The Young Ones...

by   |   25/05/2018  15 Comments  [Jump to last]

Close season means we all start playing Fantasy Football in our head, in forums and in the pub. Who to buy, who to sell, and so on. However, I wonder who do people expect to come through from our Under-23s or below to have an impact on the squad?

Our new Director of Football, Marcel Brands, made clear that this is viewed as a clear long-term strategic goal of the club, and in recent years we have done well.

Tom Davies, Mason Holgate, Beni Baningime, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Jonjoe Kenny are all first-team squad regulars. Ademola Lookman we also hope/expect will add to that list. But who from the current ranks will make that step up?

Kieran Dowell seems the most likely. While Antonee Robinson also gets mentioned. Other than that, I am pretty clueless as to the real development potential in our ranks.

Josh Bowler was signed from QPR for a significant fee. Will he make the breakthrough?

Conor Grant is a bit of a veteran in the Under-23s and has been talked highly of. Will he do it or move on?

Matty Foulds was talked of a lot when he signed; how has he developed? Will he bolster our defense?

Harry Charsley? Calum Connolly? Joe Williams? Nathangelo Markelo? Anthony Evans? Mateusz Hewlett?

Anyone got any opinions? Any hidden gems? Or are they set for Leagues One or Two (in itself, a great achievement for our academy to produce so many professionals), or shall we consider anyone when making our summer shopping plans?

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Reader Comments (15)

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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 26/05/2018 at 19:58:23
I'm still not convinced this current crop is really much better than the bunch of Anichebe, Vaughan, Rodwell, Gosling and before that Ball etc:

I think Calvert-Lewin will never be a truly top class Premier League forward, maybe a Beckford type player.

Davies isn't much more than say a young Tony Grant was and he's not got the talent that brainless Barkley had at 19-20.

Kenny looked okay and maybe about the most likely to prosper when Coleman eventually frizzles in three or four years.

Baningime is a defensive-minded player and really we are overrun with static midfielders and need more creation (not his fault).

Seen a bit of Josh Bowler; whilst he looks promising, he looks like a puff of wind would blow him over.

I can't really say much of the others as I haven't seen enough of them and certainly not Premier League level anytime soon I would think.

Jon Withey
2 Posted 27/05/2018 at 09:57:01
Putting aside all the nonsense this season, getting that many youngsters in a squad that ultimately finished 8th is pretty good – so even if not all of them are still with us in 5 years, we've developed some youngsters suitable for the premiership - if not the very top. I certainly hope we keep Calvert-Lewin, Davies, Kenny, Baningime and Holgate for another season and a different coach.

When talking of natural talent I really like Dowell – in pre-season he looked one of our best players. Could a decent coach improve his all-round game enough to keep him in the Premier League? Well, I really hope so anyway.

I also thought Feeney looked really decent when we played him.

I don't want to see kids unemployed, but we could do with moving on Henen, Garbutt, Tarashaj, Galloway, Browning – all have potential but you can't wait forever.

Phillip Warrington
3 Posted 28/05/2018 at 05:08:49
Does anybody know what happened to Shani Tarashaj?

He looked good when we first signed him, he was loaned out to a German team then returned got injured. Did the injury screw up his season or just couldn't find form? I've seen him listed as a substitute for the Under-23s a few times.

Michael Kenrick
4 Posted 28/05/2018 at 05:38:38
Phillip,

He was injured for much of the season, playing a limited part in the last three Premier League 2 games, all played last month:

#20 vs West Ham (H): Started but hauled off at half-time in 4-0 defeat.

#21 vs Liverpool (H): Unused sub in 1-3 loss for the Blues.

#22 vs Man Utd (A): Replaced Broadhead for the last 15 mins.

Alan J Thompson
5 Posted 28/05/2018 at 05:42:14
Phillip (#3); I think he suffered a bad knee injury and just recently made two brief appearances in the U-23s and I think an observer noted on these pages his lack of fitness probably due to being out for so long.
Victor Yu
6 Posted 28/05/2018 at 06:57:44
Anichebe and Vaughan would have been amazing if (1) we had had a manager who would appreciate strikers more (instead of focusing on tracking back) and (2) they were not ruined by injury.
Scott Mongomery
7 Posted 30/05/2018 at 14:54:17
Victor @6, I think saying Anichebe would have been amazing under any circumstances is a bit of a stretch. He spent more time falling over and lying on the ground than upright scoring goals. He had a bit of Emile Heskey about him.
Steavey Buckley
8 Posted 01/06/2018 at 18:48:07
Dominic Calvert-Lewin had 6 assists last season, twice as many as the next highest.
Sam Hoare
10 Posted 03/06/2018 at 09:29:53
We have 4 players in the current eng U21 squad (Dowell, Davies, Kenny, Connolly) with Lookman and Calvert-Lewin in the squad in recent times too. That's very good going and shows that this crop has talent.

I would expect at least 3 of those 6 to make careers in or around the Premier League. The question is whether any of them are good enough for top 4 standard which is what we need to push on right now. Lookman looks the best bet to me.

Sam Hoare
11 Posted 03/06/2018 at 19:22:42
Also, Fraser Hornby has been doing well for an overperforming Scotland U21 at the Toulon tournament right now, beating holders France.

I wonder if he might get a shot over pre-season? A throwback to big Dunc, but with much more mobility.

Keith Dempsey
12 Posted 03/06/2018 at 20:33:26
I don't post for the sake of it and I will be happy if, in 10 years time, I have been proved wrong but I fear that most of the names mentioned will be talked off in the same way that Cadamateri, Branch, Rodwell and the countless others who we had high hopes for and it never really happened for.πŸ“±
Dave Abrahams
13 Posted 03/06/2018 at 20:42:54
Sam (#11), are you watching that France - Scotland game? If Scotland lose, England go through; if they win, England are out. Maybe the French are happy to let Scotland win, although I don't know the circumstances if the French lose.
Gareth Clark
14 Posted 05/06/2018 at 13:02:18
Keep:

Calvert-Lewin
Lookman
Davies
Baningime
Kenny

Loan:

Hewelt
Dowell
Robinson
Connolly

Hewelt I think has a big future – very similar in style to Pickford, but he needs a full season in the championship or even league one to build him into a proper understudy.

Robinson is the closest to the first team, given our lack of left Back depth. But I would give him one more season to develop as starter in the Championship – to work on his defensive abilities and grow.

Dowell too needs another loan – learn from his mistakes from this season. Work on his fitness and physicality so he can thrive and flair for a whole season, and not flutter out.

Connolly is decent enough – but Kenny is a better prospect, and so he should go out again.

Baningime is a tough one – I think he is unreal, very composed for his age and mobile too and good on the ball. Maybe a loan move to the championship will let him grow that little more to reach his potential.

But for those who we keep – I get the idea that the squad will be trimmed of those who are squad players and are in the way of these youngsters. So they should get a decent enough opportunity.

Andrew Keatley
15 Posted 05/06/2018 at 13:43:18
He's still very young, and may struggle to break through this year on account of it being too soon, but Anthony Gordon looks like a really good prospect.

Lookman is the one who I'd want to see in the starting XI on the first day of the season. With a fair wind he has the potential to be a real star – and there aren't that many of those sorts of players around.

I'd expect Calvert-Lewin, Davies and Holgate to be used regularly throughout the season – and one of Antonee Robinson or Callum Connolly to be kept as part of the first team squad, the other sent out on loan again. Such a shame that Brendan Galloway has seemingly gone backwards in the past two years; hard to know whether another loan is the right call. I'd maybe keep him until January to see how close he can get to the first team.

Other players to go out on loan; Dowell - lovely footballer, not sure he'll fit naturally into the Silva system. Baningime, Browning, Charsley, Pennington, Williams, Kenny - I think they all will benefit from a season of regular first-team football in the Championship or League One. There will no doubt be lower league loans for one or two of the younger crop – Foulds, Bowler, Feeney, Evans, Lavery etc.

All-in-all – as ever – if more than two of these go on to become proper first-team regulars, then it'll be regarded as a success for the club.

Steve Ferns
16 Posted 06/06/2018 at 22:04:43
What happened to the "new Ruud Gullit" who almost joined us last summer?

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