Another Premier League season is here, and with it, a new crop of young players ready to make their mark at the highest level. Last year, Dele Alli made himself a household name with some fantastic performances and goals in the heart of Tottenham’s midfield, winning PFA Young Player of the Year. It’s tough to pick from such an incredibly talented group of youngsters throughout the Premier League, but we’ve selected a starting XI of players under the age of 23 poised to break through in a big way this year.
Goalkeeper - Jack Butland
At 23 years of age, Jack Butland is Stoke’s undisputed No. 1, and looks to be the future in goal for England. Butland fractured his ankle in a friendly against Germany in April, and without him in goal, Stoke didn't manage to win a single game. This year, coming off his injury, he'll step back into his spot between the sticks for his club team, and look to steal the England No. 1 jersey away from Joe Hart.
Getty ImagesCatherine Ivill - AMA
Right back - Hector Bellerin
At 21 years of age, Hector Bellerin is the undisputed starter at right back for Arsenal, and even earned himself a call-up to Spain's national team this summer. Blessed with absurd pace and the quality going forward you would expect from an Arsenal right back, Bellerin is far and away the best young right back in the Premier League. To be honest, he's probably the best right back in the league, period.
Arsenal FC via Getty ImagesDavid Price
Center-back - John Stones
John Stones had a tough year for Everton, as his team struggled overall, and manager Roberto Martinez got the sack before season's end. He's shown enough promise to earn a big-money transfer to Manchester City though, and there's no better (healthy) young center-back in the league right now. Sorry, Kurt Zouma. When you get fit again, we'll talk.
Getty ImagesLaurence Griffiths
Center-back - Eric Bailly
Aside from Kurt Zouma and West Ham's Reece Oxford, there aren't a ton of quality young center-backs in the Premier League. That's a big reason Jose Mourinho reached outside of England to sign 22-year-old Eric Bailly. The former Villarreal defender is an imposing figure in defense, physically gifted, and an excellent reader of the game. A bedding-in period is to be expected for the Ivorian, but he looks set for a bright future in Manchester.
Man Utd via Getty ImagesMatthew Peters
Left back - Brendan Galloway
Brendan Galloway stepped in for the injured Leighton Baines last season, deputizing brilliantly for the experienced England international on the left side of defense. Capable of playing as a fullback or as a center-back, the lanky 20-year-old's pace, reading of the game and consistent performances see him sneak in ahead of Luke Shaw, who has yet to truly show his full ability regularly in a Manchester United shirt.
Getty ImagesMichael Regan
Center midfield - Paul Pogba
There's not really much to say here. Paul Pogba is one of the world's best midfielders, period. At 23 years old, he walks into this Premier League Young XI with not even a backwards glance.
Man Utd via Getty ImagesManchester United
Center midfield - Dele Alli
The PFA Young Player of the Year, Dele Alli broke out in a big way for Tottenham last season. At only 20 years of age, Alli's already a starter for England, and the future looks bright for the dynamic center mid. His midfield partner Eric Dier would be in this XI too, but a little fella named Paul Pogba happened to sign for Manchester United. It's a cold world.
Getty ImagesJulian Finney
Winger - Nathan Redmond
Nathan Redmond enjoyed a breakout year for Norwich, despite his team's struggles, and he deservedly earned a move to Southampton after Norwich's relegation. Capable of operating on both wings or through the center, the 22-year-old Redmond's pace, directness and ability on the ball make him a constant danger every time he gets the ball. Despite a poor season, Raheem Sterling deserves a mention, and Jordan Ibe looks set for a big season as well, but Redmond gets the nod this time.
Getty ImagesStephen Pond
Winger - Leroy Sane
Leroy Sane was a star for Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga, he looks set to be a Germany star for many years to come, and now he's touched down in the Premier League, ready to dazzle in a Manchester City shirt. Pace, trickery, and a goal threat? He's got it all. This kid's going to be fun to watch this year.
Bongarts/Getty ImagesAlexander Hassenstein
Striker - Harry Kane
Harry Kane needs no introduction. It's hard to believe Tottenham's main man is only 23 years old, but the former Arsenal youth player is an incredible talent who has the remarkable ability to score from just about anywhere on the pitch. Give him the ball and watch what he does with it.
Getty ImagesClive Rose
Striker - Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku's been around for so long, it's hard to believe the powerful hitman is still just barely 23 years old. Like fellow Evertonian John Stones, Lukaku struggled at times this season, and he had a less than stellar Euro 2016 campaign as well. He still managed to score 25 goals for Everton, and it looks like he may be moving onto a bigger club in the near future. Either way, he's one of the best attackers in England, and definitely deserves his spot alongside Harry Kane.