Stones, McTominay, Kane: Who are the Premier League's most improved players?

  • Kobe Tong

The Premier League is one of the toughest arenas in world football.

You only have to look at how players like Robert Pires, Nemanja Vidic, Heung-min Son and Patrice Evra struggled in England's top-flight at first to see how unforgiving the division can be.

As a result, rightly or wrongly, some players can be written off before they've even had time to adjust to Premier League football when they could have gone to thrive like those aforementioned stars.

Premier League: A brutal arena

It's a situation that means players improving in the Premier League is something that should really be applauded because it's not easy to keep bettering yourself in such a brutal environment.

As such, we wanted to look at the Premier League players that have made the biggest strides in the 2020/21 season, showing the world that they can reach levels that fans never knew that they could.

Now, it's worth disclaiming that making the cut here doesn't mean that the player was in any way terrible before this season nor does it mean that they are somehow world-beaters now.


Most improved Premier League XI

Or to put it another way, moving from 3/10 to 6/10 performances is just as much of an improvement as progressing from 7/10 to 10/10 and thus, both examples of improvement are eligible here.

But caveats aside, you can check out our selection for the most improved Premier League XI of the season down below:

GK: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)

Transformed from an Arsenal bench-warmer to one of the Premier League's best goalkeepers, the Villa number one saved a penalty on his season-opener and currently sits second in the Golden Glove race.


RB: James Justin (Leicester City)

It took something special to oust the much-improved Joao Cancelo from this position, but that's just how good Justin has been for the Foxes this season, looking like an entirely new player in both full-back roles.

CB: John Stones (Manchester City)

The most improved of the most improved players, Stones has pulled his City career out of the fire to form a stellar partnership with Ruben Dias, marshalling 12 clean sheets in just 15 appearances.


CB: Jannik Vestergaard (Southampton)

A proud member of our most underrated XI, Vestergaard has been an unsung hero amongst the Saints' brighter moments this season, elevating himself from a rotational player to a certainty on the teamsheet.

LB: Luke Shaw (Manchester United)

With the most chances created of any defender in the Premier League this season, Shaw is a runaway train of success at the moment, transforming his top-class 2019/20 displays into world-class 2020/21 ones.


CM: Solly March (Brighton & Hove Albion)

It's incredible to think that March has gone from a bit-part role at Brighton to their highest-rated player, per, with his dribbling, key passes and tackling all improving across 2020/21.

CM: Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)

Let's make one thing clear: Gundogan was never a bad player for City. However, the German has transformed himself into a PFA Award contender this season with a staggering 11 league goals from midfield.


CM: Scott McTominay (Manchester United)

I can't have been alone in writing off 'McSauce' during United's early struggles last season but I stand corrected because the seven-goal academy product has come on leaps and bounds in the box-to-box role.

FW: Pedro Neto (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

Undoubtedly one of the Premier League's best young players, Neto has been a shining light amidst Wolves' struggles, already matching his 2019/20 goal-scoring tally in 15 fewer appearances.


ST: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)

You what!? No, we're not saying that Kane was poor in 2019/20, rather that he's reached new heights during his first full season under Jose Mourinho with an insane record of 14 goals and 13 assists.

FW: Harvey Barnes (Leicester City)

Yes, Barnes has always looked like a top player for the Foxes, but we're really starting to see an end product from the 23-year-old now with 13 goals in all competitions underpinning his Euro 2020 hopes.


So, there you have it: our eleven picks for that award that everybody wanted to avoid in Sunday League.

But although it might not be fashionable to be branded 'the most improved' down the local park, make no mistake that it's something to proud of when you're competing in the Premier League.

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