WHUFC youth system

A few years back, I posted a similar article for discussion; at that time, the likes of Leo Chambers, Zavon Hines, Jordan Spence, Freddie Sears, Junior Stanislas and Elliot Lee (amongst others) were mooted as candidates with the potential to become regulars in our first team. Stanislas obviously features for 'Premier League' Bournemouth but none of the above have become WHU stalwarts, in the mould of say Mark Noble who is, perhaps, a dying breed (as a homegrown one club player).

Looking at the current crop of promising youngsters, from our youth system, on the fringe ... Burke, Oxford, Martinez, Makasi, Cullen, Rice, Quina, Kemp, Trott etc ... one wonders if any of these will be given the chance to break through and become regulars.

Oxford seems to be the one most likely (albeit not imminently - BMG), with perhaps Quina, Cullen, Rice, and Burke too. However, given our recent track record of bringing youngsters through, it is highly unlikely that such a high number of players will come through at the same time.

I saw the last 20 minutes of the Fulham friendly, just recently. Burke was one 'youngster' that caught the eye ... in particular, looking assured in possession/distribution.

Supposedly 'big' clubs (for the want of a better phrase) such as Tottenham, Everton, Man U and Liverpool have all brought youngsters through in recent times. Southampton, similar to us performance wise, have also brought through a plethora of good youngsters. Thus, it can be done.

As such, if youngsters are not breaking into our first team, is our youth set-up worth the costs it undoubtedly incurs (I have to admit I know not the costs)? Is it fit for purpose?

Sullivan says our debt is approximately £100m (I'm not sure of the basis for calculation) ... and yet, we spend £20m-25m on Arnautovic, having spent £10m on Snodgrass to give but one example of profligate spending. The current level of spending is, as Daniel Levy rightly says, unsustainable; bear in mind that debt has to be serviced ... not everyone has a long term 'magic money tree'.

Perhaps the route should be to sign youngsters from the academies of other clubs ... we have some recent 'form' in this area with Fletcher (United), Fernandes (Sion) and Holland (Everton). This done, 'our' job is then to get them into the team, regularly ... Fernandes has had a few chances to be fair.

Aside from buying youngsters from other clubs, the only plausible antidote (to spending increasingly exorbitant prices for 'mature' players) is for clubs to produce their own youngsters.

With England being relatively successful at U-19, U-20 and U-21 this summer (current WHU youngsters Nathan Trott and Dan Kemp both featured), the talent is obviously there.

So, who is likely to be given the chance ... if the answer is no-one, what is the point of spending money on the youth set-up ... merely to produce players for other clubs (Stanislas - Burnley/Bournemouth)?

I appreciate that there ought to be a balance in our approach and that circumstances e.g. a lowly league position can often prompt action (mid-season) but, for me, too few youngsters have come through in recent years.

Perhaps the Ferdinand, Cole, Carrick and Lampard era will never be repeated. Yes, post relegation they were all sold ... but Tony Carr's academy produced them ... perhaps his retirement shows that he is irreplaceable.

I know Noble has, from time to time, his detractors, but, for me, teams invariably benefit from a smattering of homegrown players, such as Noble, that are not only good players but love the club.

Is there another homegrown stalwart on the horizon?

I hope so ...



  • It's a great post,
    I Would like to think that the likes of Burke, Oxford will be the new Ferdinand etc of today , but sadly IMO the financial rewards are so great that most mangers seem scared to risk youth players than going with the experienced / trusted ...
    Saying that I do believe a few of the young players you mentioned above will make it, whether it will Be representing us is another matter ;ok
  • I think it's definately the way forward unless you have limitless money like United, city, Chelsea etc

    The question really is do you put them as 4th/5th choice and hope they get opportunities (E.g. Fletcher and Fernandes) or send them on loan to get a whole season of football

    Personally I here people saying they want a new CB, CM etc for "depth"
    I'm happy for Burke and Cullen to be drafted in as 5th choice and if someone falls out of form or gets injured the they should be allowed a chance
  • Noble only got in the side at 17 because of a lack of other options, and look at him now. I can understand wanting signings as backups, but if we were to sign a CB, for example, I would be very disappointed. Oxford, Burke and Rice should be replacing Collins and Fonte in the squad over the next season or so, imo.
  • Similarly, Cullen should be providing cover for the defensive midfield role. Winks has proved it can be done at Spurs, why not Cullen for us. Moreover, as a Southend born and bred lad, he may well show a good deal of loyalty as the years pass.

    Levy has pledged backing for the Spurs academy and Sullivan has recently acknowledged ours. Mourihno has also commented on the crazy transfer market prices and Southgate has bemoaned the number of English players in the Premiership.

    Time to start utilising the likes of Burke, Rice, Cullen, Holland and Oxford when he returns. Obviously, not all at once but one or two as needs or circumstances either dictate or allow. Furthermore, why not Trott (gk) and Kemp ... young England starlets ... the talent is there.

  • Would prefer Cullen to Nordtveit, Holland to Tore and Martinez to Calleri

    We felt that way last year what has changed?

    Why buy a player who is barely gonna play and we are gonna get rid of them in 12 months time......

    I know many fans have been disappointed somewhat with Slavs reluctance to play youth at given opportunities last year in comparison to the likes of Everton/Spurs (who've transfer strategy we should be trying to emulate) and even Southampton who have promoted from within with good success

    Not saying all of them should be playing but Burke and a Cullen are at an age where they should be in and around the first team and maybe Rice and Holland just because of their respective talents
  • With his recent performances in Germany earning plaudits from Jurcevic, Rice appears to be justifying his call-up to the full Rep. of Ireland squad last May. Moreover, he is the current young Hammer of the year and he has captained the U-23 team.

    Early days obviously, but I'm hopeful and optimistic that young Declan could be one to emerge from our youth ranks, and become a regular in the future. Better still, he can play CB as well as in midfield.

    Moreover, I am hopeful that Holland, Cullen and Oxford may also emerge as viable first team players this coming season.
  • edited July 2017
    Claims of a David Gold u turn. Quotes taken from a c and h article which i believe come from dg twitter comments.

    “I am extremely optimistic that these young men are capable of making the grade plus a couple you haven’t mentioned. dg”

    “Yes Domingos Quina is a great prospect. dg” “Yes Martin (Samuelsson) must be included in the list of future prospects. dg” and “Reece Burke is as good a young defender as I’ve seen. dg”
  • That's not really much of a U turn though. He said it's unlikely for 18 year olds to break into the first team. Which is true. And now he's saying we have talents in the youth. Which is also true.
  • It's a U-turn for anyone who misrepresented or misunderstood his earlier comments. Or his latest comments, for that matter.
  • For me, although it sounds a bit negative, positive financial outward transfer dealings are very important to a club our size and its over all progression.

    For players like Burke, Oxford and Quina especially, who are all coveted by wealthier clubs, we should be trying very hard to include big buy out contract clauses + sell on percentage fees in our waiting to be poached young ones
  • edited August 2017
    @WHU_Champo_league_in_7_years - Reece Burke and Josh Cullen (our best CM prospect) are both joining Bolton for season long loans in the championship this coming year. Slav insisted they stay initially to take them on the Germany pre-season tour, and they will then trek 'op north. Bolton manager Phil Parkinson was desperate to bring them in apparently, having worked with both while they were on loan (where both players got many games) at Bradford City, when he was manager there the season before last (then in league 1).

    Looking good that Slav likes them enough to want them over pre season, and then a full season loan in the champ, with a manager who has past history of giving both the opportunity to be first 11 regulars should be good for both players development. Personally, I am very hopeful for both these players to maybe make the step up next year. I feel the same about Reece Oxford, with a solid season loan (really hoping he stakes a place in the first 11, ideally at CB) he can get vital experience and push for our first team along side Burke at CB as Collins and Fonte will both be 34 for 18/19 season. It currently seems Rice will stay and possibly captain the development team.

    Disagree with you about lack of good young right backs though - Sam Byram. The lad is only 23, was starting RB (also played RM) for dirty Leeds for 4 seasons prior to joining us. I think working with Zabaleta should be great for his development and he could become a class RB IMO.
  • Not looking too shoddy, the next gen hammers team, is it?

    Assuming Oxford stays as CB:


    Byram--Reece 1--Reece 2--Masuaku (23)

    ---Rice-Cullen (though Obiang is only 25)

    Samuelsen--Lanzini (only 24)--Holland

    ----------Martinez (though probably needs to play in a front two)

    You could also put Reece 1-Reece 2-Rice as a central defensive three, or swap Reece 2 and Rice. With a portion of Masuaku on the side.

    Anyone I missed? I think we have a good very young LB too...
  • We have some real hope with the current generation coming through MTAN. Fingers crossed all progress like we hope. ;pray ;wahoo
  • Quina as well plus the new lad from Ajax we signed
  • edited September 2017
    Cheers - how could I forget Quinoa to go with Rice! So maybe Samuelsen will replace Lanzini in time, with Quina on one side and Holland on the other.

    Didn't include new kid from Ajax since I've never seen him play and he looks very young, but obviously sounds like a prospect.

    Ironically perhaps what we miss is a big man striker for Martinez to play off. Someone like Ashley Fletcher, for example.

  • edited September 2017
    I noticed in his post-match interview yesterday when asked about the young players' performance in the Bolton game, Slaven said that he now doesn't think of Declan Rice as one of the 'kids' . He sees him as a 1st team squad player.

    The OS didn't use that quote in the match report, but did highlight this....
    “Declan Rice is only young on paper, but he has a brain and concentration as if he was 30 years old,” said the manager. “He’s thinking about the game, he’s thinking about his positioning and everything. He is totally in the game, which is putting him in a position that he has everything to become a really, really good player.

    “Declan can play in both positions. He is naturally a centre-back, but he has enough skill and stamina in his legs to play as a holding midfielder, and the brains to play both. Where he is going to play in his career, I really don’t know. If I had to choose I would say centre-back, but I don’t see anything he doesn’t have not to be a top holding midfielder, as he can pass the ball and has good stamina, so both!

    Read more at http://www.whufc.com/news/articles/2017/september/20-september/bilic-getting-more-arnautovic-selection-headaches-and#GZeMGhB6kf3I66YU.99
  • Sounds very much like he's moved ahead of Oxford and Burke in the pecking order. With Fonte and Ginge on the wrong side of 30, I would hope Rice will be a first team regular within the next two seasons.

    This batch of youngsters (Rice, Holland, Haksa, Quina and Martinez) seem to be the best we've had for a long time, and hopefully they'll form the spine of our team in the coming years.

    But for every Ferdinand, Carrick and Defoe there are a dozen Blewitts, Omoyinmis and Hines'...
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