Palmer leads Chelsea trio in U21 Premier League Team of the Season


As we look back on the 2023/24 Premier League campaign, we’ve put together the best rated XI of U21 players, with Burnley, Chelsea, Nottingham Forest, Everton, Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Brighton all represented. To be eligible for selection, players must have been aged 21 or under as of 31 July 2023. 


James Trafford (Burnley) - 6.65


After starring at last summer’s U21 European Championship with England, James Trafford earned a move to Burnley, where he would stay ever-present in Vincent Kompany’s starting XI until the beginning of March. Trafford’s 6.65 WhoScored rating narrowly beats out Brighton stopper Bart Verbruggen for a place in our team. 


Malo Gusto (Chelsea) - 6.74


With club captain Reece James suffering with injury throughout the course of the season, Malo Gusto was handed more minutes than perhaps he and supporters expected in his debut campaign at Stamford Bridge. The Frenchman, though, thrived along the right-flank under Mauricio Pochettino, ending the season with six league assists to his name. 


Murillo (Nottingham Forest) - 6.69


Nottingham Forest defender Murillo’s performances during the 2023/24 campaign will have alerted many of Europe’s top clubs, with the 21-year-old looking extremely assured in his first Premier League season. The Brazilian, who moved to England from Corinthians last summer, played all but six of his side’s league matches, making a total of 50 tackles, 37 interceptions and 185 clearances. 


Jarrad Branthwaite (Everton) - 6.90


Everton centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite is likely to be targeted by England’s top clubs after a mightily impressive first full Premier League campaign with the Toffees. The 21-year-old’s WhoScored rating of 6.90 ranks only behind defensive partner James Tarkowski among English defenders for the season. 


Josko Gvardiol (Manchester City) - 7.03


After flying under the radar for much of the campaign, Manchester City’s Josko Gvardiol truly came to the fore as one of the champions’ key players during the title run-in. The 22-year-old Croatia international scored four goals in the last five weeks of the season to help Pep Guardiola’s side on their way to a fourth successive Premier League title. 


Kobbie Mainoo (Manchester United) - 6.80 


Following his first Premier League start in November, Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo remained a part of Erik ten Hag’s starting XI for much of the campaign, standing out as one of their standout performers. The 19-year-old’s impressive displays were then rewarded with a first senior England call-up in March. 


Palmer leads Chelsea trio in U21 Premier League Team of the Season


Moises Caicedo (Chelsea) - 6.85 


After arriving from Brighton for a fee in excess of £100m, Moises Caicedo struggled to get going at Stamford Bridge, but looked more and more the player Chelsea fans thought they were signing last summer in the final months of the campaign. As the Blues started to find form under Mauricio Pochettino, Caicedo’s performances improved, culminating with his second highest rated display of the season on the final day, when he remarkably netted his first Chelsea goal from the halfway line. 


Cole Palmer (Chelsea) - 7.48 


Chelsea star Cole Palmer was nothing short of a revelation in his first full Premier League campaign, netting 22 goals and providing 11 assists for the Blues, despite their shortcomings elsewhere on the pitch. The 22-year-old ends the season with more direct goal involvements (33) than any other player, while he was the only player to record a perfect WhoScored 10 rating on more than one occasion. 


Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) - 7.67 


With a WhoScored rating of 7.67, Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka is both our Premier League Player of the Season and Young Player of the Season for 2023/24. For the second campaign in a row, the England international improved on his scoring tally of the season before, netting 16 times while also providing nine assists. Across the season, Saka also registered more touches inside the opposition box than any other player in the division (287). 


Joao Pedro (Brighton) - 6.93 


Owing to injury problems, ex-Watford forward Joao Pedro started only half of Brighton’s Premier League matches in his debut season on the south coast, but showed plenty of promise nonetheless. In just over 2000 minutes of action, the Brazilian scored nine goals and provided three assists, while he also netted a further 11 goals in the Europa League and FA Cup. 


Jeremy Doku (Manchester City) - 7.24 


Despite starting less than half of his side’s league matches this season, Jeremy Doku has looked yet another smart pick-up for Pep Guardiola’s rampant Manchester City. The Belgian managed three goals and eight assists in the Premier League, while his 87 successful dribbles ranked second in this XI.

Palmer leads Chelsea trio in U21 Premier League Team of the Season