The Wonderkid Power Rankings: Brighton & Arsenal stars make the top ten but can anyone beat Jude Bellingham?

Ranking the ten best young players in the world right now - can Arsenal, Brighton and Barcelona stars unseat Jude Bellingham?

Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Welcome back to 3 Added Minutes’ weekly Wonderkid Power Rankings, rating the best talents under the age of 21 from around the globe based not just on their natural ability but also their form at the very highest level.

Several young superstars have been on stellar form of late, so can anyone finally unseat Jude Bellingham after his unbroken run of number ones so far this season? Don’t be silly. But while Real Madrid’s new hero continues to ride the crest of a wave, plenty of brilliant and depressingly young players are still snapping at his heels, and the have been quite a few hugely impressive performances from the world’s footballing youth to tell you about. But let’s start, as we must, at the brand new Bernabeu…

1. Jude Bellingham – Real Madrid (non-mover)

Can Jude Bellingham actually get any better? Will he ever stop scoring? Is any player, anywhere, of any age, as important to their team as Bellingham is to Real Madrid right now? Which, on the face of it, is an absurd question to ask of a 20-year-old who’s only just made his fourth league appearance for his new club – but as he scored the late, late winner that Real needed to give their newly-refurbished home the grand opening it deserved, it seemed like a perfectly fair question regardless.

Jude Bellingham’s fifth goal in four games gave Real Madrid a late win over Getafe this weekend.Jude Bellingham’s fifth goal in four games gave Real Madrid a late win over Getafe this weekend.
Jude Bellingham’s fifth goal in four games gave Real Madrid a late win over Getafe this weekend.

Bellingham’s supreme confidence and self-control, his knack of scoring goals at exactly the moment they’re needed most and his almost flawless all-round game have made him an instant folk hero at a club that has a whole back catalogue of legends to draw upon. He’s been magnificent, and the Madridistas adore him already. What a player England have.

2. Vitor Roque – Athletico Paranaense (⬆️ from 3)

The good news for any jealous Barcelona fans is that they only have to wait another nine months to get a pretty special young player of their own – not that there’s a particular shortage of extraordinary young talent in Catalonia, mind you. Vitor Roque scored yet again to maintain his remarkable recent form, this time in a 1-1 draw against Atlético Mineiro.

This was an uncomplicated goal, a simple combination of lightning acceleration and sharp movement to burst free of the defence, a good through ball and, after his initial effort was smothered by the goalkeeper, the persistence and presence of mind to slot home the rebound. A classical number nine, blessed by all the traits that possessed by quite a few great Brazilians to have occupied that role in the past.

3. Xavi Simons – RB Leipzig (⬆️ from 5)

The prodigal Dutchman has started life at his fourth club in prodigious fashion, scoring the first goal in a superb 3-0 win over Union Berlin at the weekend – and it was a humdinger as well, a first-time curling cracker which smashed into the net off the inside of the post.

And the assist he picked up for Leipzig’s second wasn’t too shabby either – a superbly-weighted through-ball which split the Union defence and played Benjamin Šeško in for his first goal of the evening (more on which later…). He’s continued where he left off after leaving PSV Eindhoven and already looks like one of the most dangerous players in the Bundesliga.

4. Florian Wirtz – Bayer Leverkusen (non-mover)

Speaking of technically gifted and hugely productive players plying their trade in Germany, Florian Wirtz was back in the goal contributions column with an assist in Leverkusen’s 5-1 victory over the unfortunate SV Darmstadt 98.

It was Wirtz’s connection with Boniface which did the business again this week, a neat through ball picking the Nigerian striker out for their team’s third of the afternoon – and while that was the only contribution from Wirtz in terms of goals, his quick passing and effortless control made life endlessly easy for the home side in a one-sided rout.

5. Bukayo Saka – Arsenal (⬇️ from 2)

Sunday saw Arsenal pick up a big win over Manchester United, but it wasn’t the best day at the office for Saka, who was becalmed by his standards and topped off a comparatively anonymous performance by missing a gilt-edged chance when he fired straight at André Onana with the goal at his mercy.

Still, even the best and brightest have bad days, and his miss wasn’t quite as embarrassing as Kai Havertz’s skewed effort, so there’s that. Given how good his last few games for England have been, he’ll probably be back to his best before you can say “Three Lions”.

6. Gavi – Barcelona (⬆️ from 9)

No goals or assists for Gavi this weekend in the 2-1 win over Osasuna, but perhaps the first time a very talented young man has put two really high-calibre performances in a row together for quite a while.

Gavi was heavily involved throughout, working overtime and using the ball much more efficiently and effectively that he did at times last season, with a 95% completion rate underlining just how much smarter and sharper his passing game seems to have become.

7. Evan Ferguson – Brighton & Hove Albion (re-entry)

An extraordinary performance from the young Irishman saw him net a quite brilliant hat-trick against Newcastle United, giving what had been one of the Premier League’s most reliable defences all sorts of problems and burying his chances when they came.

It was his second that was the best of the bunch, a precise long-range finish which left Nick Pope helpless – and provided proof that Ferguson should probably start a few more games than he has so far. He now has 10 goals in 24 appearances for Brighton, and given that most of that gametime came from the bench it has to be seen as a pretty impressive scoring record already.

8. Mathys Tel – Bayern Munich (new entry)

Tel is a massive talent who has been a regular contributor from the bench in recent months, and he now has two goals in just 34 minutes of playing time for Thomas Tuchel’s side after netting the winner against Borussia Mönchengladbach this weekend.

It was a straightforward header from a corner for the matchwinner on this occasion but Tel has a whole box of tricks at his disposal and lovely technique, and should the 18-year-old Frenchman is making a pretty strong case to get more minutes under his belt very soon.

9. Lamine Yamal – Barcelona (⬇️ from 8)

After announcing himself as La Masia’s latest genuine superstar with a scintillating display against Villarreal last weekend, Yamal was rather less flashy this weekend but not much less effective, using the ball well and offering a fair number of headaches up to the Osasuna defence.

Lamine Yamal has been called up to the Spain squad at just 16 years of age.Lamine Yamal has been called up to the Spain squad at just 16 years of age.
Lamine Yamal has been called up to the Spain squad at just 16 years of age.

No goals or assists this time around, but another remarkably mature and composed display from a 16-year-old who backs up his talent with an unflappable attitude - and he will become the youngest player ever to represent the Spanish men’s team if he gets onto the pitch against Georgia or Cyprus this week.

10. Benjamin Šeško – RB Leipzig (new entry)

The Slovenian Football Manager stalwart made his biggest move up the ladder towards stardom this summer by joining Leipzig from fellow Red Bull club Salzburg, and hit his first two goals for his new club on just his second appearance.

The first was wonderful, a composed and curled finish deftly dropped into the top corner after recovering well from pressure, and the second was a header lifted over the goalkeeper following a stunning one-two with Dani Olmo that came straight off a Rio beach. Šeško had only been on the pitch for 12 minutes by the time he scored the second. More than simply an exciting prospect in the digital world.