Ranking the top 5 European leagues based on U21 player playing time

Young footballers are valuable to any football club for a variety of reasons. With age on their side, these players can become a vital asset to a club’s future. They may become a starting option for years to come, or a club may decide to take advantage of them to improve their financial situation.

Recently, an increasing number of U-21 players are starting for their respective clubs. A study by the CIES Football Observatory shows the usage percentage of U-21 footballers in different leagues in the second half of 2021. Based on the usage of U-21 footballers, here is how each of the big five leagues fared class.


#5 Premier League – 4.2%

Foden and Greenwood are two of the brightest U-21 talents in the Premier League
Foden and Greenwood are two of the brightest U-21 talents in the Premier League

The Premier League is arguably the richest and most competitive league in the world. Finances are not lacking, with several of its clubs having wealthy owners and large incomes from broadcast rights. For this reason, several youngsters also made strong arguments for their performances.

Talented U-21 footballers are not stuck in relatively weaker squads. Even bigger names like Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal, among others, have depended on U-21 footballers for first-team duties. As a result, these young footballers have already become reliable names for their respective teams and are getting regular league minutes.

Phil Foden’s first half in numbers against Tottenham: 100% tackles won 100% attacks completed 100% crosses completed 95% passing accuracy 83% duels won All it takes is a G/A to match. 🔥 https://t.co/Vl7sYufOFy

Although several players are worth mentioning, the most notable will be Phil Foden, Mason Greenwood and Bukayo Saka. Aged 21 or younger at the time of induction, they have all performed well in the first half of the current season.


#4Liga – 4.6%

Pedri is one of the best U-21 talents around the world
Pedri is one of the best U-21 talents around the world

La Liga is home to some of the biggest rivalries between clubs and footballers. It seems like only yesterday that El Clasico would pit Lionel Messi against Cristiano Ronaldo. Things may have changed, but some incredible U-21 talent is rising through the ranks.

The effective use of young players has been made mostly by Barcelona, ​​who find themselves in a tight spot due to their finances. But the likes of Gavi, Pedri and Ansu Fati have already shown that age is not a factor. Real Madrid may not have had to rely too much on younger players, but Eduardo Camavinga has made the most of the chances he’s had so far.

There are talented names at other clubs, including Yeremy Pino, who plays for Villarreal. Ander Barrenetxea, Yunus Musah and Facundo Pellistri on loan from Manchester United are among the many U-21 talents in the league.

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Mary I. Bruner