut in this XI with a WhoScored rating of 7.50. The towering centre-back has been hugely impressive for Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund having made the joint-most interceptions (18) of teenagers in Europe’s top five leagues this season, reinforcing a statistically calculated WhoScored strength of ‘ball interception’.  


Achraf Hakimi - Borussia Dortmund (7.43 rating) 


The second Borussia Dortmund representative in this XI is on-loan full-back Achraf Hakimi. The Moroccan has thrived when fit to start having registered three assists for the German giants following his summer arrival. Those three assists have come from just six key passes, while one goal has helped Hakimi secure a WhoScored rating of 7.43 this season. 


Brais Mendez - Celta Vigo (7.31 rating) 


The young stars thriving in Europe's top 5 leagues


Brais Mendez has scored three goals and registered two assists this season, all of which have come in his last three La Liga appearances. His good form earned him a first international call up to the senior Spain squad this month having made 19 key passes this season, a return bettered only by Ousmane Dembele (21) of those aged 21 and under in La Liga this term. With the 21-year-old impressing for Celta Vigo, his WhoScored rating (7.31) is this third best for the Spanish outfit. 


Reiss Nelson - Hoffenheim (7.48 rating) 


Reiss Nelson made the ideal impact from the bench against Augsburg at the weekend. The teenager netted the decisive goal just two minutes after coming on as Hoffenheim secured a 2-1 win. The 18-year-old on-loan star has now scored six league goals in seven Bundesliga outings, with only Kylian Mbappe (11) scoring more goals of teenagers than Nelson (6) of all teenagers in Europe’s top five leagues this season, with his good form enough to land a WhoScored rating of 7.48. 


Ibrahim Sangare - Toulouse (7.44 rating) 


Partnering Nelson in the middle of the park in this XI is Toulouse youngster Ibrahim Sangare, who has performed well for the Ligue 1 side. The Ivorian is second for tackles per game (4.3) in France’s top tier to reinforce a statistically calculated WhoScored strength of ‘tackling’. He hasn’t featured since a 1-1 draw with Nice at the beginning of October, but he’s still done enough to land a WhoScored rating of 7.44 this season. 


Richarlison - Everton (7.34 rating) 


Signed for a hefty fee over the summer, Richarlison hasn’t let the big price tag affect his performances in an Everton shirt with the Brazilian scoring six goals from 10 league outings, that enough to force his way into the Brazil squad earlier this year. With additional returns of 1.7 successful dribbles and 0.8 key passes per game, it’s seen the 21-year-old land a WhoScored rating of 7.34 in the Premier League under Marco Silva. 


The young stars thriving in Europe's top 5 leagues


Kylian Mbappe - PSG (8.19 rating) 


The highest rated youngster in Europe and third highest overall in Europe’s top five leagues with an 8.19, Kylian Mbappe has been nothing short of sensational for PSG this term. No player has had a direct hand in more league goals than Mbappe (15 - 11 goals, 4 assists) this season as he continues to excel for Thomas Tuchel’s side. 


Luka Jovic - Eintracht Frankfurt (7.41 rating) 


The Serb sent shockwaves across the continent when he scored five in a 7-1 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf, Luka Jovic is performing above expectations on the Eintracht Frankfurt frontline this season having scored more goals (9) than any other Bundesliga player this term, and having made just nine league appearances, he’s already bettered last season’s league total. Three WhoScored man of the match awards is the third most in Germany’s top tier and has seen Jovic land a WhoScored rating of 7.41.

The young stars thriving in Europe's top 5 leagues