Spanish paper AS has publicised the World’s best U21 XI in accordance with football magazine Teen’s Digest.
The goalkeeper voted the World’s U21 number one is Chelsea loanee Thibaut Courtois. The on-loan Atletico Madrid star has continued his fine from in Spain this year, helping the Madrid-based side to 11 clean sheets in 23 league appearances starts – La Liga’s best.
Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho has commented on the Belgian’s future in recent months, and the Portuguese boss is adamant his Belgian shot stopper will return to Stamford Bridge this summer. Yet, it remains to be seen whether another Chelsea loanee who made the list has a future in London.
Everton’s on-loan striker Roman Lukaku was chosen to lead the line, as a result of some outstanding performances for the Toffees this campaign. The powerful striker has been a leading figure in Everton’s assault on the top four, scoring nine goals and assisting a further five in just 18 appearances.
Manchester United’s inclusion is utility man Phil Jones who gets the nod at centre back. The 21-year-old has played in numerous positions for David Moyes, stepping into a central midfield role when Michael Carrick was out through injury. Alongside Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane, it’s a solid-looking defensive partnership.
Chelsea and Manchester United linked left-back Luke Shaw makes a deserved appearance after a fine debut season for the Saints. The 18-year-old has been a constant threat down Southampton’s left flank, with a recent display against Arsenal where he notched up 11 crosses – with an assist – showing his grand potential.
Arsenal unfortunately didn’t have any stars that made the team, however German international target Julian Draxler makes the list in an attacking midfield position. The 20-year-old has a reported €45.5 m release clause in his contract, but it was an amount deemed too much for Arsenal to gamble during the January transfer window.
The Schalke player – who has completed 72 dribbles in just 14 Bundesliga starts - has been linked with the Gunners for some time, and Schalke’s coach Jens Keller has recently declared that he is unable to stop his youngster leaving this summer.
Here is the full World’s best U21 starting XI:
GK – Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid)
RB – Daniel Carvajal (Real Madrid)
LB – Luke Shaw (Southampton)
CB – Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)
CB – Phil Jones (Manchester United)
CM – Paul Pogba (Juventus)
CM – Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain)
LW – Neymar Jr (Barcelona)
AM – Isco (Real Madrid)
RW – Julian Draxler (Schalke 04)
ST – Romelu Lukaku (Everton)