The Wonderkid Power Rankings: Everton & Palace starlets battle for top as Chelsea's Cole Palmer bows out

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Who will replace Cole Palmer in our weekly countdown of the best young players in the Premier League?

Welcome to our weekly Wonderkid Power Rankings – 3 Added Minutes’ weekly rundown of the ten most talented and in-form Under-21s playing in the Premier League today.

We start this week with a farewell. Since the inception of these rankings, Cole Palmer has been the dominant force. He’s spent more weeks at number one than anyone else – by quite a long way – and has been simply dazzling throughout, an endless source of brilliant goals, remarkable creativity and match-winning performances. But on Monday, he celebrated his 22nd birthday, meaning he’s now officially too old for our top ten. Thank you for everything, Cole, and enjoy your retirement from wonderkid status.

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We have a re-entry taking his place and a fair bit of movement towards the top of the ladder as a result of Palmer’s departure – but can last week’s number one, Jarrad Branthwaite, hold on to top spot? Read on to find out…

10. Illia Zabarnyi – Bournemouth (-)

It isn’t easy to hold on to your place in the top ten when you’re a centre-half and your team just lost 3-0, but the Ukrainian defender did enough to cling on despite the heavy defeat to Arsenal. Sometimes you can fairly say that they did everything they could.

Zabarnyi made three clearances and blocked three shots as he did his best to stem the tide, and his composed use of the ball was impressive once more. There really wasn’t too much more that the 21-year-old could have done in the face of an opponent that was simply too strong for his team.

9. Murillo – Nottingham Forest (re-entry)

The young Brazilian defender’s form wobbled a little through the spring, whether it was due to the pressure he came under as his performances started to get noticed and he found himself linked with clubs like Atlético Madrid or simply because the team around him was struggling to string results together.

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But he came good when he was needed most in the vital win over Sheffield United. Murillo’s stat line tells the tale – five clearances, three blocked shots, four interceptions and two tackles, one of which was as the last man. That, frankly, is an incredible amount of successful work in one game, never mind one which Nottingham Forest simply had to win to stand a chance of survival. If he can keep that up, you’d think that they’ll be just fine.

8. Tino Livramento – Newcastle United (⬆️ 1)

Livramento didn’t come out of the 4-1 win over Burnley with a completely clean record – there were a couple of mistakes, one of which could easily have led to a goal – but he still performed admirably and did a lot of good work, especially in one-on-one situations.

He also notched up four turnovers to keep Newcastle United ticking over and offered plenty of width going forward, and could even have got himself on the scoresheet with a presentable chance from around 12 yards out which was saved by Aro Murić. He’ll likely lose his place once Kieran Trippier returns to fitness, but the future of Newcastle’s right-back spot looks to be in pretty safe hands.

7. Alejandro Garnacho - Manchester United (⬇️ 2)

The Argentine winger count himself a little fortunate not to slide further than he has this week – but there weren’t too many players outside the top ten straining to get in, and Palmer’s disappearance has eased the pressure on mid-table. All of which is a long-winded way of introducing the fact that Garnacho was pretty awful against Crystal Palace on Monday night.

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In fairness, so were most of his team-mates, but that doesn’t excuse him from offering almost nothing over the course of a dismal 4-0 defeat. He managed just one shot (which came to nothing), didn’t really create any meaningful chances, lost the ball no fewer than 16 times and only managed one successful dribble all night long. He was probably glad to get back in the dressing room afterwards.

6. Morgan Rogers – Aston Villa (-)

Not unlike Garnacho, Rogers didn’t manage to generate much of an end product in Aston Villa’s surprise Europa Conference League defeat to Olympiacos, but very much unlike Garnacho, he was at least lively and involved throughout.

There were some nice moments, a few very nifty passes and three shots, although none of them could be described as much more than half-chances and snatched efforts. But still, you could see the guile and direct play that has made him stand out so much since signing from Middlesbrough – although you had to squint a bit harder during the 1-0 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday, as he was only on the field for 26 minutes and didn’t get many touches of the ball in which to do anything.

5. Jérémy Doku – Manchester City (⬆️ 3)

It’s an odd week in which any player gains three places in the top ten despite only being on the pitch for 10 minutes, but he packed a decent amount into his short substitute appearance against Wolverhampton Wanderers and that, combined with his impressive recent form, propels him inside the top five.

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He probably should have had an assist – Matheus Nunes fluffed his lines when Doku’s cut-back teed him up bang in front of goal, attempting to take a touch when he should have hit it first time – but that wasn’t the only headache he gave the unfortunate Rayan Aït-Nouri in the closing stages, and he looked very sharp indeed. Let’s hope he gets more than ten minutes next time out.

4. Harvey Elliott – Liverpool (⬆️ 3)

Every week, we seem to lament the fact that Elliott so rarely gets a full game out of Jürgen Klopp and every time he does, we spend that week praising the midfielder to the rafters – and so it proves again, as he was probably the best player on the pitch in Liverpool’s entertaining 4-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur.

He scored a quite magnificent goal, a 20-yard strike which arced out of his instep and into the top left corner, set up another, and generally ran Spurs ragged with his superb movement and tidy passing. It isn’t just that he has superb technique and skill, but that he shows so much maturity and such a strong ability to read the game at a young age. A fabulous player – and hopefully he’ll get more regular starts under Arne Slot.

3. Kobbie Mainoo – Manchester United (⬇️ 1)

As all around him collapsed into rubble at Selhurst Park on Monday, Mainoo managed to stay remarkably calm and composed, and actually played pretty well under the circumstances – not that he did enough to avoid losing a place this week.

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He was good on the ball and racked up a very solid 94% passing rate, made more impressive by the fact that Crystal Palace’s midfield were swarming all over Manchester United’s for large periods of the game, and made five important tackles to help keep the scoreline… well, not exactly respectable, let’s be honest, but less awful than it might otherwise have been. United fans haven’t got much to smile about right now, but Mainoo’s excellence and unflappability is worth a bit of a grin.

2. Adam Wharton – Crystal Palace (⬆️ 1)

Given how impressive he was against United, it would have felt wrong to not push Wharton up and above one of the players he was up against. Wharton has been nothing short of superb since his £22m move from Blackburn Rovers in January, and once again played out of his skin to help keep Oliver Glasner’s in-form side motoring along.

It wasn’t, in fairness, his best passing game, although there were one or two nice balls forward, but he was brilliant at protecting the defence, racking up four tackles and three interceptions as he shut United down by himself for large parts of the game. Like Mainoo and Elliott, it’s hard not to be amazed not just by his quality, but by how in control he looks at the very top level. There is now chatter about a late call up to Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2024 squad – perhaps his performances have come too late for that, but if he carries on like this he’ll wear an England shirt before the year is out.

1. Jarrad Branthwaite – Everton (-)

Branthwaite holds on to top spot for a second consecutive week after a fine performance against Luton Town – the kind of performance which probably deserved a clean sheet, but at least went a long way towards earning Everton a point at Kenilworth Road.

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He was hauled down for Everton’s early penalty – which was either a bizarre mistake by Teden Mengi or a testament to Branthwaite’s towering presence from set plays, depending on your point of view – and did his usual work at the back, heading anything in the air clear and sweeping up whatever got past his colleagues in typically indefatigable style. His five clearances this week was actually slightly below his usual, but then his dominant aerial presence was no small part of the reason that Everton didn’t let as much get past them as they normally do. A rock solid game from a rock solid defender, and reason enough to extent his run as our top young player in the Premier League.

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