Young Premier League XI - Part One
We have started our young Premier League XI project. Each week, we will nominate four players in each position. This will then be open to a Twitter vote to determine the winner and a spot in our XI.
By young - we have defined this as 23 or below. Some players will miss out despite having potential to grow, and there will be some players who are established that will be runaway winners. But this attempts to make the selection as objective as possible. Of the four nominees it then comes down to a Twitter vote to decide the winner.
The goalkeeper and right back for the side have been chosen; here is the story so far:
Goalkeeper - Jordan Pickford
In truth there were only two serious contenders here. Lorius Karius has had his fair share of criticism for his start at Liverpool, and Angus Gunn of Man City does not have enough exposure to have any chance of winning. Our runner up, Jack Butland was sensational last year at Stoke but his ankle injury means that he has not played a game this season, which probably cost his chance of winning.
Jordan Pickford has been one of the few bright spots in a disappointing season for Sunderland, and has earned the plaudits. At just 22, he is also a regular in the England squads and I don't think it would be unreasonable to suggest he may displace Joe Hart over the next couple of years after impressive in various England youth sides since the U16s.
Right Back - Hector Bellerin
In truth, there was always going to be one winner for this position. Hector Bellerin has been excellent for Arsenal since coming into the side, replacing the solid Matheiu Debuchy who has not had a look-in. The most notable performance this season for me came in Arsenal's 3-0 victory over Chelsea.
The other options which were put up simply do not have the gametime to compete with Bellerin, despite being good prospects. 19-year-old Timothy Fosu-Mensah is highly rated at Man Utd but only has one minute of Premier League action to his name. Sam Byram, who impressed for Leeds last year has been injured for part of the season and at no point has been the regular right back at West Ham. And Trent Alexander-Arnold had made a decent start to life at Anfield, but three games is not enough to judge.