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Sam Morrison
1 Posted 27/06/2019 at 13:00:36
I can't claim to have any real knowledge of these players outside Kenny, but in the few appearances he made in centre-mid (not right-back!) Baningime impressed me. I'd like to see him stick around.
Kevin Prytherch
2 Posted 27/06/2019 at 13:42:22
Including Feeny and Sambou is a bit harsh, they were U18 players who featured for the U23s at the time.

Other players not mentioned...

Calvert-Lewin (played 9, scored 4)
Charsley
Walsh
Gethin Jones
Holgate (played 7)

Out of all of them, we will probably have a good number at the very least making a good career in the Championship. If we plaster sell in clauses with them then it's been worth it.

I reckon there's 9 who should make a career at least in the Championship. That's a phenomenal return for any youth system. (Granted some players were bought as youngsters).

Kenny
Holgate
Pennington
Robinson
Williams
Connolly
Davies
Dowell
Calvert-Lewin.

Fran Mitchell
3 Posted 27/06/2019 at 13:43:32
Feeney at 20 should be in the squad this season as 4th choice. If we sign another 'youngish' centre back, I assume that signals a lack of faith in his potential.

Joe Williams should also be getting a chance in the squad as back-up.

Dowell maybe making himself into a deep-lying midfielder, back up to Gomes is worth looking at. If it doesn't work, we sell. If it does, we may save ourselves £20+million.

Connolly seems a bit of a jack of all trades type. They were more common 10-15 years ago. Now it seems players have to be specialized in their positions, so he should move on.

Evan, and Broadhead too, I wonder if they lack that X-Factor to be top-level players in their positions.

Steve Ferns
4 Posted 27/06/2019 at 14:14:00
The players I expect to challenge for the first team are:

Joao Virginia – but in a couple of years
Morgan Feeney – he should be 4th choice this season
Antony Evans – intriguing player who needs a loan to show he can step up
Anthony Gordon – superb young talent but he's still a young 18
Ellis Simms – discussed on his own thread.

Sadly, I'd forgetten about Beni Baningime. I have no idea where or how it's all gone wrong but it clearly has. He's not played at all this season for us but, at his age, that wouldn't matter. The fact that he's 20 and went out on loan in January and couldn't get a game for a poor Championship side is very worrying. We need to let him slip back down to the U23s quietly and rediscover his mojo and give him time to come again.

The other one after Simms to potentially bypass the U23s is the excellent young Korede Adedoyin. However, there is some reservations over him though. So perhaps he does need to go into the U23s and prove himself at that level.

More I think won't make it unless they come good elsewhere are:

Joe Williams – getting too old now.

Dennis Adeniran – really like this kid but he's now 20 and he needs to be closer to the first team.

Josh Bowler – again 20 now. He's only just younger than Richarlison. That says a lot about his levels. He needs to explode this season or it's never going to happen.

Fraser Hornby – still only 19. But he lacks the finishing skills in the box and still plays like a centre mid playing up front. He's great in the air and he's good from long range, he just lacks the penalty box game of an out-and-out striker.

Con Ouzounidis – 19 years old. He should take Feeney's spot in the U23s and needs to step up a level. He still has time on his side.

Manasse Mampala and Bassala Sambou – neither score enough goals for the U23. They won't make the step up. Sambou is almost 22 now, ie, a year younger than Calvert-Lewin and far behind where Dominic was at this age. Both should be loaned out to clear the pathway for more talented younger players.

Fran Mitchell
5 Posted 27/06/2019 at 15:08:55
Steve, I think that is incredibly harsh and precipitated to say 'he's 20 now'. And suggest they must 'explode' into the scene or they are write-offs.

There are numerous examples of players breaking through at 21/22 or even later.

Bowler, for me, looks a player.

Steve Ferns
6 Posted 27/06/2019 at 16:42:45
Fran, Josh Bowler is not as good as Anthony Gordon. Whilst Gordon is more of a number 10 and Bowler is more of an out and out winger, the reality is both will contest the wide positions. Therefore, if it's a choice between one or the other, I can't see anyone selecting Bowler over Gordon. Gordon is two years younger as well.

I know you say there are numerous examples of players breaking through at 21/22 or later, I think this is not quite the case in 2019. I think that you need to be in or around the first team by the age of 21. To be playing in the U23s and nowhere near the first team is a gap too far to bridge. Sure, some at 22 might bridge it, but it requires the explosion I was talking about. Bowler is not good enough, and nowhere near good enough on current ability. He can make it, but he needs to develop a lot this coming season and really that needs to be in first team football and not the U23s. If he has a good season for the U23s and then goes out on loan the season after, then we're talking about a 22-year-old and his time has gone. Really he needs to go on loan now, or in six months time and he needs to be delivering.

Don't forget the lad has struggled to cement a place in the U23s at the age of 20 and has spent a lot of time on the bench watching younger players like Gordon who are clearly better than him, and he only really got a shot when Evans was moved out on loan. Evans is a year older than him.

Let's be clear though Fran, I am not writing Bowler off. As you say, he is a good young player with a bit of trickery about him and after wrestling a place in the side in the latter part of the season he kept it, and then had Gordon watching him. I just think Bowler needs to and has to kick on over the next 12 months. He must make massive strides.

Evans is a player I really like, but as 21 it is now or never for him. And he must show he can break into the first team squad. He is not good enough right now, and so he needs a good loan move and to hit the ground running and show he can step up another level again.

Dave Abrahams
7 Posted 27/06/2019 at 16:53:39
I think there are one or two clubs asking to take Bowler on loan with Hull City being one of them Steve (6).

Regarding Anthony Gordon I would putin the same class as Keiran Dowell, bags and bags of skill, makes you sit up and take notice with his dribbling and shooting ability, then when he loses the ball the almost complete lack of fight to win it back, I’m still hoping Dowell will find that fight and will to win, not sure he will or can, just doesn’t seem to be in his nature, fear Gordon is made in the same mould.

Rick Tarleton
8 Posted 27/06/2019 at 19:26:39
This is a universal problem for many of the better teams.

The hugely acclaimed Foden is a bit-part player at Man City. Alexander-Arnold is the first to break through at Anfield since Gerrard did 20 years ago and the much vaunted Chelsea youth set-up has not produced a regular first-team player since John Terry.

In the old days when players came through the school system, one player out of every two years of England Schoolboys made it to regular First Division, as it was then, status.

Academies produce players, but clubs are reluctant to develop them when they can afford established players from abroad. Most Academy players end up in the Championship or Leagues One and Two. What is wrong is the way they are kept hanging around on the fringes of the club.

Mike Gaynes
9 Posted 27/06/2019 at 19:41:28
Martin, good article that should provoke a lot of debate and great posts, like those from Steve and Fran. I'm much more optimistic than you are about Kenny and Robinson... but less so about Beni.

I haven't seen nearly as much of the U23s as stalwarts like Steve and Dave, but personally I saw a lot to be excited about in Bowler, and as Dave mentions there are multiple Championship clubs lined up to borrow him... not just Hull but Wednesday, Boro and Derby as well. He's definitely going to get his chance to "explode" this season.

Michael Kenrick
10 Posted 28/06/2019 at 06:10:45
Kevin @2,

I think Gethin Jones left us around 18 months ago, for Fleetwood Town.

Mike Gaynes
11 Posted 28/06/2019 at 07:42:19
Yep, Michael, and then was loaned out to League 2 Mansfield.
Frank Crewe
12 Posted 28/06/2019 at 17:31:22
I always think that, if you are still in the U23s when you actually hit 23, then you're finished at the club and need to move on. Look at Shane Duffy, loaned out 3 times before moving to Blackburn Rovers. Now he's back in the Premier League with Brighton and has 29 caps for the Republic of Ireland. So moving down a division or two doesn't mean the end of your top-flight career.

I think maybe some of these youngsters like the prestige of playing for a Premier League club even if it's stunting their careers and turn down the opportunity to move to less prestigious clubs because they think it's a backward step. But sometimes, to make two steps forward, you have to take one step back.

Alex Gray
13 Posted 29/06/2019 at 07:45:49
Far too quick to write off Dowell. As you said, he's done well on loan, laterally helping Sheffield United to automatic promotion. He's still in the England U21 squad too, starting in a competitive central midfield group.

Being thrown into a cup game and expected to perform without a run of games isn't easy. That's a wider criticism I would put to Silva, he doesn't give the youngsters enough chances... but let's not make this thread about him.

The ideal situation would be for Dowell to stay with Sheffield Utd on loan and establish himself a Premier League pedigree.

Mike Gaynes
14 Posted 29/06/2019 at 08:04:49
Alex #13, depends on what you mean by "laterally helping."

In this case it appears to mean "being glued to the bench during the final critical run-in to promotion."

Of the Blades' last 11 games, which determined their season, Dowell started three -- and in two of those he was subbed out at half-time, which generally happens only if you're playing poorly. The most he played in any of those 11 games was 63 minutes, and four he sat out completely. So he was hardly critical.

Count me as one of those who has written him off.

Lee Preston
15 Posted 02/07/2019 at 13:34:47
For what it's worth, I think people may be a bit too harshly writing off Beni Baningime because of an unsuccessful loan deal. Paul Cook himself said that Beni is a fine player, but because they were often bypassing the midfield, Beni was struggling to get into the game. Beni has been brought up on a "pass from the back" mentality, so perhaps Wigan wasn't the best fit for him at this stage of his career.

Ross Barkley (apologies for swearing) had a poor time under Neil Warnock at Leeds, to the extent that they cancelled the deal. He's not exactly had a bad career to date since that.

Beni looked a good fit in the team under Unsworth's caretaker reign, so perhaps he'd be better suited staying here and learning, getting opportunities in the cup games.

I think we need to get out of the habit of writing the lads off before they're in their 20s.

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