Over the past few seasons, the Development Squad has been a real boon for Leicester City, bringing Ben Chilwell, Hamza Choudhury and Harvey Barnes through to the first team. Early signs from Luke Thomas suggest this year was no different.
It might seem unreasonable to expect any more after that, but hey, we’re football fans.
Obviously we can’t go through every player in every squad, so I’ve highlighted just a few who’ve impressed* this year, or in general.
*Disclaimer that I haven’t watched much or any of several of these guys and updates are thin on the ground.
Daniel Iverson, GK, 23
Normally I wouldn’t include a 23 year old, but keepers are a bit different and Iverson has had rave reviews, albeit at the League One level. He conceded just 36 in 34 games as his loan team Rotherham clinched promotion. Probably won’t be with us next year either, but he’ll get a shot at some point.
Oliver Bosworth, GK, 18
This might just be a position of strength. Promising American keeper Chituru Odunze has barely had a look in, and Bosworth has been the reason.
"To see the players that have won it before and to follow in their footsteps makes me so proud."— Leicester City (@LCFC) May 9, 2019
Hear from our Academy Player of the Season, Oliver Bosworth... pic.twitter.com/G1rbAB3Nfu
He’s been captaining the Academy team this year and won their Player of the Season award for the second year in a row. If that’s not a great sign for a young player, I don’t know what is.
Darnell Johnson, RB, 21
It feels like we’ve been hearing about Johnson forever and at 21 it might be getting to crunch time soon. Still, he keeps progressing. He looked good with the first team in preseason, held off competition from Vontae Daley-Campbell in the development squad and even saw the Premier League bench to end the year.
Sam Hughes, CB, 23
Again, he’s 23. If he wasn’t the only CB worth mentioning, he probably wouldn’t be on the list. Hughes really impressed in his first couple of years here, but seems to have stalled.
He went out on loan and struggled to get game time in League 2, just one level above where he was three years ago. Apparently he did well after returning to the Development Squad and he was given a new contract in June, so they must see something in him.
Luke Thomas, LB, 19
He still counts for now.
@LCFC's Luke Thomas is the first teenager to get an assist on his #PL debut since Lasse Sorensen for Stoke v Swansea in May 2018#LEISHU pic.twitter.com/dv1iMRMic2— Premier League (@premierleague) July 16, 2020
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, DM, 21
Last year’s Development player of the season was rewarded with a trip to Blackpool in January, where he made 10 fairly well received League One appearances. Not sure his potential is sky high, but he still might have a chance.
Thakgalo Leshabela, CM, 20
The South African looked fantastic when we saw him with the first team in preseason, so the Fosse Posse are always keen to watch his progress. He struggled for goals and assists, despite making the most PL2 appearances, but the talent is certainly there.
Kasey Mcateer, CM, 18
The only thing I can find about Kasey online is that he plays in midfield but was our under 18’s top scorer. Might be an Andy King regen.
Oli Ewing, CM, 17
Again, there’s not a lot of information about, but everything there is good. In October the Guardian picked him out as our most promising youngster, while outgoing under 18 coach Trevor Peake highlighted him and midfield partner Sidnei Tavares as a strength of the team.
Terell Pennant, RW, 17
Another impressive season for the dangerous winger, whose fast movement up the ranks has to be cause for some excitement. After an impressive 11 combined goals and assists in as many games for the under 18s, he earned himself PL2 minutes for the second year in a row. He was the youngest player to feature for the Development Squad.
Enjoyed commentating @LiveSportsFM 5th round #FAYouthCup tie between @OfficialBWFC & @LCFC the Foxes winning a brilliant U18 Cup tie 3-0 & progressing to the quarter finals Terrell Pennant a wonderful talent for Leicester Adam Senior was a rock at the heart of the Bolton defence— Jonny Crowther (@JonnyCrowther) January 31, 2019
George Hirst, ST, 21
The Foxes were very keen to bring the former Sheffield Wedesnday youth striker in - it’s a tactic that’s worked well in the past after all.
When most forwards would look to cross, he’s got that mentality to try and find the bottom corner. Leicester have got a very good no.9 in their ranks in George Hirst - Former Leicester striker James Scowcroft
They must have been disappointed when he struggled to find the net in the Belgian second tier last year, but this has been a bounce back season in front of goal where he scored 9 in 14 league games, adding another 3 in the EFL Cup.
At 6’3” he offers something that no other attacking player in the squad currently can, so it would be nice to see him build on his substitute appearances in the first team. A loan out to the Championship first is much more likely.