Rice over Trent, Saliba over Enzo: The best Premier League player from every age (16-39)

Jason Soutar
Arsenal's Bukayo Saka, Manchester City's Rodri and Chelsea's Thiago Silva.
Arsenal's Bukayo Saka, Manchester City's Rodri and Chelsea's Thiago Silva.

From an Arsenal starlet at 16 years young to Everton’s third-choice goalkeeper at 39 years old, we pick the best player in the Premier League for every age.


16 – Ethan Nwaneri (Arsenal)
The Premier League’s youngest-ever player gets things kicked off. He is a superb talent and recently signed a new long-term contract at Arsenal after the Gunners successfully fought off interest from a host of clubs including Manchester City.


17 – Ben Doak (Liverpool)
Liverpool winger Doak impressed throughout pre-season and clearly has a big future in the game, which is also great news for Scotland, who lack a superstar. Newcastle United’s Lewis Miley is also brilliant and deserves a mention.


18 – Evan Ferguson (Brighton)
The standard of 18-year-olds in the Premier League is very high. Ferguson looks like he has what it takes to be a world-class striker and is destined to be one of Brighton’s next big-money sales.

Newcastle new boy Lewis Hall, Manchester City’s Rico Lewis and Liverpool midfielder Stefan Bajcetic all get honourable mentions.


19 – Julio Enciso (Brighton)
Brighton’s track record for signing young players is actually mind-blowing. How the hell do they do it? Enciso is a very exciting attacking midfielder who beats Chelsea’s Romeo Lavia as the best 19-year-old in Our League.

READ MORE: Hojlund second, Spurs trio included: Top 20 U21 players to watch in the Premier League in 23/24


20 – Levi Colwill (Chelsea)
Colwill’s trajectory suggests he will be starting for England at Euro 2024. He is a wonderful modern-day central defender with the world at his feet and beats Rasmus Hojlund to be named the best 20-year-old in the Premier League. Congratulations, Levi.


21 – Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
Moises Caicedo, Josko Gvardiol, Noni Madueke, Michael Olise and Bukayo Saka. There are a lot of very talented 21-year-olds in the Premier League but there can only be one who is the best. That man is the brilliant Bukayo Saka, who has scored 26 goals and logged 18 assists in his last 78 Premier League appearances.


22 – William Saliba (Arsenal)
This age was one of the most difficult to pick a winner but elegant central defender Saliba is our man, edging out his teammate Gabriel Martinelli and Chelsea’s Enzo Fernandez. The Frenchman is a Rolls Royce and will soon be the best in his position in the Premier League, if he isn’t already…


23 – Erling Haaland (Manchester City)
Phil Foden and Reece James are brilliant but this was never up for debate.

READ MORE: The ridiculous stats of Erling Haaland: Papiss Cisse, Benni McCarthy, Peter Odemwingie trailing


24 – Declan Rice (Arsenal)
‘With all these amazing players Arsenal must be favourites to win the league’, I hear you cry. Just wait. The Manchester City train is coming.

The most expensive British player of all time is our pick here. The price tag speaks for itself, really. Calm in possession, excellent defensively and a natural leader, Rice should be one of very few Premier League players to cost over £70m and actually be worth it.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Martin Odegaard are honourable mentions.


25 – Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle United)
This was the hardest decision to make, with Marcus Rashford and Christopher Nkunku competing with Guimaraes for the massive honour of being the best 25-year-old in the Premier League, as picked by Football365, which used to be a great site.

Rashford is obviously a bit of a goal machine these days but he just does not influence games enough outside the box and Nkunku is yet to play in the Premier League. Even with an unbelievable scoring record for RB Leipzig, it is hard to justify picking him above Bruno, who has been Newcastle’s best signing since becoming rich as f**k.

Bruno Guimaraes gives the thumbs up when arriving for a match.


26 – Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
A rock at the back, Dias is arguably the best centre-back in the country, although Saliba and Gvardiol are coming…

James Maddison and Gabriel Jesus are honourable mentions.


27 – Rodri (Manchester City)
Rodri is the best defensive midfielder in world football. He has got it all and displays it without breaking sweat on a weekly basis. Fellow 27-year-old and Manchester City man Jack Grealish didn’t get close here.


28 – Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
The Raheem Sterling of old might have given Bruno Fernandes more of a run for his money but when he was flying for Manchester City, Fernandes was also at his best for Manchester United.

Love him or hate him, the Red Devils captain is some player.


29 – Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)
Silva has agreed to sign a new contract, which is a massive boost for City. He is a dream for any manager with his incredible work rate, technical ability and tactical nous. He gets the nod ahead of Andy Robertson and John Stones.


30 – Ederson (Manchester City)
Bloody hell, City are good, aren’t they? If that wasn’t painfully obvious already.

Ederson vs. Alisson is a bit of a debate in the sport and it has entered another chapter here, as both are currently 30 years young. If you disagree with the selection of Ederson (Liverpool fans will), that is completely understandable. The City man gets tested a lot less in games but he is simply more reliable and better with the ball at his feet.


31 – Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
City don’t have a single 31-year-old in their squad and if they did they would have struggled to beat Salah here. Thankfully Kevin De Bruyne is a year older. That could have been a sweaty one.

Salah beats Tottenham captain Heung-min Son and Manchester United midfielder Casemiro.


32 – Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Back to normality with City’s winning machine taking over again. De Bruyne is the best midfielder in the league and beats Virgil van Dijk, who, for quite a while there, was top two in the Premier League alongside the Belgian playmaker.

Virgil van Dijk and Kevin De Bruyne during a match.


33 – Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
Walker is by far the best full-back in the Premier League and nobody the same age as him came close here.


34 – Ivan Perisic (Tottenham)
We are scraping the barrel at this stage. According to market value on Transfermarkt, the best 34-year-old in world football is Perisic, tied with Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus. In their list of all over-32 players, the first 34-year-old comes 44th. Madness.


35 – Willian (Fulham)
Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema are both 35. So is Willian, who is the best the Premier League has to offer.


36 – Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
Lloris can’t get on Spurs’ bench after years as their captain. It’s a bit sad, really. A not-so-honourable mention is Crystal Palace’s Vicente Guaita, who also can’t get into a matchday squad at the age of 36.


37 – James Milner (Brighton)
Bloody Brighton, eh! They just hate having players in their prime years.


38 – Thiago Silva (Chelsea)
Comfortably the best Premier League player above the age of 33, Silva is still performing at a high level for Chelsea and was arguably their best player in what was a shambolic 2022/23 campaign for the Blues.


39 – Andy Lonergan (Everton)
Lonergan is the only 39-year-old player currently employed by a Premier League club.