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Ranked! The 10 best players aged 21 or under in the Championship

Ryan Sessegnon
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5. David Brooks (Sheffield United, 20)

Big clubs love nothing more than a talent who can be moulded into anything you want him to be, and Brooks feeds the imagination better than most.

The Warrington-born midfielder makes an impact all over the pitch, but his quality when venturing into the penalty box has led to reports that Tottenham see him as a potential long-term replacement for Harry Kane. Brooks was voted player of the tournament at the U20 Toulon tournament last summer, having switched allegiances from England to Wales.

4. Diogo Jota (Wolves, 21)

Performances have dipped from the Portuguese wideman in recent weeks - albeit long after pundits predicted that the gruelling Championship season would catch up with him - but it's a mark of his quality that Jota continues to make decisive contributions in the final third.

With 17 goals and five assists to his name, Wolves have already confirmed that his loan move from Atletico Madrid will be made permanent in the summer.

3. James Maddison (Norwich, 21)

It's one thing showing regular glimpses of your potential at 21 but actually taking charge of games, week after week, and being the fulcrum of a team is something else.

Maddison might not be ready to do likewise in the Premier League just yet, but the trajectory of his career and his adaptation skills would suggest he's close to doing so. For now, he might be wise to stick with the Canaries and make the most of the license he's granted. 

2. Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham, 17)

We're all guilty of getting ahead of ourselves with Sessegnon, because it doesn't take the wildest imagination to work out that he's the real deal – close enough to the finished article already at 17. Everything about him screams Premier League.

Comfortable at left-back or left-wing, his scarcity as a commodity only adds to his value. Sessegnon is delightfully cavalier, and comparisons come from different generations; Ryan Giggs and Gareth Bale are the only names that spring to mind. And what comparisons. 

1. Ruben Neves (Wolves, 21)

It's awards season, and the comparisons between Sessegnon and Neves have been raging – the outcome of which mostly boils down to playing styles and personal preference. It's the Championship's answer to Ronaldo or Messi.

Neves gets the vote here, though, purely on the grounds of control, culture and the extra variety he has to his game. Liverpool have been linked, and if you plonked him in that defensive midfield role at Anfield tomorrow, he improves them. Simple as that.

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