EPL Next Gen 2017

October 3, 2017
Trae Coyle
Coyle is that rare player who is not only brave enough to try the things that others would not risk but has the talent to pull them off. He shot to attention when he scored from the halfway line as a 14-year-old in an Arsenal youth game against Barcelona and there have been other moments of impudence, such as a Messi-style assist from a penalty. Comfortable on the left or right, as the No10 (his favourite role) or even as a No9, Coyle brings the ‘wow’ factor. He left school a year early and trained full-time at London Colney last season, effectively as a scholar, when he starred for the club’s under-18s until a knee injury forced him out. David Hytner
Brennan Camp
The 16-year-old centre-back has been has witnessed Bournemouth’s rapid rise since joining the club’s under-nines. “He’s an out-and-out defender who wants to keep clean sheets,” said Alan Connell, who was appointed Bournemouth’s under-18s manager in July. “He’s a good listener, he’s competitive, he wants to learn and he can play the ball out from the back, which we demand of all of them.” Camp, from Portland, joined the Cherries after being scouted playing for Weymouth as an eight-year-old. He was part of Bournemouth’s youth team that beat Wigan Athletic in the national EFL Youth Alliance Cup final in May. Camp’s grandfather is the former Bristol City and Manchester City midfielder Gerry Gow. Ben Fisher
Danny Cashman
The forward, who can also play as a No10, has been recognised by England at youth level, most recently at under-17s. The Crawley-born first-year scholar has trained with the Brighton’s first team on occasions this season. “He’s intelligent, creative and has an eye for goal,” said Ian Buckman, Brighton’s under-18s manager. Cashman, who helped Brighton to the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup in February, scored a hat-trick against Newcastle United last month and, according to Buckman, has “shown improvements in the defensive side of his game”. Brighton’s impressive Falmer training base is home to the Category One academy, as well as to Chris Hughton’s side. “We are all conscious that with the first team doing so well, it raises the bar for us,” Buckman said. Ben Fisher
Michael Fowler
Fowler made a big impression the day he signed a professional scholarship with Burnley, turning up in his school-prom tuxedo. “Why not?” he said. “It’s the biggest day of my life so far.” The striker released by Sunderland has not taken long to get noticed on the pitch since his move to Lancashire either. He has three goals this season, as well as three in the CEE Youth Cup staged in Prague over summer, where Burnley reached the final but were beaten by Everton. Paul Wilson
Callum Hudson-Odoi
Hudson-Odoi caught the eye as a schoolboy last season when he was outstanding in Chelsea’s under-18s, scoring eight goals in 25 appearances and netting in the fifth round, semi-final and final of the FA Youth Cup, before starring for England at the under-17s European championship. He excelled in partnership with Jadon Sancho, who joined Borussia Dortmund from Manchester City in August, and scored his third goal of the tournament in the final, when England were beaten on penalties by Spain. At 16 he is already ensconced in Chelsea’s under-23s set-up and, with Juventus and Benfica having scouted him in the hope of luring him away, is committed to a three-year deal at Stamford Bridge. One to watch at the under-17s World Cup in India in October, Hudson-Odoi is likely to gain senior experience – most likely on loan – in the next 18 months. Dominic Fifield
Sean Robertson
Sean Robertson is similar in style and stature to Wayne Routledge, another who graduated through Palace’s youth ranks, and has stood out among a group of under-16s elevated prematurely to under-18 level towards the end of last season before starting their scholarships. He scored on debut as Palace eased beyond Hull, then netted again to help check Coventry City’s 11-match winning streak. There were seven appearances last term, when Robertson was 15, and he has featured regularly this season, most notably scoring a brace in a 4-0 thrashing of Huddersfield. Skilful, quick and direct, the winger was at school in Camberwell and has been at Palace since the age of 12. He has even been granted a taste of training with the first team of late, particularly while senior players have been absent on international duty.Dominic Fifield
Anthony Gordon
Everton’s under-18s endured a painful night in the first ’mini-derby’ of the season recently – losing 3-1 to Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool at Kirkby, where Curtis Jones scored twice – but not before Gordon gave another demonstration of his potential. The attacking midfielder is developing a reputation for his ability to beat an opponent and clinical finishing, and both attributes were in evidence as he put Everton ahead against their local rivals. The 16-year-old was one of 12 academy graduates taken on full-time by Everton this summer. Andy Hunter
Jordan Thomas
Last month Huddersfield restructured their academy, downgrading their programme for players below under-18s because it has been a long time since the club brought a player from a younger age group through to the first team. “The climate has proven difficult for this club considering EPPP rules and the number of big clubs on our doorstep, which offers strong competition for the best local players,” explained the chairman, Dean Hoyle. But that does not mean the club has given up on youngsters – and around the time that they announced the restructuring, they signed Thomas from London’s XYZ academy. An adventurous and powerful right-back he has already made a couple of appearances for the club’s under-23s.Paul Doyle
Lukas Husek
The first thing that strikes anyone about Husek is his size. Still only 16, the left-sided central defender is 6ft 7in. Signed from FK Jablonec, who play in the top flight in the Czech Republic, Husek has represented his country at under-15, under-16 and under-17 level and he attracted interest from Manchester City before signing for Leicester. Husek, however, had given his word to Leicester and, as well not wanting to go back on that agreement, believes he is in the right place for his development. Comfortable with both feet and eager to learn, he has quickly made a big impression on the academy staff at Leicester with his attitude as well as his ability and, not surprisingly, is quite a threat in the opposition penalty area. Stuart James
Curtis Jones
A Liverpool-born, Liverpool-supporting midfielder with an eye for goal might feel inhibited with Steven Gerrard studying his every move from the sidelines. But not the confident teenager from Toxteth, who has continued to impress for Liverpool’s and Gerrard’s under-18s despite being only 16. Jones, whose attacking instincts and penetrating runs into the penalty area are matched by excellent footwork, made his debut for the under-18s and trained with Jürgen Klopp’s senior squad at the age of 15. He scored five goals for the under-18s last season and marked his Uefa Youth League debut last month with two goals in a 4-0 defeat of Sevilla. Andy Hunter
Ivan Ilic
The defensive midfielder became Red Star Belgrade’s youngest debutant in April before Manchester City signed him and his elder brother Luka in August in a deal worth £5m. Illic’s debut was only a minute long, at the end of a SuperLiga game, but after being loaned back to Red Star the expectation is the 16-year-old will be given considerably more match time this season. Illic has represented Serbia at under-14, under-15, under-16 and under-17 level. Jamie Jackson
Arnau Puigmal
Puigmal, a Spain youth international, signed last summer after impressing for Espanyol against Manchester United in the 2017 Med Cup in April. The midfielder is rated among Europe’s best prospects and was voted Med Cup player of the tournament. Puigmal coolly netted a Paneka penalty during a shootout against England’s under-16s at Leek Town’s Harrison Park in February. “He’s a really dynamic, technical midfield player who likes to drive forward and carry the ball,” says the United coach Kieran McKenna. Jamie Jackson
Deese Kasinga-Madia
A pacey, technically gifted left-sider, comfortable on the wing or in a more central attacking midfield role, Kasinga-Madia is in the first year of a two-year scholarship on Tyneside. Already making his mark on Dave Watson’s under-18 side, he was born in DR Congo but grew up in London, where he became part of Brentford’s junior system. As befits a player who started out as a goal-hungry central striker, Kasinga possesses a decent shot. Louise Taylor
Kameron Ledwidge
A new face at Southampton’s Staplewood campus, having joined the club’s academy in June of this year, the Republic of Ireland under-17 international ticks all of the boxes for the modern attacking left-back. Strong, athletic and quick across the ground, he is comfortable coming forward with the ball at this feet. Formerly of St Kevin’s Boys in his native Dublin, he starred for his country in last season’s Victory Shield. He can also play in central defence and his versatility is considered as a further plus point. David Hytner
Nathan Collins
The teenager’s father and uncle, David and Eamonn, captained the Republic of Ireland in youth World Cups (where David, formerly a youth-team player at Liverpool, marked Luis Figo in one match) and Nathan kept up a proud family tradition when he appeared for his country in last summer’s under-17 European championship. Born in Dublin, he played for the celebrated junior club Cherry Orchard before joining Stoke as a first-year scholar in June. Already 6ft 4in, he is a commanding centre-back who is very comfortable on the ball. Paul Doyle
Mason Jones-Thomas
A local lad who has been with Swansea since the age of eight, Jones-Thomas is a talented winger who likes dribbling and taking on full-backs. He is a boy in a hurry, having made his debut for Swansea’s under-18s at the age of 14 and been named on the bench for the under-23s while still at school. Jones-Thomas, whose father was a scholar at Swansea in the mid-90s but never quite made the grade, has also played well above his age group for Wales, including starting against Iceland for the under-19s last month. Reasonably quick with a bright football brain and willing to put in the extra hours after training, the 16-year-old is highly regarded within Swansea’s academy. Stuart James
Oliver Skipp
Skipp played 18 games for Tottenham’s under-18s last season and he even got on as a substitute for the under-23s in February – all this while he was still a schoolboy. This season he has stepped again up to become a regular at under-23 level and the overall impression is of a player who is mature beyond his years. A firm favourite of the club’s head of player development, John McDermott, Skipp is a tenacious defensive midfielder with composure, an eye for a pass and an excellent attitude. David Hytner
Lewis Gordon
It is a measure of the faith placed in Lewis Gordon that he trained with the first team in pre-season and was one of only two teenagers – and the youngest by three years – to play in an experienced team picked for a pre-season friendly against AFC Wimbledon in July. Coaches admire his technique in possession, his reading of the game and his defending of one-v-one situations, as well as his willingness to get forward. “It’s clear he has a real love for the game,” says Watford’s head of academy, Chris McGuane. “He takes information on board very well and he’s always desperate to improve and progress.” Simon Burnton
Rayhaan Tulloch
Tulloch’s rapid progress stands out amid a richly promising generation of English talent at West Brom. He has been a regular for the under-23s in the early stages of the season and, on 19 September, started against the League One side Walsall in the Checkatrade Trophy. Tulloch opened the scoring with a sharp finish from close range; West Brom went on to lose but the bigger picture is of a forward who already looks at home in more senior company. With two goals in recent friendlies he is making a difference at the sharp end for England under-17s, too; at his current rate it is little stretch to imagine him progressing quickly through the age groups. Nick Ames
Anouar El Mhassani
West Ham have started looking to the continent for young players and signed the 16-year-old from Ajax in the summer. El Mhassani, a left-footed attacking midfielder, was not offered a new contract by Ajax after suffering injury problems, but there are high hopes for him. “He’s a talented, technical player and he’s now got to develop other the three years to the physical, tactical sides of the game,” West Ham’s academy director, Terry Westley, says. “In terms of ability with the ball, he’ll be right up there. He’s got that bravery to really take people on.” Jacob Steinberg
Trae Coyle
Arsenal
Brennan Camp
Bournemouth
Danny Cashman
Brighton
Michael Fowler
Burnley
Callum Hudson-Odoi
Chelsea
Sean Robertson
Crystal Palace
Anthony Gordon
Everton
Jordan Thomas
Huddersfield Town
Lukas Husek
Leicester City
Curtis Jones
Liverpool
Ivan Ilic
Manchester City
Arnau Puigmal
Manchester United
Deese Kasinga-Madia
Newcastle United
Kameron Ledwidge
Southampton
Nathan Collins
Stoke City
Mason Jones-Thomas
Swansea City
Oliver Skipp
Tottenham Hotspur
Lewis Gordon
Watford
Rayhaan Tulloch
West Bromwich Albion
Anouar El Mhassani
West Ham United
SOURCE: theguardian.co.uk

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