by Andrew Crawshaw
In Part 1 – an Introduction I showed that 10 players out of our 32 man first team squad are products of at least one of the three phases of our Youth Team System. This has occurred despite our U21 team (as it was up to and including last season) had been playing for several years in the second division of U21 football.
Last Season the top four clubs were Man United, Liverpool, Sunderland and Chelsea. Let’s look at how many of their first team squads are products of their respective youth systems.
In what follows, to avoid my having to do an inordinate amount of research I am applying the same rules to the number in the Arsenal squad – principally that if a player was signed before they became 18 then they would have spent some time at least in the youth system.
1 – Man United (data from Manutd.com) – 41 players listed so the figures may not be directly comparable. Of these 9 appear to be products of their Youth System
- Jesse Lingard – Midfield (came through United Academy)
- Adnan Januzaj – Winger (signed from 2011 as an 16 year old from Anderlecht)
- Marcus Rashford – Striker (came through United Academy)
- Timothy Fosu-Mensah – defender (joined from Ajax as a 16 year old in 2014)
- Sam Johnstone – GK (came through United Academy)
- Axel Tuanzebe – Defender and captain of the United U18 team last season (came through United Academy)
- Cameron Borthwick-Jackson – defender (came through United Academy)
- Andreas Pereira – Midfielder (Joined from PSV Eindhoven as a 16 year old in 1996)
- James Wilson – Striker (came through United Academy)
2 – Liverpool (data from liverpoolfc.com) – 39 players listed including 7 on loan. Of these 8 are products of the Anfield Youth System. They have a ninth in Taiwo Awoniyi a Nigerian player 18 years old, seeking loan spells whilst trying to get work permits. I believe he joined as a 17 year old and spent last season in Germany with FSV Frankfurt.
- Andre Wisdom – defender (product of Anfield Academy)
- Connor Randall – right back (product of Anfield Academy)
- Sheyi Ojo – winger (joined from MK Dons in 2011 as a 14 year old)
- Pedro Chirivella – midfield (joined in 2013 from Valencia a 16 year old)
- Cameron Brannegan – midfielder (product of Anfield Academy)
- Jon Flanagan – defender (product of Anfield Academy), currently on loan
- Ryan Fulton – GK ((product of Anfield Academy), currently on loan
- Ryan Kent – midfield (product of Anfield Academy), currently on loan
3 – Sunderland (data from SAFC.com) 27 players listed of whom 4 are products of their Youth System. In Seb Larsson they also have a former graduate of the Arsenal youth system. They also have Duncan Watmore who is a United Academy graduate.
- Jordan Pickford – GK (joined as a 16 year old scholar in 2010)
- Billy Jones – defender (joined from West Brom in 2014 as a 17 year old)
- Lynden Gooch – midfield ((joined on a scholarship in 2012 as a 16 year old)
- Joel Asoro – striker (joined as a 16 year old in 2015)
4 – Chelsea (data from chelseafc.com) – 26 players listed of whom 5 are products of their youth system. They also have Cesc Fabregas who is a product of the Arsenal youth system.
- John Terry – defender (has been at Chelsea since he was 14)
- Ola Aina – defender (signed for Chelsea Academy as an U11 player)
- Nathaniel Chalobah – midfielder (at Chelsea Academy since the age of 16)
- Ruben Loftus-Cheek – midfielder (at Chelsea Academy since the age of 8)
- Juan Cuadrado – Midfielder (signed from Fiorentina in 2015 as a 17 year old)
So looking at the five clubs including Arsenal we can see the following
|Club||No of Academy Players in first team squad||Percentage of squad||No of players in another of the 5 clubs’ squad|
Before you all have a ‘go’ at me I know that comparing the performance of an U21 team last year with the numbers of former youth team players in a current first team squad is a bit like comparing bananas with grapes and one should be very wary at drawing too much in the way of conclusions. I was, however, just using the positions of the U21 teams last year as a selection process for the teams to look at in more detail. I wouldn’t have thought of looking at Sunderland as part of this exercise without that lead.
Let’s look at the positions the various graduates play in
|Team||GK||Defender||Midfield||Wing and Attack|
Arsenal have no Centre Backs who have come through our youth system, indeed they are singularly lacking from our U23 squad as well this year. Apart from that we have promoted players across the pitch.
United and Liverpool seem to have a good balance across all positions.
Sunderland numbers are low but again across the pitch
Chelsea have two centre backs and three midfielders, no goalkeeper, or attackers
Overall, both numerically and by percentage of squad numbers Arsenal have the largest number of Academy graduates in their squad, Man United, Liverpool and Chelsea all have a similar percentage but quite different numbers (due to the very different listed squad size) and Sunderland are significantly lower than the rest of the group (but would be similar if I counted the Arsenal and United graduate they also have in their squad).
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- Arsenal’s 25 man squad – The Final List (at least until January)
The Untold Preview of the Under 18, Under 19, and Under 21 squads. in these articles…