Leicester City Development & Academy update

What we used to call reserves and youth teams are now described as development and academy or if you like U.23’s, sometimes U.21’s and the U.18’s and of course teams below this age level is also part of the Leicester City football development environment.

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From the TCF website you can follow up on all games and standings as they are played, and today we have made a special report on the season so far for the U.23’s and U.18’s. Some of these players have also been in and around the first team at times.

Results are not as good as Steve Beaglehole and his coaching staff would have hoped for, but the season is still young. A great start with a 2-0 win away to Manchester United made everything look promising, but after that four straight defeats against opponents such as Derby, Blackburn, Man City and Everton. The a strike of three wins v. Brighton, West Ham and Tottenham, but the next three have again been defeats v. Chelsea, Southampton and Arsenal.

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One fact to consider is that Leicester City have played all games away, with one exception against West Ham when everything went smoothly and the game was a 2-1 win. So taking that important fact into the picture might see the form and situation a bit differently.

Most fixtures, coming up in Premier League 2, will be home fixtures for Leicester City when the season turns and we might see a different “color” hopefully. Chelsea are top of the table with Leicester City 11th just above the relegation zone, with only West Ham and Southampton below them. This is probably something that will change with all those home fixtures coming up.

The fixtures v. Arsenal on the 18th of December was the last one before the year end, and of course sad to see the team lose 2-1, though pleasing to see Darragh O’Connor scoring the Leicester City equalizing goal after 44 minutes. Arsenal scored the winner in the 76th minute. Islam Slimani and Demarai Gray were both involved in this game as you can use a few overaged players in the team.

Despite a number of setbacks as a U.23 team, appearing as a U.21 in the EFL Trophy games against the likes of Grimsby Town, Harrogate and Hull City have been encouraging, getting through to the next round were Salford City was defeated. This shows that quality is there and that academy players have a point to prove. Leicester will play Tranmere Rovers in the next round of the EFL Trophy, coming up in January.

Jakub Stolarczyk is the preferred goalkeeper with Eldin Jakupovic also seen in action. Darrel O’Connor is steady picked in the back together with Vontae Daley-Campbell also playing on a regular basis. Other players to be seen regularly are Demarai Gray, Admiral Muskwe, Sean Flynn, Thakgalo Leshabela and Jakob Wakeling newly signed from West Bromwich Albion.

Ali Reghba, Layton Ndukwu and Ben Nelson are other steady performers. Nelson is not more than 16, but has been steady involved in the U.23’s on a regular basis, and one to watch as he progress. Not to forget Callum Wright who joined from Blackburn Rovers a few years back, he is another exciting prospect, regular played and so far played 10 of the 11 fixtures and scored 3 goals.

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The U.18’s haven’t been very successful either with four defeats and a draw in the games so far. They are bottom of the table and it’s frustrating to see that this is going in the wrong direction, but hopefully results will turn and get better when the season turns.

This could be down to a number of reasons, one could be that some of the better players are pushed up to the U.23’s or that a generation of players young at age are playing other teams from a different age group of maybe year older. In this situation you can find a number of reasons why results haven’t been as you would like them to be.

Most games have so far been played away but in this game that advantage is not to be considered much as these events are seldom seen by “big crowds”, so it’s all down to talent and team selection, and if you get a bit of turbulens in that way, you can get in trouble.

Leicester City played their last game away to Arsenal, a 1-2 defeat. Ethan Fitzhugh is one player to watch, and as we all know, been named on the bench for the first team and also played during the two last pre-seasons, so hopefully he is one to watch.

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Two American players are currently part of this youth set up and plays regularly for the U.18’s. Goalkeeper Chituru Odonze and midfielder Zach Booth are players that could be promising and among those players at the Academy carrying other nations passports, and are involved at international level with their country.

Other players worth to mention are the two Pennants, Kian and Terel who are regulars in the U.18 set up, others regularly involved is Welsh youth international forward Will Russ, midfielder Joe Wormleighton and Tawanda Maswanhise.

Hopefully things will turn to the better for both teams with a new round of games coming home and that we hopefully will see a possible home advantage coming to the surface as teams are preparing for the rest of the season over in the new year.

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