CIES Football Observatory

n°251 - 19/02/2019


Most experienced young players: the CIES Football Observatory rankings

Issue number 251 of the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post highlights the 20 most experienced young players from 22 European competitions per year of birth. The rankings were elaborated using an exclusive methodology weighting domestic league minutes played by footballers during the last two years according to the sporting strength of employer teams.

St-Étienne’s centre back William Saliba tops the table for players born in or after 2001. He outranks another French centre back, Benoît Badiashile (Monaco), and the Spaniard Bryan Gil (Sevilla). Two English players head the rankings for players born in 2000: Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham) and Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund). Heerenveen’s talent Kik Pierie ranks third ahead of Real Madrid’s rising star Vinícius.

Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan) is clearly at the top of the 1999-born players. He outranks the Dutch prodigy Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax) and another goalkeeper: Alban Lafont (Fiorentina). World champion Kylian Mbappé (Paris St-Germain) heads the table for players born in 1998, ahead of compatriot Houssem Aouar (Olympique Lyonnais) and Liverpool’s full back Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Highest experience capital by year of birth

Period taken into account: 13/02/2017 - 13/02/2019

Editors: Raffaele Poli, Roger Besson and Loïc Ravenel