Turning back the clock to the 17th of December 2018, having a look at a team that on this day defeated Chelsea, and many of the players on show that day is no longer at Leicester, but how are recruits doing after they leave Leicester, or is it just a step to the next job.
To be part of a development squad is really a big battle for a professional football future, and to get to the level of a U.23 squad in English football isn’t easy so all respect to those who try and really work strong and hard to get to that level.
TCF believe that managers and owners of football clubs are inpatient with the development of their clubs and as we have seen the rise of people such as Jamie Vardy and other players coming up and through a life being seen, at one point, not able to make it in professional football, and then showing everyone how wrong they really are, totally out of order and in no way following the rules and guides as you should do with young footballers, and as clubs are throwing great prospect out the window and millions down the drain.Embed from Getty Images
Leicester have with the sale of Ben Chilwell justified every penny used on developing players and can run the academy at the club for a very, very long time on that amount of money being paid for a talent coming through the ranks at the Leicester City youth academy.
But on the road to getting just one player over the line, you also have a number that will not make it to the first team and be a heavy sales object, and remember to get one good player in football you need squad of 16 to 18 players, because without a team no player will ever progress in the first place.
Three years ago and playing Chelsea, we do have a few names in those squads that has made it to the first team and done their PL debuts, but the Leicester development cannot be seen as a major success with this team being mostly set up with players that has been released from the club, but why Viktor Johansson, Darnel Johnson, Alex Pascanu, Calvin Bassey, Josh Knight, Lamine Kaba Sherif, Admrial Muskwe, Louis Ramsey, Tyrese Shade, Conor Tee, Rhys Davies and Kairo Edwards-John didn’t have a future at Leicester is strange, as the players are far gone and not at the club anymore.
Matty James was part of the team as well, left for Bristol City, after spending time on loan at Coventry and Barnsley last season. Kieran Dewsbury-Hall, Callum Wright and Thakgalo Leshabela are the only three players left from the 2018 set up and the win v. Chelsea, which in a way was a great result achieved.
We can understand players from the close range of distance being pulled towards a youth development set up and getting the ability and experience to be part of a system like this, but for foreign players it might be a riddle to try to understand how this really is a thrill when just one of twenty or even less gets to be a first team footballer.Embed from Getty Images
Almost three years gone since that game was played and as we do see Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall can be the player to come out of that group, with the others also getting a career somewhere else, but released by Leicester but once being seen as growing talents.
The players in this set up is still all part of the game, at a number of different places. Goalkeeper Viktor Johansson joined Rotherham and played 22 league games there last season. Alex Pascanu joined Rumanian top club Cluj, but has not seen much first team football and been loaned out, and last season spent time at Spanish secunda side Ponferradina and will be them also next season.Embed from Getty Images
Darnel Johnson, seen as a massive talent and as Pascanu and Johanson capped at international youth level, never and surprisingly not getting the backing to become a first team regular at Leicester. After loan spells at Hibs, Wigan and AFC Wimbledon he will from next season play with Jamie Vardy’s previous club Fleetwood Town.
After two seasons with loan spells at Blackpool and Luton, it might be a chance for Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall to make his breakthrough at Leicester, just waiting for that to happen, and hopefully another home grown player will establish himself as regular first teamer.
Admiral Muskwe, making his full international debut while at Leicester will from next season play for Luton Town, but the question is, would Muskwe had been at a total different place at this moment, not staying as long as he did with Leicester without getting noticed at all.Embed from Getty Images
Kairo Edwards-John that came on against Chelsea and replaced Tyrese Shade, has since leaving Leicester played for two top flight clubs in Iceland, and still are up there scoring goals and maybe his stay with the vulcanos could see him good and maybe some day return to a major league in Europe. Shade has this summer also left Leicester and signed for Walsall. Both players seen as massive talents, but still the work to get back to a top level remains.
Conor Tee, once looked at as a top top talent and one many would believe had the credidentals to go all the way, did see his release last summer, moving to Brackley Town and from there to South Shields. Surely a player to watch and hopefully he can work his way up and get a professional career, though the move has made him drop to a lower level seen as seven or eight in the English league system. The player once described as a new Paul Scholes by academy manager Steven Beaglehole has really taken a massive drop to get back up, but maybe it will be a trampoline effect, hopefully, still not more than 20, so many years in front. Under the wings of Graham Fenton, their manager and formerly a £1.1million signing for Leicester. It might be a win win and hopefully the former Ireland youth international can be on track to some day play top flight football.Embed from Getty Images
We all thought Callum Wright would have seen first team football at Leicester by this time, when joining from Blackburn seen as a rare talent and one for the future, but so far still in the U.23 set up, without any inclusions by Brendan Rodgers. Last season did see him get EFL experience, playing on loan at Cheltenham Town, scoring 4 in 17 league games.
Calvin Bassey made his league debut for Rangers last season, so why did Leicester just release such a grand talent, who knows. s a massive talent by Steven Gerrard and slowly been given a chance to shine. Bassey (20) spent five years with Leicester without being seen as a full time PL player at the time, and moved on to the SPL.
Lamina Kaba Sherif has also left Leicester and last season played for Accrington Stanley, but it was just 8 league appearances as chances were limited and at present time without a club, so hopefully a new destination will be found for the Guinea born. He did join Leicester at the age of 10 and left at the age of 20, being one of those promising players that never fulfilled the potential with Leicester, hopefully a new club will be found before the season starts.Embed from Getty Images
There are no easy fix, but admirely seeing all players still doing what they love, and hopefully earning a living, or at least playing part time, would see them all in some way keeping their football dream alive, interesting to follow up, and if you are still reading, could be interesting to see what Josh Gordon is up to, from next season he will be at Barrow AFC after leaving Walsall.
Would like to see more talent from the academy coming through and instead of spending millions and millions on fringe players you might see a more strategtic plan for the academy players instead of stamping them “NGE” at an age when you really don’t know what will be the final result, but again to be able to keep them at the club until the age of 22 you have a chance to keep a track for a long time.