Boro soccer schools have fed Leeds United (8 youths) Newcastle (2) and of course Middlesbrough FC’s own development side (20) with a conveyor belt of talent over the last three years alone. Its contribution to the stars of the future shows how the hot-bed of North-East talent is set to continue to form a massive part of football for years to come. It would appear the place to go talent spotting is very much down by the Riverside for Leeds and others besides.
thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.
Leeds, have an incredible youth policy of their own but this particular route cranked up in 2010 when Joshua Mazfari joined. In 2011 Jack Williams, Harley Griffiths, Tom Miller turned from red to white. Then in 2012 Jake Muthana, Ben Fletcher, Law McCabe, Riley Green and Oliver Thompson also slipped the Boro net to join Leeds own conveyor belt of talent. Not heard of them yet, you will in the next 5-6 years, when United are back in the Premiership where they belong and, by the looks of things, the business model appears sustainable this time round.
You see, what is even more amazing, is the fact that this forms only part of the Middlesbrough strategy, for it covers up to just 11 years of age with Boro still getting the lions share of the talent. It then gets even more serious as the lads progress to state-of-the-art Rockcliffe and the Academy headed by David Parnaby, a former PE teacher who now masterminds one of the games best breeding centres for talent, Steve Agnew used to be the top man on the coaching and managerial side prior to becoming assistant boss at Hull City but now Ex-Imp Jamie Clapham is charged with keeping it going.
Unlike the those first future names we gave you, this list includes players that are already household names including Boro first team captains Rhys Williams and Matthew Bates, Current internationals Adam Johnson and Stewart Downing (England), James Morrison (Scotland) as well as Australia internationals Luke Wilkshire, Brad Jones and Rhys Williams. Tony McMahon and Joe Bennett are also graduates of a system that produces more Premiership first teamers than any other. British industry take note: Middlesbrough can hold their head up high as one of Europe’s most productive Academy set-ups.
Leeds have sussed it from an early age but Lincoln could do with borrowing a few from the 18 – early development squad age group. Loans of this quality would certainly supplement an already decent looking squad for the coming season and, hopefully, should we progress up the pyramid ,youth loans would surely be seen as even more attractive for the right kind of football factory. Sunderland may have beaten Lincoln, but they saw we at least try to play the right way. Let us hope Middlesbrough feel the same because we may just need reinforcements as a tough inclement season gets going.