In an attempt to help fans identify their team’s stars earlier and earlier, The Guardian newspaper has, since 2014 published their Next Generation talents. It’s a list of the best ‘first year scholar’ (essentially any player in their age 16 season) at each Premier League club, as well as 60 of the best from around the world.
Only 2 years old, the list has already been a good predictor of success; 2015’s Reece Oxford went on to have a number of impressive performances for West Ham, while the 2014 version named Manchester United’s hottest prospect as Marcus Rashford and he’s done alright for himself.
Amongst the bright talents of this year’s crop is Leicester City’s Simran Thandi. A strong right back, Thandi impressed for the under 18 side last year, despite playing 2 years above his age level. He also featured for the England under 17 side.
This season has also started well for the 16 year old. The coaching staff have shown great faith, despite his age, and he’s played every minute so far of their Uefa Youth League campaign (essentially an under 19s version of the Champions League).
Both of the young Foxes previously selected have continued to act on their promising potential. 2015’s Darnell Johnson, another defender, is now a regular feature in the under 23 side in the new Premier League 2 competition, and is regularly called up for the England under 19 squad.
Hamza Choudhury, listed in 2014 after interest from some of the biggest clubs in Europe, has recently signed a 4 year professional deal with Leicester City. He spent the end of last season on loan at Burton Albion and was so instrumental in their promotion push that they brought him back for a full year in the Championship.
There’s no doubt there’s some great talent coming through our youth ranks. For more information on their progress, I strongly suggest following @FoxesYouth on twitter.