With the football season at the halfway point – or beyond – in all of Europe’s top five leagues it is time to take stock and look at those players who are performing their socks off.

The usual suspects in Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are again getting the headlines but what if we take a look at the younger generation? There are some players really making a name for themselves across Europe despite their lack of years.

With this in mind we have taken a look at those players under the age of 23 and whittled it down to a list 10 that we think are the most outstanding.

Liverpool lead the way with a total of two inclusions; more than any other club on the continent. Jurgen Klopp is clearly doing something right.

So here they are, starting at number 10:

10. Trent Alexander-Arnold

Age: 20

Club: Liverpool

Appearances this season: 22

The Liverpool right-back has become an irreplaceable player in the Reds’ line-up, despite still only being 20 years old.

His inclusion in the nominees for the Golden Boy Award was fully justified in a season that has seen the Liverpool man wow onlookers with his flying displays down the flanks at Anfield.

If Liverpool end up being the force they are threatening to be under Klopp then Alexander-Arnold will be a big part of that.

Key stat: No Liverpool player has put in more crosses per 90 minutes than Trent Alexander-Arnold this season (1.6).

9. Maxi Gomez

Age: 22

Club: Celta Vigo

Appearances this season: 19

Another fantastic player to play for Celta, Gomez is having an amazing campaign having netted nine times already.

His performances are one of the main reasons that Celta are currently above the relegation zone and if he continues to contribute as the same rate it is hard to see Celta going down.

He scored in the impressive victory over Atletico Madrid in September and also bagged an even more eye-catching brace in the 3-3 draw at Betis in November.

Key stat: No player in La Liga under the age of 23 has been directly involved in more goals this season than Maxi Gomez (12 – nine goals, three assists).

8. Joe Gomez

Age: 21

Club: Liverpool

Appearances this season: 18

Joe Gomez is one of the next generation of English defenders that has impressed Gareth Southgate despite being so young. The centre-back oozes international class and will play a massive part in Liverpool’s future success as the Reds look to create a dynasty in the next few years.

Liverpool have conceded just eight goals in games featuring Gomez in the Premier League as the 21-year-old has become a key component in Klopp’s outfit.

His ability on the ball is as impressive as his quality in reading the game, making him one of the best young players in Europe right now.

Key stat: No player has made more interceptions for Liverpool in the Premier League since the beginning of last season than Joe Gomez (48).

7. Lucas Torreira

Age: 22

Club: Arsenal

Appearances this season: 23

Another player who really carved out a name for himself on the Adriatic with Pescara, Torreira has made an even bigger impact with the Gunners since his arrival from Sampdoria.

The Uruguayan’s tenacity has finally given Arsenal the midfielder they have been crying out for and it is more than likely he will be a mainstay as Unai Emery looks to rebuild the Gunners into title contenders.

For now Arsenal will be focussed on chasing down the top four but with Torreira in the side it makes that task a hell of a lot easier.

Key stat: Lucas Torreira has won more tackles (52) than any other Arsenal player in the Premier League this season.

6. Dele Alli

Age: 22

Club: Tottenham

Appearances this season: 25

No introduction needed for this young man. The most shocking thing about Dele Alli is he is still only 22.

By his high standards this season has not been his most productive with five goals and one assist in the Premier League, but his importance to Spurs can’t be understated.

Last season he bagged nine goals and 10 assists in the top flight and he is still one of the first names on the England team-sheet. His ability to drive Spurs forward and dominate the middle of the park make him one of the top young players in Europe – as he has been for some time now.

Key stat: No player has scored more headed goals than Dele Alli (4) in the Premier League this season.

5. Luka Jovic

Age: 21

Club: Frankfurt

Appearances this season: 24

The Bundesliga’s top scorer is having the season of his life. In 22 games last season the Serbian manged to find the net eight times. He already has 13 in 16 appearances this campaign – leading the way in the division.

He became the youngest player to ever score five goals in a single Bundesliga match when he did so in Frankfurt’s 7-1 victory over Dusseldorf in October.

Whether he can keep this goal rate going for the second half of the campaign remains to be seen but the former Red Star man has certainly earned his place on this list.

Key stat: Luka Jovic has scored 13 goals in the Bundesliga this season; more than any other player in the division.

4. Marcus Rashford

Age: 21

Club: Manchester United

Appearances this season: 27

Rashford has exploded into life since Jose Mourinho left Old Trafford. Gone are the boring defensive tactics and shambolic use of square pegs in round holes.

Since the Portuguese manager was dismissed Rashford has scored five goals in six Premier League games. He had only managed three during the previous 14 beforehand.

If United had been playing a bolder style, it is scary to think just how Rashford could have thrived but under Ole Gunnar Solskjær this may end up being a season to remember for the 21-year-old.

Key stat: Marcus Rashford has made one goal contribution per 96.7 Premier League minutes this season.

3. Jadon Sancho

Age: 19

Club: Borussia Dortmund

Appearances this season: 25

What a player Jadon Sancho has turned out to be. His spell getting regular football in the Bundesliga has highlighted how English talent can flourish when given the opportunity.

The winger is a veritable assist machine and, due to the fact he is based abroad, has garnered a sense of intrigue from many fans in England who are far more accustomed to seeing Englishmen shine in the Premier League than elsewhere in Europe.

The fact that he has been so effective despite not starting a game until early October makes his impact all the more impressive.

Sancho has the world at his feet and no defender in the Bundesliga can get close to him most of the time.

Key stat: Jadon Sancho has completed more take-ons (46) than any other player in the Bundesliga this season.

2. Ousmane Dembele

Age: 21

Club: Barcelona

Appearances this season: 27

The two-footed wizard that is Dembele has been in great form for Barca hitting eight goals already in La Liga. He has 13 in all competitions and has been creating chances left, right and centre.

His ability to carry the ball with graceful ease shines through as no player under the age of 23 has completed more take-ons per 90 minutes than the Frenchman.

Key stat: Ousmane Dembélé has scored as many first-team goals for club & country with his right foot (20) as he has with his left foot (20).

1. Kylian Mbappe

Age: 20

Club: PSG

Appearances this season: 23

World Cup winner and absolute baller. Mbappe has been unbelievable this season with 17 goals in just 14 Ligue 1 appearances as the unstoppable youngster rips defences apart week in, week out.

It is hard to find a player better in any age range in Europe right now, let alone a player still only 20.

He has everything to become one of the greatest players of all time and his maturity sets him apart from those in history that have been unable to deal with the pressures of such early stardom.

With half a season still to go his numbers could be about to break all records and yet somehow no one will be surprised.

Key stat: In all competitions this season Kylian Mbappe has directly contributed to 32 goals (21 goals, 11 assists) in just 23 appearances.

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